Franklin Barbecue fires up pits for Harvey relief

Franklin Barbecue Harvey relief (Frank Martinez, KXAN)
Franklin Barbecue Harvey relief (Frank Martinez, KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Franklin Barbecue has been closed for three weeks since the restaurant’s smokehouse was destroyed in a fire last month, but if you’ve been missing the smoked brisket, then you’re in luck.

The famous joint hosted a backyard barbecue at music venue Mohawk on Red River Sunday to raise money for Global Giving’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Another will be held next Sunday, Sept. 24 starting at 11 a.m. and last until they sell out of food. Tickets for food are $30 a person.

“Our restaurant caught on fire a couple weeks ago and we weren’t really doing a whole lot,” pitmaster Aaron Franklin said. “A lot of people need some help, so why wouldn’t we? It seemed like a no-brainer.”

Austinites are serious about their barbecue. And that may be why it attracts people from all over the state, especially when it means helping fellow Texans.

Steven Rossler drove from Killeen, where he is stationed in the military, to buy three plates — one for himself, his pregnant wife and another just for leftovers. The hurricane rattled his heart, so he jumped on the opportunity to give back, Rossler said.

“To donate, there’s no question,” Rossler said. “Texans, we always take care of our own. You know, I’m American by birth and Texan by the grace of God.”

Local resident Bobby Beauchesne calls Franklin Barbecue a destination that any Austin tourist should visit. That’s why he said today’s event killed two birds with one stone.

“To give a donation to hurricane relief and also have the best barbecue in the world is a great experience,” Beauchesne said.

He wasn’t surprised to hear that international travelers decided to stop off for some brisket.

Willa Zheng stopped in from Sydney, Australia. Zheng said she’s lucky Franklin’s held this fundraiser the one day she happened to be in town.

“Texan barbecue has a smoky flavor that you don’t get in Australia,” Zheng said.

Franklin’s filled each plate of barbecue with brisket, potato salad, cole slaw and a slice of bread — a big plate to match what will hopefully be a big sum of money raised for Harvey victims.

He encouraged other Austin businesses to lend a helping hand, if possible.

“If you can, do it. If you can’t, that’s OK. Do what you can.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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