Texas’ Greatest Pitmaster Dishes Fourth of July Barbecuing Tips

Aaron Franklin of Austin's Franklin Barbecue has all the ingredients for perfect cookout.

July 4, 2017 5:00 am
One of Texas' Greatest Pitmasters Gives You Tips for Barbecuing
A view of Franklin Barbecue during the 2016 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival on March 16, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Hutton Supancic/Getty Images for SXSW)

Sadly, Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, will be closed on Independence Day. But not to worry: Esquire hunted down owner and pitmaster Aaron Franklin—who also authored the definitive guide to meat-smoking—to give the average backyard barbecuer pointers on how to make your charred, smoked meat sizzle like a Fourth of July firecracker.

1.) Franklin notes that one brand or type of smoker/cooker isn’t really at issue; it’s whatever you’re most comfortable using. (In other words, don’t go out blow $5,000 on a new smoker just for one barbecue.)

2.) Temperature is everything, so make sure you have a reliable meat thermometer or smoker thermometer on hand. “Knowing your cooking temperature and keeping it consistent are two of the most important factors in barbecue,” Franklin told Esquire.

3.) Be sure your smokestack is billowing. You can increase the amount of air you’re drawing in by extending said smokestack. As Esquire notes, Franklin often MacGyver’s on empty, bottomless soup cans to improvise as a short-term solution.

4.) You can use an old license plate in bigger smokers—or a small square of tin for a smaller one—to create a “buffer” between the firebox and the area where the meat lies. This makes for more even cooking.

5.) A good way of keeping that meat extra juicy and delicious? Add a small pan with water in the cooking chamber to help steam your meat. “It helps hasten the cooking process while slowing the drying process of the meat,” Franklin tells Esquire.


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