Even though it's been described hundreds of times, and often by better writers than myself, I'll give a go at explaining just why I love the brisket at Franklin BBQ
First, the quality of the meat is spectacular. I sometimes buy USDA Choice, but typically speaking I go with USDA Prime, and even then, I won't buy pre-packaged, I make them move around the stuff in the counter, so I can get exactly the cuts I want.
That doesn't make me a beef expert, just a bit of a snob really, and truth is, I probably don't know what I'm talking about.
However, Franklin's has superb beef. Just the right amount of fat content, connective tissue, etc. The flavor is outstanding too.
The bark, the crust, the edge...I can't emphasize this enough. It's game changing. The bark is thick and black. If you just looked at it, you would suspect that someone had burned the hell out of their brisket. But you take a bite, and that bark is a bit firm to the tooth, caramelized and sweet, but not overly so. The flavor has the perfect blend of spices, smoke and juices.
Tenderness. Again, it's perfect. You cut it short with brisket and you have to chew too much. You go too long, and it just falls apart into a stringy mess that's lost all of its consistency.
Franklin's tenderness is just spot on. The meat has that grainy, sort of falling apart thing starting to happen, but with just enough integrity left to keep it all together and make a very pleasing texture.
The little touches... How you trim, cut and slice a brisket is key to the tenderness and to a smaller degree the flavor. Aaron Franklin takes this job on himself, and he's a rockstar at it. He quickly disassembles a new brisket down into the bits that are going to make quality, sliced brisket, the bits he can chop for sandwiches and the scrap heap.
He doesn't skimp either. When he starts breaking down a brisket, he'll load up the scrap pile, if that's what's necessary when he gets to cutting.
Plus, he's incredibly friendly. It takes awhile to get through the line, because the guy is just so nice. He asks how everyone's day is going. He seems genuinely interested. And he works really hard to make sure that you get exactly what you wanted in your order. He'll give you a shame-on-you, but not condescending look if you ask for extra lean, but you know he's just kidding.
My wife hates fatty brisket, but after her first time and his little look, she decided to just go with cutter's choice the next time, and lo' and behold, she loved it, even though she won't eat brisket anywhere else unless it's extra lean.
The sausage is really good, but not great. The ribs are great, but not alert-world-leaders great. I've never had the turkey. The sides are quality. The beans are probably as good as mine and I typically sneer at the pinto beans put out by any other BBQ place, because I know I can kick their butt in my own kitchen, but no, Franklin's are easily as good as mine.
I don't go all the time, because standing in the line is a pain in the butt and you have to set aside a lot of time for it. And you know you're going to come out of there bloated with the meat sweats, but oh, so happy.
However, for those rare occasions, once every month or two, enough to soothe the brisket beast inside, but also keep it special, you're damn right it's worth it. Best brisket in the world, hands down.
In summary, I'll put it this way. I lost my Dad over 20 years ago, but he is still revered in my memory, by my family, and by everyone who knew him. My Dad, being the eldest of a large family, learned how to cook at a young age. He then spent 27 years on the Fire Department where he did all the cooking.
Meanwhile, he cooked for us at home. He cooked for every family reunion, and he loved cooking brisket and other BBQ. He owned 5 different BBQs/smokers, and each had its purpose.
His brisket, on a pedestal in my memory, has been the gold standard by which I measure all other brisket. Even the big three in Lockhart have only come so close as to be an honorable mention compared to the splendor that was my Dad's brisket.
...until I ate at Franklin's. I can't reconcile it any other way. Franklin's brisket is simply better than my dad's. It just is. If he were here tomorrow, we'd be in line at 10:00am, just so I could show him, because he would appreciate it too.