The president, sidling up to the counter at the Texas landmark, apologized to the people at the front of the very long line as he skipped the wait, according to the travel pool report.
"Because these folks were in front of me, I'm buying for them," he told the workers behind the counter.
The president ordered around 8 pounds of meat, 6 pounds of which went for Bruce Finstad of Houston and his daughter Faith Finstad of Austin, the lucky pair at the front of the line, and their two seated companions.
"Hold on -- how many folks are y'all feedin'?" the president joked as he pulled out a roll of $20 bills, then asked if his credit card still worked when the order exceeded $300.
The order included 3 pounds of beef, 2 pounds of ribs, a half-pound of sausage and a half-pound of turkey for the Finstads, but the pool reporter wasn't able to get the president's order.
After chatting with diners in the packed restaurant, President Obama headed on to catch his Air Force One flight back to D.C., barbecue in tow.
Obama talks with some locals during a surprise visit to Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas pic.twitter.com/vYNf6DK01d— Doug Mills (@dougmillsnyt) July 10, 2014
Obama at Franklin Barbecue in Austin pic.twitter.com/JjccNZ7TSb— Steve Holland (@steveholland1) July 10, 2014