Last Call: Hello Franklin BBQ, goodbye Cooking Light

Photo: Kevin Pang
Last CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.  

Franklin BBQ

For the last three days, The Takeout’s production crew has been in Austin, Texas on a filming assignment. Following the laws of “When In Rome,” our crew agreed we must eat barbecue on this trip. So on our first day, we took a car to Micklethwait Craft Meats in East Austin. Why Micklethwait I had it once three years ago and it was superb, but more importantly, I thought we would never get into Franklin BBQ, which many would dare say is the best barbecue in all of Texas. Our time was short, so we figured: Why bother?

Luck would have it, we arrived at Micklethwait to see smoke emanating from the drums, surely housing slabs of our lunch. But there was no trailer, no humans around. We stood there wondering where to order. It wasn’t until we consulted Twitter that we found out Micklethwait was having its trailer inspected that day. No brisket for us.

Dejected, we headed back west towards downtown Austin, and of course we passed by Franklin BBQ.

And then a number of amazing things happened. First, there were only a dozen people outside the door at 1:30 p.m. Usually, especially on weekends, especially during South By Southwest, the lines would stretch down the block and seven-hour wait times weren’t unusual. So we thought: Here’s our chance.


The second amazing thing to happen: The line moved briskly, by Franklin BBQ standards. It only took us 31 minutes. I timed it. And so by 2 p.m., we had $100 worth of brisket, pork ribs, smoked sausages, potato salads, and baked beans in front of us. Franklin BBQ was our first meal in Austin. We ate in preoccupied silence, our heads nodding in agreement. Halley’s Comet comes once every 76 years, and we got into Franklin freakin’ BBQ. [Kevin Pang]

Cooking Light, we hardly knew ye

Photo: Monica Schipper (Getty Images for Cooking Light)


Yes, I know that print is a dying medium—I work in media. But still, I love those paper products at the end of the grocery aisles. I treasure being able to flip through a Real Simple or Martha Stewart Living at the pool, beach, or couch, happily flipping pages away from the accursed screen. Sometimes I give up the latest home organization tips or Martha’s new favorite paint color in favor of just going straight for the food mags: Cooking Light and Eating Well. I preferred the former over the latter; it seemed less serious to me, for one thing, and I couldn’t even tell the difference in the more-healthful recipes, some of which I still use after several years.

So it was with dismay today that I read in The New York Post that Meredith Corporation, home of many magazine empires, has decided to roll Cooking Light into Eating Well. Merging the two magazines gives Meredith the largest publication in the “epicurean” category, with a new circulation rate base of 1.775 million. It will be published 10 times a year.

Cooking Light is now a “special interest newsstand-only title” that will come out six times a year. Both websites will stay in production, and exist alongside Meredith’s other food-related titles like Allrecipes, Food & Wine, and Everyday With Rachael Ray. About 200 employees were let go in total. I’m sad for them, and also for myself that I will no longer see my beloved Cooking Light magazine every month at the grocery store. Yes, I know the print world is shrinking. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. [Gwen Ihnat]


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