Grant Pinkerton entered the barbecue world as a serious competitor with his Central Texas-style barbecue back in 2015. He gave barbecue lovers a sneak peek at his craft this past year at the Houston Barbecue Festival, where he wowed attendees with his smoked alligator. He also made a great showing at the inaugural Woodlands BBQ Festival. Faithful followers of Pinkerton’s have been waiting anxiously for the arrival of his brick-and-mortar restaurant. The wait is finally over and Pinkerton’s Barbecue has found a home in the Heights at 1504 Airline, in the former site of Capellini Italian Cuisine.
The building has a cozy, rustic cabin feel with family-style picnic seating both inside and outside. There’s a full bar that serves cocktails, beer, wine and lots of good local bourbon and whiskey. Two custom David Klose smokers sit in a screened porch behind the building, ready to be filled with brisket, ribs and chicken. Just up the stairs from those smokers is an apartment where Grant Pinkerton lives, which definitely gives a new meaning to bringing your work home with you.
The menu at Pinkerton’s is written on butcher paper posted just inside the front doors. Chopped beef and pulled pork sandwiches are available for $10, but the best way to fully enjoy your experience is to order a little bit of everything by the pound. Brisket, beef ribs, pulled pork, pork ribs and sausage are all sold by the pound. Pinkerton’s uses only prime meat, so brisket runs $20 a pound and an average-size beef rib will cost you about $35. Half chickens, while they last, are $10 each.
The thick slices of brisket are fork-tender and melt in your mouth. A pleasant, charred peppery crust covers the luscious beefy goodness of the giant beef rib. The jalapeño sausage, with its subtle bite, provides a nice contrast to the beef. Although good barbecue tends not to need a sauce, Pinkerton’s unique barbecue sauce has just the right amount of tanginess to help cut through the richness of the meat.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Sides come in a personal serving for $3.50 or a larger, shareable size for $6 with a choice of cole slaw, country potato salad, jalapeño cheese rice and South Texas beans. Duck and sausage jambalaya is also available for $10. If you happen to still have room for dessert, options by the slice include cobbler, banana cake and Texas chocolate sheet cake.
Pinkerton’s is open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Most savvy barbecue connoisseurs know that barbecue joints run out of food well before dinnertime. Pinkerton is working hard to ensure that diners get a good choice of options for lunch and dinner. However, diners are able to call ahead and reserve meat by the pound for late-night dining.
1504 Airline, 713-802-2000, pinkertonsbarbecue.com.
Hours: Closed Monday and Tuesday. Open Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.