Houston Matters

Chef Series: Ronnie Killen on the Drive for the Best BBQ

Chef and restaurateur Ronnie Killen grew up in Pearland. So it was fitting that his first – and subsequent – restaurants should also be located there. He travelled the world studying at Le Cordon Bleu in both Paris and London and nearly became a chef at the White House. But he always knew he wanted […]

Killen's Barbecue (Photo: Edel Howlin, Houston Public Media)Chef and restaurateur Ronnie Killen grew up in Pearland. So it was fitting that his first – and subsequent – restaurants should also be located there. He travelled the world studying at Le Cordon Bleu in both Paris and London and nearly became a chef at the White House. But he always knew he wanted to return to Texas.

After working as an executive chef in Austin, he finally made it back to Pearland to open up Killen’s Steakhouse in 2006. Then, in 2014, he opened Killen’s Barbecue in a building that – fittingly – once housed a school cafeteria across the street from where he went to high school. In just under two years, the restaurant’s frequently named one of the top places for barbecue in the state – if not the country.

Houston Matters producer Edel Howlin sat down with Killen at the restaurant to find out what drives him and why Pearland has such a hold on him.

MORE: The Full Menu: Greater Houston’s Best BBQ (Houston Matters, June 3, 2015)

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Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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