Killen’s Barbecue – Pearland, TX

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Name
: Killen’s Barbecue
Date: 1/20/18
Address: 3613 E. Broadway, Pearland, TX
Order: ½ pound brisket, ½ pound burnt ends (special), 2 sausage links, 1 beef rib, mac & cheese, fried mac & cheese, onion rings, baked beans, green beans (link to menu)
Price: $90

Speedy: I was down in Houston to visit some friends lately, so of course I convinced everyone to pop over to Killen’s, which is known as one of the top joints in Houston. Killen’s is a bit outside of Houston proper, and we went on a rainy day. All this meant we were left with a short line (though it quickly grew as the weather started to clear). Walking up, I could smell the wood coals burning and got a whiff of some beef on the smoker, so I immediately knew I was somewhere serious.

Monk: Seems like you stumbled onto the perfect time to check out Killen’s, seeing as how I’ve been reading about the long lines there for years. Brilliant, Speedy. Brilliant.

Rudy: Killen’s has been on my must-eat list for a while.  I’ve heard great things about since it opened. Houston is not known for having high quality barbecue like some of the other areas of the state, so I know this place has been getting swamped with people. Since I almost never get down to Houston, I haven’t been able to eat there.

Speedy: Killen’s is cafeteria style, where you first order meat, cut right in front of you, and then sides. One of the guys I was with had been there before and advised to skip the pulled pork, so we went all beef, with the exception of the sausage, which is a pork and beef mix. At Killen’s, you can order plates, or by the weight, and we opted for the latter. They only needed two clarifications with our order – fatty or lean brisket (fatty, duh), and jalapeno sausage or regular (regular). After about 20 minutes in line, we were ready to eat.

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Like at any Texas joint, I started with the brisket. I had high expectations based on my prior Texas trip (when I visited Franklin’s and La Barbecue), and let me tell you, this lived up to expectations. The brisket was peppery, moist, and as good as I could have imagined. I think it was 99% as good as Franklin’s and La Barbecue, and tasted very similar. I did not use any sauce, as none was needed. Overall, nearly flawless execution.

Monk: Wow, 99% as good as Franklin’s and La Barbecue? That’s high praise!

Rudy: Yeah, that is huge praise! Add to that the 20 minute wait and that’s even better.

Speedy: The sausage was also great. Made in house, the casing had good snap and a nice spiciness to it. It did start to fall apart a bit, but overall, it was great and is not to be missed.

The burnt ends were a daily special – made with wagyu beef and covered in sauce, they were tender and perfectly chunked. Overall, there was a little more sauce than I liked, but it was tangy and good.

The beef rib was the only thing that I thought could have been better. The rib was crazy tender and easy to cut with a plastic knife, but the bark was not as good as I had hoped and did not touch the brisket. Our beef rib was 1.4 pounds, so nearly $30 – I would have much preferred another pound of brisket.

The sides were good, but like any good barbecue joint, they were a compliment and did not stand out in any way.

I also really liked the atmosphere at Killen’s, as there was a large area of outside seating and lots of seating inside. It’s the definition of a Texas joint, and though it’s only been open since 2013, it’s damn good and not to be missed if you’re in the Houston area. I, for one, can’t wait to go back.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 4 hogs
Brisket – 5 hogs
Beef Rib – 3.5 hogs
Sausage – 4.5 hogs
Burnt Ends – 4 hogs
Sides – 3.5 hogs
Overall – 5 hogs
Killen's Barbecue Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

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Linkdown: 10/18/17

– The Barbecue Festival is next weekend and here are the deets

 

– The updated Thrillist list of best barbecue in America contains 4 joints from NC, including a newer joint that only opened in the past couple of years

– The Eastern Carolina BBQ Throwdown threw down in Rocky Mount last weekend

– The Tour De Pig, a precursor event to the Barbecue Festival in Lexington later this month, was also this past weekend

– Next time you are in Houston:

– Missed this a few weeks back, but a fire at Swig & Swine West Ashley in Charleston caused it to close for a few weeks; as of this post it was scheduled to open by now but no word on whether it has yet

– Archibald’s in Northport, AL recently had a fire as well but is fine

– Heading to the NC State Fair this month? For the first time you can try beer and wine, including Birdsong

Linkdown: 9/13/17

RIP to the original Riverside location of 12 Bones; it is survived by the Arden location and a new Riverside location down the street coming in January 2018

Operation BBQ Relief has been helping out for weeks for Harvey and is now live for Irma

– I’ve never been here but its unfortunate when a joint open this long closes: Lewis’ Barbecue (not to be confused with the Texas joint in Charleston by John Lewis), a 70 year old barbecue restaurant in Clinton has closed

Shots fired at NC barbecue from a San Antonio journalist

Several years ago, a free afternoon during a work-related trip to North Carolina called for an obvious mission: Seek out the finest examples of the barbecue the locals hailed as the world’s best, and gorge accordingly.

But upon completion of this task, which unfortunately involved the ingestion of sad piles of shredded pork doused in a sauce consisting primarily of vinegar, one question lingered over the entire experience.

How can a state love something so much and yet still be so bad at it?

– Per Stacy Franklin, Franklin Barbecue is “hoping to open in the next two weeks” from a Texas BBQ Posse post from 9/7

– More Texas: Goode Co. BBQ in Houston (a joint that helped influence the Charlotte restaurant Midwood Smokehouse) celebrated 40 years of being open recently

– Matthew Odam recently unearthed a series of barbecue reviews from 1978 from recently passed Austin columnist John Kelso

– Always good to refresh the ol’ knowledge tank

Linkdown: 8/30/17

– Thinking of Houston in the wake of Harvey

– In drier times (hopefully coming soon), could whole hog barbecue succeed in Houston?

