Fourth of July Barbecue Tips From Houston Pitmasters Ronnie Killen & Will Buckman

Categories: Meat!

Thumbnail image for Killens_brisket.jpg
Photo by Mai Pham
Brisket is a necessity when celebrating the Fourth of July.
There's no question that the Fourth of July is a barbecuing holiday. Today is the day before this meat-feast celebration, so we wanted to help you decide what to plop on the grill this year by getting expert advice and ideas from a couple Houston barbecue pitmasters. We spoke with Ronnie Killen of Killen's Barbecue and Will Buckman of CorkScrew BBQ to find out what's going on their grills at home.

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Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Anyone want tender beef ribs?
Ronnie Killen, owner and pitmaster of Killen's Barbecue in Pearland is known for his tender brisket and pork ribs, so it's no surprise that he likes to cook the barbecue holy trinity on the Fourth of July.

"Pork ribs, brisket, sausage, potato salad, beans and all that good stuff," Killen says. "I kind of do it a little differently than I do it at the barbecue place because you're cooking at home and you can kind of play and do things a little bit different. I see if the friends and family like it and then adjust if [I] need to adjust. And then of course you always have some beer. Because barbecue and beer go hand-in-hand."

Killen doesn't baste or glaze his meats at Killen's Barbecue, but when he's cooking for his friends and family at home, he says he likes to see how adding that extra ingredient turns out.

"I kind of use the Fourth of July to experiment and play around to see what the kids like, what family and everybody likes, and then go from there, if I am going to incorporate any of that into the menu or do anything to change anything. Normally family is the one that's the hardest on you and they're going to be honest with you and let you know if it's good or not good... especially if they've had a couple of beers!"

If you plan to make a big feast on Friday, Killen says to make sure everything begins cooking at the proper time. The last thing you want is a starving crowd. Hangry ( hungry + angry) emotions are not a pretty sight.

"I usually do the brisket the night before; I'll put it on at 9 or 10 o'clock and just kind of slow cook it throughout the night," Killen says. "If you start out early in the morning, that's when you get into really late Fourth of July eating because brisket takes so long, especially the ones they have at the store [which are] normally big, and they just take a long time. Temperature [is] 225 or 250 for an hour per pound; normally the day of I'll start cooking the ribs, so everyone can eat around 12 or 1, then eat again for dinner."

This story continues on the next page.


Location Info

Killen's Barbecue

3613 E Broadway, Pearland, TX

Category: Restaurant

CorkScrew BBQ

24930 Budde Road, Spring, TX

Category: Restaurant

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