Local Spotlight

First Look at Pinkerton's Barbecue

Central Texas-style barbecue is served by the pound at Pinkerton's Barbecue.
Central Texas-style barbecue is served by the pound at Pinkerton's Barbecue. Photo by Jamie Alvear
click to enlarge Pinkerton's Barbecue, located in the Heights, has a cozy ranch feel to the restaurant. - PHOTO BY JAMIE ALVEAR
Pinkerton's Barbecue, located in the Heights, has a cozy ranch feel to the restaurant.
Photo by Jamie Alvear
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.
click to enlarge Giant beef ribs feature a peppery crust. - PHOTO BY JAMIE ALVEAR
Giant beef ribs feature a peppery crust.
Photo by Jamie Alvear
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.
click to enlarge Central Texas-style barbecue is served by the pound at Pinkerton's Barbecue. - PHOTO BY JAMIE ALVEAR
Central Texas-style barbecue is served by the pound at Pinkerton's Barbecue.
Photo by Jamie Alvear
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.
click to enlarge A spicy Bloody Mary is the perfect accompaniment to the smoked meat. - PHOTO BY JAMIE ALVEAR
A spicy Bloody Mary is the perfect accompaniment to the smoked meat.
Photo by Jamie Alvear
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.
click to enlarge Grant Pinkerton in front of his custom Klose smokers. - PHOTO BY JAMIE ALVEAR
Grant Pinkerton in front of his custom Klose smokers.
Photo by Jamie Alvear
Pinkerton's Barbecue
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.

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Jamie Alvear is a local blogger and freelance writer for the Houston Press. She enjoys writing about the vibrant food and beverage scene that the city has to offer. Jamie is a native Houstonian, avid traveler, and wine aficionado. You can typically find her around town sipping on everything from cocktails to craft beer.