– Glad to hear that the smokers at Franklin Barbecue made it through the smokehouse fire

– Art’s Barbecue and Deli and Bar-B-Q King make Charlotte Five’s list of 10 classic Charlotte restaurants you must try

– A barbecue-focused episode of House of Carbs this week talks Texas barbecue and Charleston as a barbecue capital

– Buxton Hall evening pitmaster David Phelps gets a mention in this article on third shift workers in Asheville

After coming in around 10 p.m., he spends the first two hours prepping the next day’s sauces and green beans. As he chops and mixes, Phelps is also building the fire up to the required temperature (225 degrees), in order to cook the two pigs nightly. By sunrise, he generally has around 350 to 400 pounds of pulled pork ready for the day crew.

– Buxton Hall’s also got great fried chicken too

– LOL

 

Linkdown: 4/12/17

– Robert Moss on “The Tyranny of Texas Barbecue”

– …and TMBBQ with the retort; claims that Moss is “jealous of neighbor’s popularity”

– The 15 pitmasters for the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party have been announced; Sam Jones and Rodney Scott represent the Carolinas

– Cuegrass ’17 takes over Davie Street in front of the Pit this Saturday for a day of barbecue, beer, and bluegrass

– Henry’s Smokehouse and the Greenville BBQ Trail Tour are in this Charlotte Five article on what to do in the SC town about 1hr 40 minutes away from Charlotte

– BBQ Hub also has a Charleston barbecue tour for the burgeoning barbecue capital

– Marie, Let’s Eat! is pleasantly surprised by some barbecue in Pigeon Forge from Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que

– The Smoking Ho went to the Houston BBQ Festival last weekend and took some great photos

– Wayne Mueller BBQ is eyeing a Houston-area location for expansion

– Don’t forget about the fried chicken

Linkdown: 2/1/17

– The Brick Pit in Mobile, AL gets a second life thanks to a Facebook post

– Marie, Let’s Eat! visits Mike’s Smokehouse in Chattanooga, which is among the better barbecue joints in the area

– In case you might be doing some brisket smoking for the Super Bowl

– I love Robert Jacob Lerma’s barbecue photography

– An older article where Robert Moss picks SC’s most underrated barbecue

– If you’re ever laid over in the Houston airport, it might be a good idea to head to Gatlin’s Q

– Put your barbecue knowledge to the test (I got 80/100)

Linkdown: 3/30/16

Voting ends tomorrow for Thrillist’s America’s Best BBQ Bracket (vote for Red Bridges!)

– The fast casual concept of Midwood Smokehouse, named Midwood Smokeshack, will open its first location in Matthews

– Charlotte Observer food writer Kathleen Purvis has 5 styles of brisket to try around Charlotte, including the smoked version at Sauceman’s

– Purvis also explores the black/white cornbread divide; loyal readers will know which side I fall on

– Yet another NC barbecue roadtrip list

-The Indy Week out of NC’s triangle has a feature on Picnic:

– Speaking of which, Picnic is now open on Sundays

– Fox Bros. in Atlanta is expanding with a barbecue kiosk at the up-and-coming Armour Yards

– Robert Moss takes a quick trip to Houston and focuses on the boudin sausage

– Red Clay Soul has a Georgia Mild BBQ Sauce Bracket

– The origin story of Heirloom Market’s spicy korean barbecue sandwich

 

Linkdown: 1/6/16

– Daniel Vaughn’s best Texas barbecue bites in 2015

– Upcoming Durham restaurant openings include Picnic, a “modern take on barbecue joint” set to open in early February as well as a “biscuit and barbecue concept” at the American Tobacco Complex

– Franklin Barbecue is on this list of Austin restaurants that are opting out of open carry; on the other end of the spectrum, Brooks Place in Houston is giving open carry patrons 25% off

– Midwood Smokehouse is one of the restaurants who have expanded from the uptown area to the ‘burbs

– Duh:

– The year in Kansas City barbecue

– Rodney Scott gives thanks

Linkdown: 8/26/15

– You remember how Tyson Ho built  a barbecue restaurant in Brooklyn? He checks in with a retrospective nearly a year after it opened; if you want to catch up on the entire blog series (and I recommend that you do), check it out here

– Blasphemers!: Stamey’s food trailer was stolen from their lot Monday night

– A fire has damaged Bill Ellis’ Barbecue in Wilson but at least there’s this nugget:

“I took my plate with me,” Mangum said. “I was too hungry to just leave my good plate.”

Mangum stood beside Lisa Woodard, who was in her car looking at the smoke.

“I am as hungry as I can be,” Woodard said. “I just paid my money and they told us to get out.”

– Luella’s Bar B Que in Asheville is getting a second location in Biltmore Park Town Square

– A Charlotte vs Raleigh restaurant smackdown includes a short profile on Frank Scibelli (restaurateur behind Midwood Smokehouse) as well as a head to head barbecue smackdown between Bill Spoon’s in Charlotte and Clyde Cooper’s in Raleigh

– Marie, Let’s Eat! has been exploring Alabama barbecue this year and his latest stops on the blog are Pruett’s BBQ & Catfish in Gadsden and Ray’s Bar-B-Que in Atalla

A guide to Houston BBQ from TMBBQ

– Buxton Hall opens this Friday and I couldn’t be more excited to check it out at some point – I believe its been more than 2.5 years since its first iteration Buxton Hill was first announced, then with Rodney Scott as a partner

Buxton Hall is coming. On Aug. 28, the whole-hog barbecue restaurant will throw open its doors, permitting access to chef Elliott Moss’ wood-smoked ‘cue and farm-driven sides, all served in a cavernous former skating rink.