Great Minds Collide in the Kitchen

What do a pit master and a sushi chef have in common? More than you think.

BY JEN MURPHY — Summer 2018

ushi and brisket seem like an unlikely pairing. But when James Beard Award winners Tyson Cole and Aaron Franklin team up to marry them, the result is knock-your-socks-off delicious. Cole, the chef behind Austin’s popular Uchi and Uchiko and a member at the city’s Lost Creek Country Club, is a master of refined Japanese cuisine. For years he has been scheming a way to combine his love of Asian flavors with Texas barbecue traditions. Partnering with Franklin, one of America’s most influential pitmasters, was a no-brainer. His eponymous Austin barbecue joint consistently sells out of the 120 briskets available daily.

In Texas, barbecue is religion, and Franklin has earned his following by cooking the same five meats — brisket, pulled pork, ribs, turkey, and sausage — the same way ever since opening in 2009. As for sides, he sticks to humble staples: slaw, potato salad, and slices of cheap white bread. He saw teaming up with Cole as an opportunity to flex his culinary creativity. In April, the duo debuted Loro, an Asian smokehouse and bar in Austin’s South Lamar neighborhood. The design references Texas dance halls, and an outdoor space includes oak-shaded picnic tables and a lantern-lit patio.

The menu is both familiar and foreign. At its heart: Franklin’s signature smoked meats. But you’ll also find char siew pork shoulder and Thai green curry sausage plates, smoked and grilled brisket sandwiches, and crispy Sichuan tofu bowls. Healthy accompaniments with bright, acidic flavors, such as green papaya salad, have replaced stick-to-your ribs sides. Wash down the salty, sweet, sour, and smoky flavors with draft beer, batch cocktails, or sake slushies. 512-916-4858; loroaustin.com

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