Cranky Frank’s BBQ – Fredericksburg, TX


I love to cook.  Part of the reason for that is the fact that I love to eat.  What’s more, I really like to eat good stuff.  So, Mrs. NH and I have put our cooking skills to use over the past 5 or so years in order to recreate the flavors from the US that we miss eating.  However, there’s one flavor that we haven’t been able to completely master in our Prague apartment.  That’s barbecue.  We’ve tried and even had some good success with ribs cooked in dark Czech beer and the legendary Coca-Cola brisket.  They hold our cravings at bay.  Well, I should say they did until this last trip to Texas.  Then, darnit, my folks took us to Cranky Frank’s and ruined everything.

Cranky Frank’s, quite simply, is the best Texas BBQ I have ever had.  No, I’m not the biggest Q expert on the planet but I do know the good stuff when I have it.  On our last swing through Texas, we hit the aforementioned Frank’s (Fredericksburg), Rudy’s (Austin), Strack Farms (Spring), and Salt Lick (Dripping Springs).  All had something to love, but honestly, Cranky Frank’s kicked the butt of all of them.

I ate there several years back when it was still Ken Hall BBQ and it wasn’t as good.  This time, it was superlative.  Tender, moist and succulently salty ribs.  Pull apart brisket laced with just enough fat to equal tons of flavor.  And the right “bang” of vinegar in the potato salad to stand up to Frank’s signature sauces.  Smokey beans with a nice, silky texture.  Wow, wow, wow.  It so hurts to write this post from over 3000 miles away.  I topped all of those flavors off with a Lone Star beer (criminally underrated brew, by the way) and haven’t stopped talking about the meal since then.  To add to it, I brought a Cranky Frank’s bumper sticker to a Welshman named Frank who works down the hall from my office.  Lo and behold, he’d been to Fredericksburg but sadly for him, not to Frank’s.

No, that meal hasn’t left my mind since I took the first bite off of those beautifully smoked ribs.  It’s the gold standard of Texas BBQ as far as this blogger is concerned.  The fact that it’s something we can’t replicate at home makes it all the more legendary – and that makes me cranky.

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. thebrotherinlaw says:

    I am about to make it worse.

    Check out these two blogs that focus on Texas barbecue:

    http://fcg-bbq.blogspot.com/
    http://manuptexasbbq.blogspot.com/

    Reading through those reminds me that there are countless options for great barbecue here and that I need to get out and try more—I haven’t been to half the places on these lists that are even in driving distance for me. It also makes me very hungry.

    We might need to venture out west and try Cranky Franks- know anyone that would join us?

    1. NotHemingway says:

      You get the credit for Rudy’s. As for Frank’s, yeah, I bet you I know a couple that would be willing to join you. As for the blogs, why do you have to come here and make trouble?

  2. kasperville says:

    Rudy’s is great for a fix, and I love it. However, it is a franchised gas station. Salt Lick is known for its sauce. No bbq joint wants to be known for their sauce. I’m gonna have to try Cranky Frank’s next time I’m in the area.

    A few suggestions:
    1. Smitty’s in Lockhart. Best bbq anywhere.
    2. Vencil’s (aka Taylor Cafe). Very old school and very good.
    3. Louis Mueller’s in Taylor – My last few visits were not great, but that was partially due to the number of people there. I think the meat gets pulled to quickly on occassion.
    4. Snow’s in Lexington – Got voted No. 1 in Texas by Texas Monthly. Went there but is was sold out by 10 a.m. Gonna have to try to go back sometime.

  3. Interestingly, we were in F’burg this past Saturday. Hit up 2 BBQ joints. Went to Cranky Frank’s but got there at 4:30 to find out that they close at 4. Met the lady who runs it, invited her to be a part of http://www.theqcard.com, and took some pics. Will post the pics soon, along with our thoughts on, and pics from, our other 2 stops.

    1. NotHemingway says:

      Hey, thanks for the visit! Can’t wait to read the reviews on your stops. Your site just makes me hungry. It’s also the kind of thing that’ll force me to move back to TX.

  4. And thanks, thebrotherinlaw, for linking us. Cheers!

  5. Bob White says:

    Just got back from Cranky. You better come back to TX and listen to what Kasperville posted. Frank ain’t even close.

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