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The Specialists: Franklin Barbecue

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Yuppies whining because they can't get a reliable supply of America's current best BBQ: read this article before you whine. For a dish that cooks for hours, the precision required -- you have to stay on schedule within THREE MINUTES and on temp within FIVE DEGREES the whole time, with no apparent tools but experience -- is mind-boggling. And if the dude sleeps, I don't really see when.

Holy smokes, you are not exaggerating:

3:00 a.m.: Music’s going, starting to feel pretty okay. Cursing a lot still because it’s very early. I come back outside, get the fires going on the three big smokers. My first batch of spareribs goes on MC5—named after the band—which is the farthest big cooker from the kitchen. It’s twenty and a half feet long. It takes thirty minutes to warm these things up, so I’ll get MC5 going, then come in and rub down some ribs. At 3:29 on the dot, I’m running out the door, loading up Rusty Shackleford. On my way back in, I’ll check the fire on the beef ribs, maintaining that at 300 degrees. Then Muchacho goes on at 3:41. I’m pretty down to the minute. I don’t think anybody else has one eye on the clock all the time. I’m within three minutes up or down, no matter what day it is.

Aaron Franklin has won the 2015 James Beard Foundation's Best Chef of the Southwest award.

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