Killen Me Softly

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Killen's BurgersI haven’t done a food post in a minute, but sometimes a morsel so profound passes the barrier of one’s teeth that word of praise must be brought forth. Ronnie Killen is no stranger to the culinary world, having camped out at his dad’s barbecue joint, Killen Time, in Pearland as a kid, then following in his father’s footsteps with Killen’s Kountry BBQ in 1991 and a Steakhouse in 2006. But it was Killen’s Barbecue launched a couple of years ago that had people lining up to get their hands on his vittles, his beef ribs and brisket elevating him to the upper echelons of Texas barbecue alongside young Turks such as Aaron Franklin in Austin. It seems the “Queue for ‘Cue” is becoming the norm.

Killen's BurgersNo wonder that pedigree brought ravenous hordes to his most recent venture, Killen’s Burgers, also in Pearland.¬†Opening hiccups aside – and resulting apologies – the crowds still flock to this burger outpost. Back in October, after picking up some Halloween pumpkins at St. Andrews, we thought we’d stop in to see what the fuss was about. We were a touch on the early side, which helped, as the line grew steadily while we ate. Given Killen’s BBQ pedigree,¬†I heeded the Siren song of the brisket burger, a mouth-wateringly juicy patty topped with perfectly moist and smokey brisket and all the fixins, onions and pickles.

BBQ Bacon CheeseburgerLeave it to the little lady though to order a behemoth of Brobdingnagian proportions. The BBQ bacon cheeseburger would have been sizable enough, but topped with onion rings it requires a hinged jaw to consume. Removal of the onion rings made it more manageable, a light and crispy carapace protecting the sweet onions within. The fries were nothing to write home about, but those burgers. Pink and juicy inside with a savory char on the outside – on the spectrum from modest Texas roadside burgers to garish gastronomical lily-gilding, this is a culinary masterpiece without pretension.

The barbecue earns much-deserved accolades, regularly appearing on premiere “Best of” lists, but that same heritage translates to the burgers as well – if you can beat the lines. Go on a weekday or get there early.

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