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Arts & Culture

BBQ WITH FRANKLIN

Aaron Franklin, owner and chief firestarter at Franklin BBQ in Austin, is widely regarded as one of the most influential pitmasters in the United States. He is sitting next to his smoker in this photo.
Courtesy of KLRU/ PBS
Aaron Franklin, owner and chief firestarter at Franklin BBQ in Austin, is widely regarded as one of the most influential pitmasters in the United States. He is sitting next to his smoker in this photo.

Airs Saturdays, Oct. 24 - Nov. 21, 2015 & Dec. 19, 2015 - Jan. 16, 2016 at 1 p.m. on KPBS TV

Pitmaster Aaron Franklin takes a boisterous BBQ culture road trip — featuring the people, the places and, of course, the food. The series celebrates the traditions and storied histories passed down through the generations, as well as those breathing new life into this distinctly American culture. Tour guide Franklin, owner and chief firestarter at Franklin BBQ in Austin, is widely regarded as one of the most influential pitmasters in the United States. The series takes viewers into Franklin’s world, visiting BBQ joints, trying new recipes, answering questions and shoveling coals at his BBQ pits.

Aaron Franklin, widely regarded as one of the most influential pitmasters in the United States, slicing BBQ for kids.
Courtesy of KLRU/ PBS
Aaron Franklin, widely regarded as one of the most influential pitmasters in the United States, slicing BBQ for kids.

Quote

“BBQ WITH FRANKLIN is my little way to give back to a barbecue community that has been so generous to us,” says star of the show Franklin.

Brisket. Aaron Franklin, owner and chief firestarter at Franklin BBQ in Austin, is widely regarded as one of the most influential pitmasters in the United States.
Courtesy of KLRU/ PBS
Brisket. Aaron Franklin, owner and chief firestarter at Franklin BBQ in Austin, is widely regarded as one of the most influential pitmasters in the United States.
Aaron Franklin with producer of BBQ PITMASTERS, John Markus.
Courtesy of KLRU/ PBS
Aaron Franklin with producer of BBQ PITMASTERS, John Markus.

BBQ WITH FRANKLIN is based on the popular YouTube web series of the same name, created and launched in 2012 by KLRU-TV, Austin PBS. The broadcast series serves as an entertaining blueprint for barbecue buffs as Franklin treks across Texas, talking with big thinkers in the world of barbecue, from an old-timer pit boss to today’s game-changing BBQ artisans.

The journey is full of experiments and detours, as Franklin cooks brisket in his backyard, builds his own smoker from scratch (out of a 250 gallon propane tank) and ponders whether or not to go whole hog by barbecuing a whole hog. Along the way, the Master of Central Texas ’cue serves up some of his hard-won knowledge and unlocks the secrets behind truly great barbecue for the backyard pitmaster.

EPISODE GUIDE:

Episode 1: “Brisket” airs Saturday, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. - Learn how the brisket became a popular centerpiece of Central Texas BBQ. Hear from legends of Texas BBQ and be guided through a step-by-step brisket cook experiment using three different methods.

Episode 2: “Sausage” airs Saturday, Oct. 31 at 1 p.m. - Sausage, often a BBQ afterthought, is now finding reason to take center plate. Aaron makes sausage from scratch and visits some folks who are pushing the boundaries of artisan sausage-making.

Episode 3: “Whole Hog” airs Saturday, Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. - Learn the steps that go into a whole hog cook from beginning to end. Aaron walks us through the process of building a cinder block pit, learns about pig breeds and throws a party in his backyard.

Episode 4: “The Pits” airs Saturday, Nov. 14 at 1 p.m. - Aaron takes a deep-dive into the realm of BBQ pits, as personal as they are functional. Explore different types of smokers from those at the roots of Texas BBQ to the kinds bought in stores. Aaron builds a smoker out of a 250 gallon propane tank.

Episode 5: “Fire & Smoke” airs Saturday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m. - When you’re cooking with fire, you’d better have good wood. Aaron covers the major types of wood used in Texas BBQ, gives some tips on building a fire, and shows a twist on using smoke for more than cooking meat.

Episode 6: "Poultry & Sauce" airs Saturday, Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. - Aaron takes us to a Texas BBQ joint where they cook their chicken in a unique way, and then teaches us how to make sauce from scratch. Meanwhile, John Markus takes us on a whirlwind tour of the regional sauces of America.

Episode 7: "Direct Heat & Mesquite" airs Saturday, Dec. 26 at 1 p.m. - Aaron gets a lesson in cooking “cowboy style” in a way that combines traditional BBQ skills with the grill. Then, go behind the scenes at a big city BBQ joint in Dallas and learn their unique take on Texas traditions.

Episode 8: "Competition" airs Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 at 1 p.m. - Aaron travels to a BBQ cook-off competition in Kansas with his father-in-law, going way outside his comfort zone.

Episode 9: "Pickin’ Beef" airs Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016 at 1 p.m. - Aaron tours Texas to research and then cook beef ribs. After a butchering and anatomy class in College Station, Texas, he receives some tips from a legendary central Texas BBQ family.

Episode 10: "Leftovers" airs Saturday, Jan. 16 at 1 p.m. - Aaron sends out a little leftover brisket to some chefs around Austin to see how they are inspired by brisket. A taste test turns into a party.

Episodes from this series are available for online viewing. Franklin Barbecue is on Facebook, and you can follow @FranklinBbq on Twitter.

Series Preview

"Coming this Summer to PBS. Take a BBQ road trip with Aaron Franklin

Preview: Episode 2: Sausage

Aaron shows why sausage is no longer a forgotten BBQ dish.

Preview: Episode 3: Whole Hog

Get ready to learn how to cook a whole hog from beginning to end.

Preview: Episode 4: The Pits

"This week

Episode 5: Fire & Smoke

"When you’re cooking with fire

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