Finally! Killen's Barbecue to Open Tomorrow

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Photo by Mai Pham
Most people order enough to take home. And it's a thing of beauty.

Before that first visit, I had seen photos of people waiting in line, heard the stories about how good his barbecue was. But I didn't comprehend the magnitude or the quality of what he was putting out until I forced myself to make the drive to Pearland (it takes 45 minutes from my side of town) one rainy Saturday morning. I was awestruck. I'd never seen anything like it.

"I don't need to be doing this. I want to do this, and if I'm going to do it, I'm going to make the best barbecue you've ever tasted," Killen said to me that day, standing under a white makeshift tent next to the old cafeteria space he'd bought to turn into his barbecue restaurant. The grounds were muddy; there was rain everywhere. People were lining up, and he'd been up until 3 a.m., prepping for the morning's food.

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Photo by Mai Pham
Honkin' huge ribs. Just glorious.

Indeed, his barbecue is the stuff of dreams. Glorious, honkin' huge, tender, flavorful ribs. Melt-in-your-mouth, juicy, smoky brisket. Snappy sausages; tender, smoky pork ribs; and delicious smoked turkey. Everything that he makes is of prize-winning quality.

Killen is so meticulous that he is there at every pop-up, touching the meat, feeling it and looking at it, before serving it with his own hands. You'll see him right in the front, often frowning in concentration, taking orders before slicing the meat and weighing it for every person in line.

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Photo by Mai Pham
Diners patiently wait in line for two hours (and more) for a slice of Killen's barbecue.

It's this tireless dedication, this commitment to creating the best, that makes his barbecue so fantastic. His fans recognize this. This past weekend alone, when a pop-up was announced in anticipation of his opening, he sold out of 1,200 pounds of barbecue in about two and a half hours on Saturday, then blew through 1,300 pounds of meat in about the same amount of time on Sunday. Killen's own mother lamented that she hadn't made it in time to try his barbecue because he'd sold out before she got there.

One of the first patrons to sit down with food told me she and her husband had arrived at 9:30 a.m. in anticipation of the 11 a.m. opening time. "Oh, we've been here before," she assured me, "and it's totally worth the wait."

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Photo by Mai Pham
Can you see the juices glistening? Soon, this, too, can be yours.

The wait is over. This weekend is already looking much better!


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8 comments
john1934
john1934

I really enjoyed the beed ribs. The brisket was very good but with the high fat content of the Prime brisket I might opt for the "lean" brisket next time.

Giusy
Giusy

Great pics, Mai. This is as good as it gets for you, your ecstasy, your moment of rapture.

McMillanswife
McMillanswife

@Giusy

She got as moist as the cue writing this piece, sign of a passionate food writer.

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