From Aaron Franklin's MasterClass

Bonus Chapter: How Brisket Became King: The History of Central Texas Barbecue

In this bonus chapter, Aaron traces the roots of barbecue culture in Texas from European immigrants to World War II vets, highlighting how brisket—a tough, difficult-to-cook cut of beef—became the region’s signature smoked meat.

Topics include: How Brisket Became King: The History of Central Texas Barbecue


In this bonus chapter, Aaron traces the roots of barbecue culture in Texas from European immigrants to World War II vets, highlighting how brisket—a tough, difficult-to-cook cut of beef—became the region’s signature smoked meat.

Topics include: How Brisket Became King: The History of Central Texas Barbecue

Aaron Franklin

Teaches Texas-Style BBQ

Learn More


- There's so many different regions of barbecue. There's so many different styles and if you work through the South and you know it might be whole hogs, it might be pulled pork, it might be chicken. And as you work through you can kind of see where places have been as far as their agriculture. And in Texas it's for the most part always been beef. The barbecue culture is so expansive throughout Texas. We've got down by Mexico where it's more barbacoa, it's cooked on mesquite. We've got East Texas, where it's more of a [INAUDIBLE], and maybe it's thicker, sweeter sauces. They've got up in the panhandle where they've got the mesquite trees also. Then they've got Central Texas, and I think much like where anyone grows up, if you grew up in Texas you've got kind of a real natural inclination to a certain type of barbecue. And in Texas it's almost always beef, and it's almost always brisket. I think there's a sense of pride that being from central Texas, like oh, this is barbecue. And it's kind of-- barbecue has always been kind of a special meal, but I feel like at least for me growing up, that was like-- that was the big night. That was-- if you got to barbecue, you were living like a king. That was a big deal, because it is so labor intensive. And I think that's been passed down through so many generations over the years that, you know, as a Texan, there's definitely something very special about brisket. But one big difference is in specifically Central Texas is that we don't really use a lot of sauce. Around here we jokingly say that if you have to put sauce on it, it must be pretty bad. You must have really messed it up. And that can kind be sort of true and sort of not true. I like sauce, and I think that's kind of where the evolution of barbecue is going. All these styles just kind of get-- they keep getting mixed together. But really traditionally Texas barbecue is just meat, bread, maybe a slice of tomato, maybe a pickle, maybe a slice of onion. Flavor wise it starts off with a post stoke, the trees that we have here. And the beef industry, and the fact that we used to have a lot of cows in Texas. But where that came from-- where Central Texas barbecue really comes from is in the early 1900s, a lot of German and Czech immigrants coming to Central Texas, and they brought butcher shops. And they brought these little grocery stores, and they would butcher cows in the back, and they would break down things. And then of course that's before the days of refrigeration. So at the end of the week in these little markets, they would have to either cook the meat, or it would spoil. So that's where barbecue comes in. And it certainly wasn't brisket at that point. It could be hindquarters, fore quarters. It could be tender loins, it could be rib eyes. It could be anything. It was whatever didn't sell in that market needed to get barbecued, and it needed to get smoked. And smoke is a form of preservation, so that would hence get this...

The art of smoke and fire

Once a backyard hobbyist, Aaron Franklin is now the James Beard Award-winning owner of Franklin Barbecue, where the line for his famous smoked brisket is hours long. Now the Central Texas barbecue specialist teaches you his meticulous low and slow process for mouth-watering ribs, pork butt, and brisket. With perfectly seasoned cuts and optimal temperatures, you'll learn to handle an offset smoker like a true pitmaster.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Learned a lot. Excited to BBQ with the new knowledge, tips and tricks.

Very good class, got some very nice tips to improve my bbq game

Loved the detail that Aaron went into. That's exactly what I was hoping for. The class is basically an awesome cook book on steroids. Very glad I bought and watched this masterclass.

Great to see a master at his skill showing humility and drive to continue learning the craft!


Jason I.

This might be the only Master Class that I will watch twice all the way through. It is so good. I smoked my first brisket last weekend and it came out amazing ! Thanks Aaron!

Greg D.

As a wanna be brisket cooker, I thought I've made some really great slabs. After watching from one of the best, I found so many mistakes I've be making. Extremely excited to watch again and to get another brisket on the smoker. A+++++++

Steve R.

I think Aaron should pay us for having to look at the picture of him in his underwear when he was a kid. I just hope the FBI doesn't come smashing through my front door!

Andrea E.

Loved it and will watch it again just to hear Aaron who is such a good story teller and educator. Heading out this weekend to purchase a better thermometer for my cheap offset smoker!

Stephen G.

I have really enjoyed watching these videos. I really got interested in Aaron Franklin when I took a trip to Austin in 2017 and was unable to get his BBQ because of the line. The lessons were exactly what I expected and I am very happy I purchased this Masterclass. I am from California were many people I know are cooking hot and fast with their ribs and brisket. I am not impressed with what I have been tasting. I will be doing the 12-hour brisket cook and see how that works out. I have also purchased Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto it was a great read. As I read his books and watch these videos I can sense that Aaron is humble and also grateful which means a lot. Hope someday I get a chance to make it through that line but up until then I will have to try and hone my craft.

Gary T.

I have doing BBQ for a few years. Wanted some tips from an expert. I have watched a lot of pitmasters on youtube but Aaron put a whole new light on BBQ


Lesson was great.. but the PDF did not download. I got an error.? Can you send it?

William D.

I loved about the prep work and fire management. The rest was a little basic. Wish it was more detailed.

Fred P.

This class was great. Aaron is engaging to the extent where I would want to watch his videos even if he weren't passing along all of the details from his hard-earned experience. I smoked beef ribs last night using his pork ribs tactics and all of my guests told me it was my best cook ever AND they wanted to now when I was going to do it again. Applying Aaron's process and thinking to brisket next. Going to cook something twice per week between now and September 1 when I BBQ for 50 guests in my backyard, celebrating my daughter's wedding. (I live in the Austin area but have never been to his restaurant. I don't stand in lines like that, although everyone I know that has done so has told me that it is worth it.)

Adam R.

Thank you for doing this Aaron. I loved this class after just finishing your books. I wish everyone who took this class, some good BBQ and enjoy this oh so fun way to cook.