Texas BBQ expert Aaron Franklin's tips for grilling the perfect steak at home

BBQ master Aaron Franklin had the Texas barbecue game locked long before he received a 2015 James Beard Award for best chef in the Southwest at his restaurant Franklin BBQ. Lines were already long at the Austin hotspot and getting longer, the adoring Instagram posts from smoky fanboys were drifting up against the restaurant’s windward wall.

Still, Franklin has stayed focused on his core BBQ mission at this one BBQ restaurant — straying only to write one cookbook and occasionally film an episode of “BBQ With Franklin.” On this episode of “Salon Talks” he opened up about all his thoughts on steak prep that formed the basis for “Franklin Steak.”

“With barbecue, you've got regionality. You've got different firewood, you have beef down in Texas, you've got hogs in the Carolinas, stuff like that. I think that goes true for steak also,” Franklin told SalonTV’s Manny Howard.

“This stuff can get as nerdy as you want it to be. If you dive into where a cow comes from and what it eats, it's got growth hormones, or it ate field peas, or was snacking on four-leaf clovers, if you marinate things in children's tears or unicorn blood, or whatever. You can dive as deep as you want to.”

Franklin swears it is all just about meat, salt (some pepper) and fire. And don’t fret, there are the requisite dos-and-don’ts for the naif, but this text has another audience in its sights; and whether it is ungulate evolution or the industrial history of refrigeration, there is no topic too esoteric.

Franklin and co-writer Jordan Mackay take the extra step of introducing readers to the regional butchers, purveyors and suppliers who keep steak standards where they ought to be if you are going to make this kind of commitment to a meal.

Watch the episode above to learn more about how to make the best of the steak you’ve got, or how to procure and prepare the best steak you ever ate. For the full rundown of Salon’s food-focused episodes, visit our “Salon Talks” Food playlist.

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