“We do it how we’ve always done it,” said Devon Nixon, the third generation co-owner of Central Texas Bar-B-Q in Pearland.

For 55 years, the restaurant has been smoking its brisket, chicken, sausages and turkey in a masonry pit with no marinades, foil wraps or sauces, Nixon said—only a dry rub and the hickory flavor from the wood-fired smoking chamber.

This style of cooking makes the meat the star of the show, Nixon said.

“We try to cook it slower with a lower temperature on the bigger meats, like pulled pork and brisket, and higher temperatures on the smaller meats, like chicken breasts,” Nixon said. “And while we do put some seasoning on it, that doesn't overpower the meat.”
The emphasis isn't on sauces or seasonings at Central Texas Bar-B-Q—it's on the meat. (Asia Armour/Community Impact)
History lessons

Nixon has worked in his family’s restaurant since he was 14 years old. First, alongside his grandmother and mom, co-owner Ruth LeClere—and today, beside his wife and three sons.

Each table top in the restaurant is decorated with Nixon’s and LeClere’s family photos, making them look like large scrapbook albums. The decor is meant to make customers feel at home, Nixon said.

“Family is everything,” Nixon said. “We try to make this feel like somebody's just going home and having dinner. It's not a place where somebody's going to come once a year. ... They come up here three times a week, and they just feel really comfortable. This is their place.”
Four generations of the same family have owned and operated the restaurant since 1969. (Asia Armour/Community Impact)
Central Texas Bar-B-Q was recently recognized by the Texas Historical Commission with a historic business award. The family has been with the restaurant since its inception, Nixon said.

Now in its fourth generation, the goal for the next 50 years is to continue the restaurant’s slow and steady growth, while continuing to adjust to the culture of the times with help from the younger members of the family, Nixon said.

Even while adapting to a changing and fast-paced world—such as offering their food through third-party delivery services, which began during the COVID-19 pandemic, and adding catering options—Nixon said he still wants people to come sit down and enjoy this classic take on Texas barbecue.

“We want when they come in to smell the smoke and get hungry, because it's not just the food,” Nixon said. “It's some old country music. It's a whole experience, and that's something we can't put in a bag and send out the back door.”