Welcome to Eater Scenes, where an Eater photographer visits a restaurant to capture it at a certain, very specific time. Today, photographer Eric Sauseda (Groovehouse) shares these photos from Killen's Barbecue in Pearland.
It's not just that venerable meat maven and Killen's Steakhouse/Killen's Barbecue owner Ronnie Killen staged weekly barbecue pop-ups for a year before opening this Pearland brick and mortar (map at top right). No, that's not the reason he sells 2,000 to 2,500 pounds of meat per day (that's approximately 15,000 pounds per week for the non-mathletes among us). Perhaps the more likely reason that the line of patrons still snakes around the building on weekends and weekdays—and that the restaurant sells out of meat on a daily basis—are the slices of moist brisket, bone-in pork belly, huge meaty ribs, or the smoky house-made sausages.
Whatever it is, it was enough to garner rave reviews, including a four-star rating from the city's preeminent food critic Alison Cook, who coined the term "Killen's epiphanies." Now, with fellow 'cue master Patrick Feges at the pit, the place is still gaining momentum and reinventing the local barbecue scene. As Killen told Eater last year, his goal is to "overthrow [Aaron] Franklin from being the king of barbecue." Here now, check out the scene at this Eater Essential 38 notable on a Wednesday morning: