What will Aaron Franklin be cooking at his Hot Luck festival?

Aaron Franklin will step away from brisket smoking to cook pot roast at his Hot Luck festival. (Reshma Kirpalani AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Aaron Franklin is going to be a busy man next week at the inaugural Hot Luck festival that he’s producing with partners James Moody (Fun Fun Fun Fest, the Mohawk) and Mike Thelin (Feast food festival in Portland, Oregon). In addition to overseeing festival construction and production and making sure that his famous restaurant continues to run without a hitch, the James Beard award-winner will also cook at the festival.

He imagined the Friday night Hi Lo event in which he’ll participate as a chance for chefs to tap into the dishes and flavors that originally made them fall in love with food and eventually want to become cooks.

“Don’t try and make something super fancy, make something you’re really excited about,” Franklin said was the general directive. 

So, what inspirational dish will the Hot Luck co-founder create next week? He’s going to pay tribute to his mother’s pot roast. Franklin will cook 250 pounds of pot roast and serve it with mashed potatoes. Not an easy feat for a man whose restaurant doesn’t even have an oven.

How will he create it?  He intends to break down whole shoulder clods, sear them on a 36-inch plancha and deglaze them.

“I’ve got bones and oxtails and all this stuff showing up for the stock,” Franklin said. “It’s gonna take about three days to make the stock for the gravy in a restaurant that has no burners, really.”

How’s he gonna do that?

“I might have to get a turkey fryer and  leave it on the back porch,” Franklin said with a laugh. 

The Hi Lo takes place May 19. Tickets cost $145 and can be purchased online. Other chefs participating include Adam Sappington (The Country Cat, Portland), Callie Speer (Holy Roller, Austin), Fiore Tedesco (L’Oca d’Oro, Austin), Michael Fojtasek (Olamaie, Austin), Rene Ortiz (Launderette, Austin), Tyson Cole (Uchi) and more.


Author: Matthew Odam

Restaurant critic & features writer at Austin American @Statesman and @Austin360. Austin-born 6th generation Texan. Left-handed.

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