Even as barbecue fans across Houston wait for Killen's BBQ to open its permanent location in Pearland, another long-standing Houston barbecue family has quietly opened a new restaurant across the street from the University of Houston. At Brooks Family BBQ, Marlon and Ros Brooks are serving up smoked meats, sweet tea and classic sides.
While the obsessed may be wondering about a connection to Trent Brooks of Texas Monthly Top 50 barbecue spot Brooks' Place in Cypress, this Brooks' roots run even deeper. Marlon's brother Harlon is the proprietor of Harlon's Bar-B-Que, which, thanks to its locations in both Hobby and George Bush Intercontinental Airports, is the only taste of Texas barbecue many visitors may experience.
It is tasty and a real boon to UH students looking for a new lunch option.
On a recent visit to Brooks Family BBQ, I found lots of promise in the barely month-old newcomer. Although the window-less building doesn't have much atmosphere, friendly service from both Marlon and Ros gives the place warmth and charm.
The three meat plate showed lots of promise, too. Brisket was a little lean for my taste, but had a good smoke and seasoning and the little fat that remained was well-rendered. Rib meat pulled away from the bone cleanly and a subtle sweetness to its seasoning. The sausage was pretty standard, but wrapping it in the included jalapeno cheese bread and adding a little sauce made for a very satisfying bite.
I'd happily order the slightly spicy ranchero beans and slightly bitter braised collard greens again, but the cole slaw and potato salad are probably good, too.
Brooks Family BBQ may not be a contender for Houston's best, but it is tasty and a real boon to UH students looking for a new lunch option (or downtown office workers who want a break from the tunnels). Hopefully there's a spot for them at the second Houston Barbecue Festival, which will be held April 6 at Reliant Park.