His Q Factor

Killen's Barbecue

Laurann Claridge
December 16, 2013

Ronnie Killen is taking his culinary career full circle. A budding cook at 23, he opened his first eatery, a barbecue joint in his childhood home of Pearland, but shuttered the place a while later to travel to Europe, attend Le Cordon Bleu and learn the foundations of his craft. Afterwards, armed with both knowledge and confidence, he went home again and turned a dusty little icehouse into a fine-dining steak-centered restaurant that drew foodies from Houston on the pilgrimage to what’s been called one of the top steak joints in the nation. This chef seriously knows his meat, not to mention how to develop a smoke ring in a tender brisket, rendering the fat slowly and picking the right green woods to control the cooking temperature — small wonder he’s now taking on barbecue again. Tempting us for months with weekend pop-ups, this month Killen’s Barbecue takes up permanent residence in a former ’50s-era school cafeteria in Pearland. A destination spot, this 95-seat eatery serves its Central Texas barbecue cafeteria-style and caters, too. Killen whips up beef ribs (which reputedly have a big fan in President George H.W. Bush) and brisket, both made with USDA top-drawer quality meat from Allen Brothers. Out back, he cooks smoked pork ribs, pork and beef links (his own, natch), even smoked turkey and chicken, all doused with your choice of homemade sauce in tangy, sweet and coffee varieties. Even the sides are pretty tempting, from house-cured bread-and-butter pickles and pickled jalapenos to mustard-laced potato salad, pulled pork pinto beans and ramen coleslaw. Open everyday from 11 am “till we run out of Q,” as Killen says. 3613 Broadway, 281.485.0844; facebook.com/killensbbq.