You could say chef Ronnie Killen has a thing for meat. Particularly beef. The Pearland-based restaurateur, who oversees the state-of-the-art kitchen of Killen’s Steakhouse and the smokers at Killen’s BBQ, has just added Killen’s Burgers to his triumvirate of meat-lover shrines in his hometown.
He researched the subject of burgers for years and now creates his own all-natural angus-beef mix daily, combining the beef shoulder and rib meat in a 75/25 ratio of beef to flavorsome fat. Each burger starts with a hand-formed 10-ounce patty (5-ounce for the kiddos), cooked to order, the exterior beautifully seared to seal in those meaty juices, and ends with a toasted potato bun. Killen’s Burgers has taken over the location of Killen’s first steakhouse, which relocated.
The retro ’50s diner vibe was inspired by Gott’s Roadside (formerly Taylor’s Refresher in Napa Valley) with red, white and blue booths and chairs, Formica tables and a jukebox. Prices range from $7 for a hamburger to $17 for the #99 burger, named for J.J. Watt’s jersey number, which packs two huge patties totaling 20 ounces, Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon, and Wisconsin cheddar cheese.
Also on the menu are a fried chicken club sandwich ($9), 44 Farms all-beef hot dog, hand-cut fries ($2.75), half-inch-thick onion rings ($3.50), cheese curds ($4) and, for old-school burger fans, crinkle-cut fries ($2.75, regular or sweet potato). It’s a kick to see Whataburger condiments on the table, from spicy ketchup to original mustard (the owner’s favorites, we’re told).
And while there’s likely to be a line out the door, Killen’s Burger takes the edge off by serving gratis beer while patrons wait.