Rating: 4.25 Opened: 2003 Pitmasters: Daniel Martin, age 40, and Glenn Wilke, age 60 Method: Mesquite; indirect-heat pit Pro tip: Frank, who was an infant when his parents opened the restaurant, is not so cranky anymore.
As popular as this Hill Country hamlet is among the day-tripping set, Fredericksburg has historically suffered from a surprising dearth of top-rate barbecue. No more. Just a mile and a half south of the knickknack and potpourri emporiums of bustling Main Street stands Cranky Frank’s Barbeque Company. Once inside the brightly colored building, make your way to the counter where, guided by the menu above and whoever is manning the cutting board, you can place your order for toothsome and juicy “marbled” brisket (lean, meaning not quite as marbled, is also an option, of course), perfectly crusted pork ribs, and snappy and black-peppery sausage. There’s tender and moist pork shoulder too. And chicken. And beer (or “bier,” as they market it to the tourists back on the busy hauptstrasse). If you choose to go the plate route, the pinto beans, potato salad, green beans, whole-kernel corn, coleslaw, and chocolate pudding are help-yourself and all-you-can-eat. Grab a seat at one of the indoor tables or dig in alfresco at one of the picnic tables, covered in cheerful red-and-white-checked tablecloths. The heavy, tangy, ketchup-based sauce is very good. Use it if you must, but do so sparingly.
1679 U.S. 87 S., 830-997-2353. Open Tue–Sun 11–3 or till meat runs out). Closed first Sun of the month. crankyfranksbbq.com