Aug 17, 2016
Chefs Teddy Lopez and Ronnie Killen prepare Killen's Barbecue at NRG Stadium. Photo by Eric Sandler
As Houston prepares to host Super Bowl LI in February, the Houston Texans have instituted a comprehensive set of upgrades to the fan experience at NRG Stadium. Of course, that means new food options.
Leading these upgrades will be the addition of Killen’s Barbecue at two stands in Sections 109 and 129. Unlike the brief period of time in 2014 when Killen’s served briskets at Minute Maid Park, the Texans are doing it right. The same J&R Manufacturing smokers that power chef-owner Ronnie Killen’s award-winning Pearland barbecue joint have been installed at the stadium.
“During the offseason, Ronnie went out, and we built two custom smokers to his specifications,” Aramark general manager for NRG Park Joel Nash said at a media event at NRG on Tuesday. “They were literally craned into the building during the offseason and are now sitting behind his concession stands on the main concourse. Ronnie will have the capacity to smoke over 200 briskets on the property.
Longtime Killen’s sous chef Teddy Lopez will oversee the operation, and Killen, a Texans season ticket holder, will be able to assist as necessary. The stands will serve both brisket and turkey sandwiches. Two other stands will serve the “Killen’s Famous Brisket Stak,” which consists of waffle fries topped with brisket, creamy pepper jack cheese sauce, sour cream, and green onions.
Adding Killen’s is part of a comprehensive series of NRG upgrades. Underbelly chef-owner Chris Shepherd has added to his presence on the suite and club levels with a new Korean Sloppy Joe. To keep things fresh for season ticket holders, the James Beard Award winner will roll out a new item for every regular season home game.
In addition, Berryhill Baja Grill consulting chef Alvin Schultz showed off two of his creations that will be available to football fans: a Korean fried chicken taco and a cheesy shrimp and grits taco. Fort Worth “Cowboy Chef” Grady Spears now has added concession stands in the Upper Concourse that will serve carved meat sandwiches.
Even the hot dogs will be better, thanks to a new partnership with Holmes Smokehouse. The Texas-owned grocery store favorite will serve varieties which include regular, jalapeno cheese, and a half-pound foot-long made with brisket.
Fans will be able to post pictures of all the new dishes thanks to a ramped up WiFi system that will allow for up to 50,000 connections. No worries about power drain as the stadium is adding a dozen Redbox-style, Reliant-branded charging stations that will allow fans to rent portable chargers.
“We go to a lot of stadiums throughout the country to see what’s new and what’s latest . . . we put all those things into this experience,” Texans president Jamey Rootes said. Later, he added “these enhancements are a reflection of the passion and commitment we have to provide the finest fan experience for our great Texans fans and the best game experience in the National Football League.”
Source: CultureMap Houston
Like all J&R ovens, this large capacity pit is wood-fired. However, it comes equipped with an electric oven heating element as a standard feature. This feature reduces wood consumption and allows the chef to craft the flavor of the meat to his exact preference.
By using safe, clean electrical energy to assist the wood fire, this oven can produce authentic barbecue without the “gassy taste” associated with competitors’ gas-and-wood fired ovens. Up to 600 pounds per load of briskets, pork butts, tri-tips can be cooked at one time. Even cooking is also assured with the unique, high velocity convection air system. No rotation of the meat is required.
Fire starting is easy with the built in stack fan providing draft and the combustion air fan providing oxygen. However, live coals last over 72 hours in the refractory lined firebox so most customers start a fire from scratch only once. After that, they just scoop out some ashes daily and add fresh wood. The coals and the pit do the rest to ignite the newly added wood. Loading and unloading are easy with the large doors and slide out racks. After loading, just set the thermostat and relax. The air control system will precisely maintain your selected temperature while you sleep.
Safe, clean electrical energy reduces wood consumption if you choose, thereby eliminating the hazard, foul taste, and odor of gas with its sulfurous components (mercaptans).
The Smoke-Master is incredibly efficient due to the unique temperature control design and heavy insulation. It cooks up to 600 pounds of meat yet requires less than 17 square feet of floor space!
Just turn the evacuation switch and our damper and fan system goes into action to induce fresh air into the pit and exhaust the smoke out through the stack and not into your kitchen.
Set the cooking time and the initial cooking temperature. After the timer counts down, the pit temperature automatically resets to 145 degrees (holding temperature).
Removable racks and rack slides. The oven floor slopes to a large drain reservoir, which can be easily drained through a remote valve. Stainless steel interior.
Can be vented directly with six inch Class A stack or placed under a Type I exhaust hood. Follow all local codes.
|250||47.5"W X 51.25"D X 77.5"H||7-32" X 39"||208V/18.3A|
|600 LBS||161 SLABS||70 SLABS*||310 HALVES|
*2.5 and down