[Pigging by Wilfrid: December 21, 2017]
It was the end of October and Franklin's was still closed because of fire damage (it re-opened in November). Although it was the end of October, the temperature crept towards 90. I was in Austin, I needed BBQ, and I didn't need the bad BBQ readily available downtown, like the dry-as-sawdust goat at Cooper's.
I set out for Micklethwait Craft Meats, which thoughtful souls said was the best after Franklin's. And I walked. According to the map, I walked only about 1.5 miles. But I took some wrong turnings at the end, failing at first to find Micklethwait, which turned out to be no more than a couple of trailers and some picnic tables. I did find the George Washington Carver museum, which turned out to be well worth visiting.
Did I say it was hot. Head out onto the back streets of East Austin around midday, and there is no shelter. None. No tall buildings, few trees, not a trace of shadow. When I finally found the BBQ at the end of the rainbow, I was burning up. And then, although it was barely noon, I stood in line and waited. Now it wasn't a Franklin's-style multi-hour wait, but it was a good forty-five minutes, and mostly unshaded. It does afford the opportunity to read the menu some fifty or sixty times, and work up a head of anxiety that you might order wrong (and in my case, not come back for at least twelve months).
I think I ordered okay. A lot of people were calling for the beef rib, but if I'd ordered that, I wouldn't have been able to eat anything else.
The Tex-Czech sausage got prettier the closer you looked at it. Like the paint in a DeKooining. Snappy, meaty, and -- what's in there? -- some finely diced smoked peppers? Who knows?
The brisket was nothing short of remarkable. Never had anything like it. So tender that the strands of meat were embedded only loosely in the fat. There was a lot of fat. Not as strong a smoke flavor as I'd expected, but a memorable heap of meat.
Then I went back to the Carver museum for a fine Rejina Thomas exhibit, and the air-conditioning.