Did you know that in addition to being a James Beard award-winning chef,  Aaron Franklin is a pretty handy welder? He and his team are even welding more than a dozen pieces of cookery for his Hot Luck festival, which begins Thursday. The self-taught welder built his first smoker about eight years ago for his little barbecue trailer, and hasn’t slowed down. Now, he’s bringing his welded creations to the public.

Aaron Franklin (right) and Caleb Johnson discuss the smokers they’re creating for the upcoming Hot Luck food and live music festival. (Reshma Kirpalani AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Aaron Franklin shows off a piece of one of his Franklin Barbecue Pits prototypes. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

If you’ve always wanted to cook like the Franklin Barbecue master, you may get your chance staring next summer. Franklin is designing Franklin Barbecue Pits (franklinbbqpits.com) for the many at-home cooks and barbecue obsessives. The pits will be about six-feet long and fit three briskets. Franklin describes the pits, which will have rolled heads, a fully insulated smoke box and be CNC laser cut, as “super-duper basic.” They will resemble a high-quality version of the kind of pit Franklin got started on years ago.

Franklin will design the pits and oversee their production by welding brothers Caleb and Matt Johnson, who have worked with Franklin for several years. The thick and durable pits, which Franklin expects to last a lifetime, will be made in the Austin area.  The pits are designed explicitly for the home cook, and Aaron and wife and partner Stacy Franklin have said they have no interest in getting involved with production for commercial use.

Matt Johnson works on a smoker for Hot Luck food and live music festival. (Reshma Kirpalani)

The Franklins have not settled on a final price, but want it to be competitively priced and expect it might cost around the price of two XL Big Green Eggs. You can not currently purchase a Franklin Barbecue Pit, but you can sign up for the newsletter at FranklinBBQPits.com in order to get updates on the pits. Franklin hopes to start shipping out the first pits next summer. There will be one version that is fully welded and another version that will require minor assembly.


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