Killen's Barbecue

Revisited in 2015

My radar has been locked on Killen's Barbecue for a long time now. I keep wanting to go, but I could not justify a three-hour drive. My wife wanted to go check out the Soto exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts so we had a reason now to make the drive to Houston. At first, Ronnie Killen did only barbecue pop-ups on the weekends. He also owns a highly regarded steakhouse (Killen's Steakhouse) that he was busy with. The lines at his pop-ups were long, and he would run out of food. So Ronnie took it to the next level and opened a brick and mortar earlier this year in February.

I had trouble sleeping the night before. I was so excited. We left the house at 6:30 in the morning. It took us under three hours to get to Pearland. When we got there, the parking lot was empty. It looked like we were going to be first in line. They use a ticket system at Killen's. You draw a number and that is your spot in line. You do not have to stand in a line for hours in the heat before opening. There were some picnic tables in front that we hung out at before the restaurant in the shade. It was the perfect summer morning to grab barbecue. The temperatures were cool, and the skies were filled with clouds. We drank some of the free beer and had to only wait an hour and a half. Someone had pulled a ticket before us and had left for a little bit. We ended up being second in line when the line formed right before opening. Inside the restaurant, there was an ample amount of seating.

I walked around the building before opening and took a picture of their new Klose smoker. Ronnie told me that they were still getting used to it. They are using it primarily for pork ribs. Killen's also has a reverse flow pit. Instead of having air flow from the firebox through the cooking chamber and out the chimney, the air flows under the cooking chamber, reverses back over the cooking surface and comes out of a chimney on the same side of the firebox. The temperatures are better regulated plus the smoke is cleaner. An Oyler rotisserie smoker is also on premise.

We kept everything simple and ordered all of the meats on the menu. Some of our friends were meeting us so I ordered for them as well. They got a beef rib so I did not have to order one. I was going to steal some bites though. I have had Ronnie's beef rib at an event called Live Fire. He gave me a WHOLE beef rib. It was delicious. We got the six-meat plate with an extra link of sausage! I have never seen a five let alone six-meat plate being offered. Our plate also came with side of macaroni and cheese and cream corn. I will breakdown the meat in order:

1. The moist prime brisket was superb. It is a top five brisket in my book, and one of the best I have had in a while. The tenderness and the smokiness were downright excellent. It had a nice bark and was plain ol' tasty.
2. I wished I had gotten my own beef rib. It was phenomenal. The peppery crust played well with the smoke forming a magical bond. It was like eating meat candy. It was decadent and great.
3. The turkey was easily the best I have ever had. It was perfect. Most of the turkeys out there are boring and lifeless. This one packed some flavor with the rub. The turkey was juicy and had me thinking about ordering some from here for Thanksgiving.
4. Do not get me wrong. The bone in-pork belly was fantastic, but it had too much going on. It was essentially a sparerib with bacon attached it. It was meaty, fatty, sloppy, and rich all at the same time. I think smoking the pork belly separately would have been better. I would still order it next time.
5. The pulled pork was outstanding. There was a sweet sauce in it already, but the flavors of the meat were not washed out. It had just the right amount of smoke. I could eat it all day.
6. I almost forgot about the pork spareribs in the pile of meat. They were tender, and the meat was coming off the bone. Good rub and smoke.
7. The weakest link of the group was the sausage. Pun intended. It did have a good coarse grit and nice pop from the casing. I thought it was too fatty and kind of boring. It felt it could have use more beef in it.

The macaroni and cheese and cream corn were wonderful. Macaroni and cheese was cheesy and was good at breaking up the meat monotony. I think the cream corn was better than Rudy's. Three barbecue sauces were available to bring more spice to the table. A coffee based, Texas style, and mustard based. I liked all of them.

I have tried Gatlin's BBQ and Virgie's Bar-B-Que on a previous trip to the Houston area. There is a new sheriff in town. It is called Killen's Barbecue. Actually they could be the new sheriff in the state. The barbecue is awesome, and the line is not five hours long. You can hang out drinking a brew without getting pounded by the Texas sun. Although the focus is on meats, the sides were not forgotten. Everything is on point even though Killen's is fairly new. They also have chicken, but it was not available this day. Next time. The drive was totally worth it. The drive home was not because I wanted more. Grade: A

Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 3613 E Broadway St, Pearland, TX 77581
Phone: (281) 485-2272


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