Pork ribs, brisket, potato salad & creamed corn at Killen’s BBQ in Pearland. (Photo by Daniel Goncalves/fotobia.com)


Just a week after the Posse’s barbecue tour of Houston-area joints, Posse member Daniel Goncalves and his wife, Magda, made a return visit, including a trip to Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland, which might just be the best barbecue joint in the state. Daniel says he had a couple of new barbecue revelations while high on smoke and creamed corn. Here is his report:

My wife and I decided at the last minute to spend the 4th of July weekend in Houston. The previous week’s trip to Killen’s may have influenced that decision.

When the Posse visited Killen’s, Posse member Jim Rossman showed up a couple of hours before opening and had the #1 spot in line.

My wife and I stopped Saturday, July 5th, just before 3 p.m. We spotted pit master, Ronnie Killen, on the side lawn. I was curious to see if the joint had sold out any of the meats and how the food would measure up to the “first in line” offerings we had the week before.

Only 6 people were in line ahead of us when we arrived. The board up front said sausage had sold out. We decided to get a 6-meat plate ($28), but divided between only two meats: two portions of pork ribs and 4 portions of moist brisket. It’s a lot of food, enough for us have a nice lunch and leftovers for dinner.

We were disappointed we couldn’t sample the sausage, which was very good the previous week, but I was pleasantly surprised that sausage was the only meat that had sold out.

A worker said meat capacity was increased for the holiday weekend by temporarily bringing in an additional smoker. On Friday, 85 briskets were smoked and they had sold them out by 3:30 p.m. They had 12 out of 65 left at just after 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The plate came with a choice of two sides. I’ve never been excited about sides at a BBQ joint. We ordered the potato salad and the creamed corn.

I assumed we would both take a bite of each and the rest would end up in the trash bin. After last week’s visit I didn’t believe anything could possibly stand up to the meat. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

This led to the second great revelation of my BBQ touring experience: Don’t put sides to the side (sorry).

The sides stood up just fine and were not out of place with the meat. They were not an afterthought or a simple filler as with many barbecue joints.

Pitmaster/owner Ronnie Killen. (Photo by Daniel Goncalves)

The creamed corn was sublime. It was creamy and luscious while being light and almost frothy with a small spicy after kick. We were told that the creamed corn is the exact same corn served at Killen’s Steakhouse which is considered one of the top steakhouses in the country.

If I could create a new BBQ category called “most luscious side,” the creamed corn would be king. I challenge any other side from any other joint to go toe to toe with the creamed corn in my fictitious category. Bring it on.

The brisket was perfectly cooked and unbelievably moist, but I personally would have liked a little more rub, especially salt. The ribs were perfect. I felt the same way on the previous visit. The beef flavor seems to be the star while the seasoning does back up duty and that’s not a bad thing.

I felt compelled to try the sauces after sampling some naked bits and pieces. Since my Florida days I haven’t touched sauce. My personal feeling is that if it needs sauce I don’t want to eat it.

This led to my third ever BBQ revelation. The sauces were delicious and complemented the brisket beautifully. I’m wondering if this is part of some genius plan to get you to reach for the sauce so you can experience another layer of culinary goodness. Killen definitely has “it” when it comes to creating perfectly balanced flavor. Escoffier would not be disappointed. sweet and acidity balanced beautifully. No one flavor stands above the other.

We decided to take a brisket back home to Dallas after making sure they had enough left over for the people in line behind us. Our brisket was just short of 8 pounds of jiggly, glistening and gorgeous meat. Memories of Baywatch’s intro sequence came to mind.

We decided to further indulge by getting a slice of the buttermilk pie to share. Magda said she noticed lemon rind while exclaiming how wonderful it was. No bottled lemon juice here.

I haven’t been this excited about smoked meat since my first BBQ revelation while sampling Snow’s marvelous brisket on a beautiful Saturday morning. That was when I finally understood how great brisket could be.

After its Houston tour, the Posse debated on the way back to Dallas whether Killen’s was the best BBQ joint in the state. I was reluctant to agree on the spot.

But if you take into account comfort level (A/C, nice decor, friendly staff, personable pit master, beer in line, etc.), all the different meats and their quality, and if you throw sides into the discussion, then I personally would have to say that this is the best BBQ joint in Texas and possibly this side of the sun.

Please pass more of that creamed corn.

Killen’s BBQ, 3613 E. Broadway, Pearland, 281-485-2272. Open Tues-Sun 11am-until they run out of meat. Website: http://www.killensbarbecue.com

Dining room at Killen’s BBQ. (Photo by Daniel Goncalves/fotobia.com)

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Robert Love

3 years ago

Yes to the coffee sauce. It was a great surprise. Killen's is the star of the Houston area BBQ scene.

Austin Top 5 plus Snow's
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