Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Frito Pie

There are a few things you should know about Texas. First, everything is bigger in Texas. Second, the barbecue. And third but not least, turns out one of my favorite snacks is from Texas, Fritos Corn Chips. Fritos were born in the 1930's in San Antonio, TX. I can only imagine that not too much later we got the best way to eat a Frito known to mankind, the Frito Pie.

Some of you may be familiar with the version of Frito Pie that involves a small bag of Fritos, a scoop of chili and a handful of cheese. That is the version I got when I ordered it at Fox Brothers BBQ in Atlanta. Not bad at all.

Fox Brother's BBQ Frito Pie

I recently had the chance to try a local Texas version of this wonderful dish. I was having lunch at a place called Kelley's Country Cookin'. That bit right there should tell you all you need to know about Kelley's. There's a section on the menu called J.W.'s Chili Favorites. Two things stood out: the Texas Special for the Real Texan (how could a person NOT order that?) and Kelley's Chili Pie. What follows may not be pretty, may seem way over the top and unhealthful in the extreme. Yes, yes, it's all of those things but, oh my is it good. So, so good, and awful and wonderful. A plate full of guilt and hard arteries and awesomeness.

Kelley's Chili Pie

Texas Special for the Real Texan

A big plate of delicious

In case I haven't made it clear, I love this stuff. Really. It's a guilty pleasure I just can't quit. So, while I can't in good conscience tell you to, you know, go out and try it, let me state for the record that if you do, IF you do, you won't be sorry. At least not right away.

Happy dining!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Killen's Barbecue - Pearland, Texas

There's a big stir happening in the local barbecue scene. Ronnie Killen is/was most  known for his fine dining steakhouse. (A place that is on our short list to visit) A while back Mr. Killen started offering barbecue at his steakhouse. He ran it as a pop-up and served on the weekends. Word spread, like it does when good food is in the mix, and before you know it Killen's Barbecue was underway. To appease the BBQ hoards Ronnie started serving BBQ at the site of the new restaurant on weekends. People came from all over, lines formed, barbecue was served.

Finally the actual restaurant was opened. People came from all over, the lines were long. 

A little bit ago the Dining Companion, the 4 Pound Wonder and I headed to Pearland to see what all the fuss was about. We got in line about 10:30am and were served at about noon give or take. On my way to the counter I had the chance to check the place out.

Dining room awaiting the hungry masses
There's also an outdoor dining area. Or the start of one at least. I hope it gets a nice cover before the south Texas summer rolls in.

As I headed toward the counter I passed the menu board (scroll down for menu).
(Sorry no pic, it was hand written on a piece of brown butcher paper and showed meats and sides for the day)

Ronnie Killen carving brisket

Brisket ready for the lunch crowds
I made my way to the counter and placed our order. We decided on the brisket, beef rib, pork ribs, and sausage. No sides. I'm sure the sides are fine but given our druthers we usually just stick with the main event, the barbecue.

That's a serious beef rib
Sausage, Brisket, Pork Rib, Beef Rib (L-R)

The food was good. The brisket was moist and tender, well smoked. The sausage was great, it was my favorite item. The beef rib, while good, brought home to me once again that I am just not a fan. If you like a "pot roast" like flavor the beef rib is for you. It is melt in your mouth tender and has that certain something that brings to mind a Sunday roast. The pork ribs had good flavor but were just a shade off of being perfectly cooked. A little too much chew and not quite coming off the bone.

Barbecue sauce is available but you really won't need it. All I remember about the sauces are that one is a bit sweet, one is a bit spicy and one tastes like coffee.

If you're in the Houston area and don't want to, or can't, make the 3 hour plus drive to Austin, by all means, give this place a try. You'll have good barbecue and the fun(!) and excitement of waiting on line with several other BBQ enthusiast. The food is good, maybe on its way to being great, but, for my money, if you want to experience the best barbecue the state has to offer, Austin is still the place to be. 

Happy dining!