KLRU-TV

Photo Credit: Jenna Holtzman | Daily Texan Staff

From a food trailer in an East Austin parking lot to the TV screen, Aaron Franklin, owner of Franklin Barbecue, along with his wife Stacy, never imagined their brisket could create such a worldwide following. 

“I’ve been super into barbecue for a long time,” Franklin said. “My wife and I had backyard barbecues for years before this opened, but this has grown a little more than I thought it would be, for sure.”

Since it opened shop in late 2009, Franklin Barbecue generates three-hour lines, serving 1,600 pounds of meat on any given Saturday, and has established a reputation for selling the best barbecue in the country. Now, Franklin can add debuting his own TV show to his list of accomplishments.

In collaboration with KLRU-TV and Austin PBS, the new series, “BBQ with Franklin,” will educate its viewers on all things barbecue: its history, its techniques and its overall culture. From choosing the right kind of wood and temperature to learning how to properly slice a brisket, “BBQ with Franklin,” set to air in 2015, will answer questions about perfecting the art of smoking and barbecuing meats. 

“It’s cool to learn stuff,” Franklin said. “People ask so many questions and send so many emails on, like, ‘How hot should I cook this?’ ‘What should I do?’ It seems like it would be easy to just show them.”

Franklin’s love for barbecue originated as a kid when his parents owned a barbecue stand in Bryant. After realizing it was too much work, they sold it and, years later, Franklin is picking up right where they left off. 

Franklin said the idea for the show started as a web series after Franklin’s YouTube channel received 1 million views. As a way to bring the barbecue community together, Franklin’s YouTube channel is a series of 10 short instructional videos on making everything from ribs to pulled pork and sauce, to a barbecue rendition of Thanksgiving.

“At first, we wanted to do a video on how to cut a brisket because there’s nothing online,” Franklin said. “It’s totally wrong, I think. … So, we did the web series with the idea that it might turn into a show and I’ll be darned if it did.”

Sara Robertson, creative director at KLRU-TV and executive producer of the show, said viewers should expect to get a good sense of what makes Texas a special place for barbecue.

“The Austin indie/DIY food scene will also be featured,” Robertson said. “There are some people doing incredible things with food right now. It’s an exciting time to be in Austin.”

Peter Hansen waited in line for three hours this past Saturday after flying all the way from Denmark for one day, just to eat at Franklin Barbecue.

“I came to try everything on the menu,” Hansen said. “And I would tune in all the way from Denmark if only I could watch [the show].”

Fortunately for Hansen and other foodies around the world, PBS intends to continue streaming online in addition to distributing the series to stations across the country. With Franklin’s knowledge and expertise, fans will learn how to recreate the barbecue they wait so long in line for.

“In the end, we hope we inspire someone to learn something new and try it themselves,” Robertson said. 

Tuesday night, the five largest newspapers in Texas held their gubernatorial debate at KLRU-TV’s studios on the UT campus — Democrat Bill White, Libertarian Kathie Glass and Green Party candidate Deb Shafto all showed up. Republican Gov. Rick Perry did not.

When the newspapers jointly announced in September they were going to host a debate, they said it would happen whether or not both major party candidates agreed to attend.

Perry has refused to debate until White releases his tax returns from 1993 to 1998, a tactic Republican candidates have embraced both in Texas and nationwide. Perry has also refused to meet with editorial boards of newspapers in the state, bucking another election-year tradition. Glass and White attacked Perry’s record at almost every turn.

Communication assistant professor Talia Stroud said Perry didn’t attend the debate to keep the opponent from scoring so close to Election Day.

“In general, incumbents and candidates with a lead in the polls are less likely to agree to a debate because they have little strategic reason to do so,” she said. “A candidate who is trailing has little to lose from debating.”

Debates provide an opportunity to better inform voters not just about where they stand on the issues, but also how they deal with adversity of the situation, said Rodger Jones, an editorial writer with The Dallas Morning News, which helped arrange the debate.

“How they respond to questions tells us what they’re made of,” Jones said. “People want to be able to judge candidates for not only what they say they stand for but also by what they appear to be.”

Because Perry didn’t attend, the debate didn’t have the magnitude it could have had in the election season, he said. He maintained that debates play an important role in the American democratic process.

“[Debates] hold a tradition that most people want to see continued indefinitely,” Jones said.