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.
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.
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.
– 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