killen’s BBQ

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Smoked in Texas: Dry-Aged Brisket at Killen’s Barbecue

The experimentation never seems to end at Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland. Some days you can do a side-by-side taste test of different beef rib varieties, on others owner Ronnie Killen and pitmaster Manny Torres are serving flights of various smoked briskets. And when I stopped in last week they were having some fun with dry-aged brisket. Dry-aging is a revered process in steakhouses that provides a signature nutty flavor to ribeyes and strips and fetches big…

Killen Menu

The Karma of Brisket Prices

Ronnie Killen has had enough with high-priced brisket at his Houston-area barbecue joint. Killen’s Barbecue has garnered praise for his juicy smoked briskets (and just about everything else on his menu) from Texas Monthly, and even the Food Network, but it didn’t come cheap. Along with big names like Pecan Lodge in Dallas and Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Killen’s has been charging $20/lb for brisket in response to high beef prices, especially on this specialty cut….

James Beard

A Barbecue Man in a Quiche Town

Barbecue’s reputation in the culinary world has turned a corner. Last week the nominations for the New York based James Beard Foundation’s annual awards were announced, and a pitmaster was among the names that were otherwise a roll call of haute cuisine. Under the heading “Best Chef: Southwest” was the name Aaron Franklin—of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas—who became the first barbecue-centric proprietor nominated as a chef. The James Beard Foundation has honored barbecue before. Louie…

Interview: Ronnie Killen of Killen’s Barbecue

Owner/Pitmaster: Killen’s Barbecue; Opened 2014 Age: 47 Smoker: Indirect Heat Wood-Fired Pit, Wood-Fired Rotisserie Smoker Wood: Oak, Pecan, Hickory, and Mesquite Last week, we reviewed Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland. It received one of the highest ratings on TMBBQ, which likely wasn’t enough for Ronnie Killen. His goal is to be “The Best Barbecue, Period!” according to the statement printed on the shirts at Killen’s Barbecue. Killen has been working in restaurants for decades. He’s spent most of those years…

Killens BBQ 09

Killen’s Barbecue

“The Best Barbecue, Period.” That’s the motto Ronnie Killen has printed on the shirts that he and his staff wear, putting a daily target on every one of their backs. Making that declaration even after a good run of success toes the line between confidence and arrogance, but Killen had them printed while still serving his pop-up customers, five months before he opened the doors of his new restaurant. It was just plain cocky. I admire…

Photograph by Jody Horton

Brisket Ain’t Cheap

Two weeks ago Cranky Frank’s Barbeque in Fredericksburg finally bit the bullet. They raised their prices for barbecue and posted a sign on the door explaining the change to their customers. Not two days later I received a question over Twitter with a photo of the sign. @bbqsnob Is this a supply-demand byproduct of the central Texas BBQ renaissance? At Cranky Frank’s, Fredericksburg. — Chris Creel (@chriscreel) March 30, 2014 Not even close. Complaining…