Houston, TX (PressExposure) November 14, 2013 -- Anyone remotely familiar with Chef Ronnie Killen knows the guy is a committed perfectionist. His icehouse-turned-fine-dining-restaurant, Killen's Steakhouse, consistently lands on top 10 best steakhouse lists nationwide. If he's invited to compete in a chef throwdown, he'll welcome the challenge and do whatever it takes to haul the trophy home. And when he says he plans to serve "the best barbecue ... period," well, we won't have long to wait and see. Killen's Barbecue, currently operating as an outdoor weekend pop up at 3613 Broadway in Pearland (on the lawn of the future barbecue joint), is slated to open in December 2013. Already garnering rave reviews, folks have been lining up each weekend since April to wait as long as two hours for a taste of Killen's smoked meats, and gladly so."
Ironically this is not Killen's first barbecue restaurant. "I opened my first restaurant, Killen's Kountry Barbecue at age 23," says Killen, who ultimately shut it down to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and London, feeding his desire to learn more about fine dining. "The barbecue I'm doing now versus what I did before is totally different - different woods, different meats, different pits for different meats," says Killen, who went on to graduate top of his class from Le Cordon Bleu and is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of food and cooking. With the first place, Killen says, "I was just cooking. Now there's a whole chemistry behind it, the rendering of the fat, the way the smoke ring develops, the greenness of the woods used to help control the temperature." His goal: to put Pearland, just south of Houston, on the map as a barbecue destination, just as he has done with his steakhouse.
According to Killen, the Killen's Barbecue experience will be very Central Texas-like, with barbecue served cafeteria-style on freezer paper and cut to order. Meats will be sold by the pound or as one-, two-, or three-meat plates, and will include Killen's much-buzzed-about award-winning beef ribs, along with smoked pork ribs, salt-and-pepper rubbed briskets, and pork and beef links, made with high quality USDA brisket and pork loin (no fillers), garlic, salt and pepper. "Our meats will be better because we're starting with better product, like Allen Brothers beef ribs and brisket that is USDA Prime," says Killen. While most barbecue joints steer clear of chicken because of its extreme sensitivity, Killen will cook it to capacity and "when it's gone, it's gone," he says. Other meats on the menu include smoked turkey, as well as pulled pork and chopped beef. Also of note are Killen's much-buzzed-about sauces - tangy, sweet or coffee - which he plans to offer for retail sale at the restaurant as well as other venues in and around the Houston area.
Alongside the meats, Killen's will serve a mustard-based potato salad, spicy pulled pork pinto beans and ramen coleslaw, all which can also be ordered by the quart, as well as housemade spicy bread-and-butter pickles, pickled jalapenos and onions. Desserts will include Killen's creamy old-fashioned banana pudding with vanilla wafers, pecan pie with a touch of Mrs. Butterworth's syrup, his legendary crÃ¨me brÃ»lÃ©e bread pudding, as well as seasonal cobblers. For beverages, Killen's will offer sodas and tea, as well as both craft and mainstream beers.
As for the building, Pearland ISD's first school cafeteria, Killen says, "the history that building has, what is offers as a barbecue joint ... it could not be more perfect. It is going to look like it did in the '50s, complete with a bell tower that will ring at noon. Metal diner-style chairs will be upholstered with red leather. Walls will be lined with photographs of the school from years past. It's going to be very cool, very special." Killen says he sees his barbecue place being even bigger than Killen's Steakhouse. "I don't want it to be the barbecue place with the best brisket or best beef rib. I want it to be the best barbecue place ... period."
Killen's Barbecue will open daily, from 11 am "'til they run out of 'cue." For more information, follow the restaurant on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/killensbbq or twitter at http://www.twitter.com/killensbbq.