Over text, the chef sounds relatively pleased by his first weekend of service, during which he supervised the cooking and continued to train the staff. "I think I got three hours of sleep this past weekend," he writes.
Sleepless days notwithstanding, one thing is for sure: the restaurant will produce plenty of food. Killen has installed two Oyler rotisserie smokers and two traditional offset pits from Cen-Tex Smokers to power the restaurant. That should be enough cooking capacity for 150 briskets, 90 racks of pork ribs, and the other meats Killen's Barbecue serves, including turkey, pulled pork, and housemade sausage. Signature sides like creamed corn, mac and cheese, and cole slaw are also available.
The restaurant needs some finishing touches inside to be fully complete from a design perspective, but photos on social media show that it replicates the look of the Pearland original.
"My goal is for the barbecue here to be better than in Pearland," Killen adds. That would be quite an accomplishment, considering the original location has been ranked by Texas Monthly as one of the state's 50 best barbecue joints.
For now, The Woodlands location is open for dine-in and to-go from 11 am until sold out. Drive-thru service will follow in the coming weeks.
In total, Killen now operates eight restaurants: two locations of Killen's Steakhouse in Pearland and The Woodlands; two locations of Killen's Barbecue; Tex-Mex restaurant Killen's TMX; Killen's Burgers; Killen's STQ, a steakhouse-barbecue hybrid in Briargrove; and Killen's, the comfort food restaurant he opened off Washington Avenue this summer.