Killen’s BBQ in Pearland. (All photos by Jim Rossman)
I had lunch at Killen’s BBQ in Pearland today and the meats were spectacular.
I have no doubt Killen’s is the best BBQ in Pearland, and likely the best BBQ in the Houston-area. The Posse will double-check my thoughts as we head down to Houston for a BBQ tour at the end of June and Killen’s is a highly-anticipated stop.
I figured Mother’s Day would be a light day at a BBQ joint, but then I remembered this is Texas. Killen’s opens at 11 a.m., and at 10:05 a.m. I was 15th in line. By the time the doors opened, the line was approaching 75 and there were still 50 in line when I left about noon.
Ronnie Killen has been selling BBQ for a while out of a tent in what was called a pop-up restaurant. His restaurant opened in February 2014, and there’s been a line since the beginning.
Once inside the door, there’s room for about 10 people to stand before you get to the serving counter, where Ronnie was on the knife. I was offered a really nice burnt end at the counter (always a nice touch).
Meat offerings include brisket, beef ribs, pork ribs, sausage (regular and jalapeno), turkey, pulled pork and pork belly.
The meats are available by the pound or on plates with two sides. Plates start at $10.95 for one meat and top out at a 6-meat plate for $28.95. I settled for the 4-meat plate (brisket, pork ribs, jalapeno sausage and pork belly.
Sides available include pinto beans, baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, mac ‘n cheese and creamed corn. I opted for the corn and potato salad. The creamed corn was a hearty side that I’d order again. The potato salad was of the mustard variety and was just average.

The brisket was some of the best I’ve had in any place in Texas. It was just the right combination of salt, pepper and rendered fat to make me close my eyes and just nod my head up and down. I’ve had great brisket from Franklin, La Barbecue, Pecan Lodge and Snow’s.

Ronnie Killen’s brisket is as good as any of those.
I thought the brisket was going to be the standout, but I was wrong – today’s best bite was the beef rib.
It was perfectly cooked and bursting with beefy goodness with just the right amount of crust and smoke.
The pork ribs were St. Louis cut and they were perfectly cooked and rubbed with a spicy/sweet rub that I like to find on a rib.
Pork Belly is not on a lot of menus, but it’s a daily feature at Killens. The pieces I had were meaty and fatty and very good.
The house-made sausage comes in regular and jalapeno. I had a link of the jalapeno and it was very tasty, but almost too lean. There was no grease dripping out of this link at all. It had great flavor, but needed just a little more fat to keep it from falling apart.
Killen’s BBQ, 3613 East Broadway St., Pearland, Texas 77581. Open Tuesday – Sunday, 11 a.m. until the meat runs out.


The line at Killen’s stretched down the sidewalk before the 11 a.m. opening.


The welcome mat.


A simple menu above the serving line.


Owner and pitmaster Ronnie Killen


Four meat plate, including brisket, pork ribs, pork belly and jalapeno sausage


Moist brisket and a beef rib


Early diners enjoy lunch. The line is visible outside.

Leave a comment


7 years ago

I am by no means a light eater (I can finish off 3/4lbs of brisket by myself, and then some), but when my wife and I went, the two meat plate we got was enough for both of us, and was by far had the most meat of any two meat BBQ plate I've ever had. I can just imagine eating an entire four meat plate.

It was fantastic, though. I agree that it's probably the best BBQ in the Houston area. Gatlin's is pretty good too, though not as over-the-top. Most other local BBQ places are so mediocre to downright bad that I generally prefer Rudy's.


7 years ago

What places (besides Killen's) does the posse plan on visiting during their 2nd Houston BBQ Tour?

Chris Wilkins

7 years ago

Hi Ray: our short list is Corkscrew, Virgie's, Killeens, Brooks Place & Ray's Real Pit BBQ. Any other suggestions?


7 years ago

May I suggest adding Triple J's Smokehouse and Boogie's Chicago Style BBQ, if time permits? I've never been to either place (my Houston BBQ experience is limited to Virgie's, the Katy Freeway locations of Rudy's and Goode's, Nonmacher's in Katy, and a street vendor near Texas Southern who had some great spicy pork ribs), but I have read several positive reviews of both places over the last several years.

Texas BBQ Ranger


Triple J's-

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7 years ago

And I give you kudos for putting Ray's and Brooks on your itinerary.


7 years ago

I would suggest visiting Triple J's Smokehouse and Boogie's Chicago Style BBQ. Even though I haven't tried out either establishment (my experience with Houston BBQ is limited to Virgie's, Goode's and Rudy's on the Katy Freeway, Nonmacher's in Katy, and a street vendor near Texas Southern who had some great spicy pork ribs), I've read various positive online reviews about both establishments.

Austin Top 5 plus Snow's

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