Aaron Franklin & Adam Perry Lang @ Nick’s Cafe (Los Angeles, CA)

Franklin BBQ and Adam Perry Lang Collaboration
Nick’s Cafe
1300 N Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 4/10/15


I was super excited to take part in this recent collaboration between Adam Perry Lang (cookbook author, restaurateur and overall BBQ/meat expert) and Aaron Franklin, one of the most well-known BBQ personalities in the nation. Franklin’s namesake restaurant opened in 2009 and has quickly risen to generally be regarded as one of the best BBQ restaurants in the country, most notably for its Texas brisket. The line to get into Austin’s Franklin Barbecue is multiple hours long. Every single day. Rave reviews have come from all over the country; even President Obama visited last year (supposedly the first to ever cut the line). This year, Franklin has been named one of the James Beard Award finalists for Best Chef: Southwest, the first “barbecue chef” to have this distinction.

Given only 80 orders were going to be served at 6pm this evening, I figured my chances of getting in were very slim. Surely people were gonna wait all day for this, I thought. However, when I heard the line at 3pm was only about 10 people deep, I decided to go for it. Arriving at 3:45, I was able to get a ticket! Shockingly, the 80 ticket quota wasn’t reached until sometime after 5:00.


Both Franklin and Lang were pretty accessible while we waited. They were on hand chatting, answering questions and periodically providing a glimpse into the smoker.

lang and brisket

$50 all-in provided a ticket to the whole experience which included the below menu.


Each plate was prepared in assembly line fashion with Franklin personally handling brisket slicing duties. He clearly enjoys what he does; he opened each wrapped brisket and sliced into it with as much anticipation as each of us. The brisket jiggled as he shook it, having the texture somewhere between Jell-O and custard. It was unreal to watch.

assembly line

franklin brisket

franklin brisket

Meanwhile, Lang pulled apart the pork shoulder and sliced the smoked sausages.

lang and pork and sausage

Creekstone Farms Prime Brisket
Niman Ranch Pork Shoulder
Linguica Sausage
Beans, Cole Slaw, Pickles, Onions, Sliced bread

bbq plate1

bbq plate

This was a real treat. Aaron Franklin and his wife & business partner Stacy (and Lang, too) were affable and gracious, making for a unique and enjoyable experience. The beef brisket was extraordinary, luscious in texture and almost fall apart tender. It still had plenty of smoke and beef flavor, just delicious. I thought the pork shoulder was just OK, not really dry nor moist with expected pork and smoke flavor. The sausage was surprisingly excellent though. Slightly sweet, slightly spicy and full of flavor with subtle smoke. Easily the best plate of BBQ I’ve ever had (though that doesn’t really say that much).


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