|Ray Busch and River Falls, two Houston BBQ Legends|
|Ray's BBQ Shack supports|
other local Community
Businesses in South Houston
|Herb Taylor talks with satisfied customers|
Herb Taylor, Maxine’s son and is a former NFL offensive tackle was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007 and then went on to join the Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers and the Las Vegas Locomotives. He now serves as the Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack marketing director and future “pit master in training.” Herb was my point of contact for this interview, and he told me many stories about how Ray started out with his food truck, way before it was "a thing" like it is now. All the while I enjoyed some magnificent BBQ and observed a steady stream of customers coming in even though it was what most restaurants call "off peak" hours (2 to 3 PM in the afternoon on a weekday). Not a bad thing to be doing on a nice sunny Houston afternoon, to be sure.
|Ray's Real Pit BBQ also sells burgers and Seafood, FYI|
Herb brought back a full sized platter, loaded up with nice slices of tender, moist brisket with a visible pink smoke ring, a nice pile of pork ribs, also with a visible pink smoke rink, diagonal slices of sausage made from a blend of pork and beef, and Ray's own secret seasoning mix, a side of sweet and peppery BBQ sauce and portions of Ray's potato salad and BBQ Beans. I tried the Brisket first--and brother, it was like butter! Moist, soft, tender, juicy. It had good smoke and pepper flavour, and it left a twang in your mouth so you were tasting it even when you weren't eating it, and you wanted just another bite again. Fabulous stuff, so good. Next a tried a couple of the sausage link pieces. I got a hit of fennel, red pepper, sage and some other seasonings I couldn't quite figure, but whatever they were, they were GOOD! Usually most sausage in BBQ places is the sweet, juicy pork sausage, though some places will do beef sausage--this was more savoury than the usual pork, which Herb attributed to the blend including beef, and the seasoning blend Ray uses. Ok, I'm now a fan. The pork ribs... very juicy, very tender, having a nice chewy skin that was caramelized--again thanks to the seasoning blend, the marinade, the slow process... practically melted in my mouth, fall off the bone tender. Clearly Ray, Maxine and Herb care about what they serve the customer and this is one of those solo spots that is worth the trip. Seriously, if you live in Baytown, The Woodlands, Katy, Galveston or Tomball, you need to make a trip out here to try this wonderful barbecue.
they started selling seafood a while back because a lot of customers of the Roman Catholic faith only eat Fish on Friday, so they offer fried catfish and Gulf shrimp.
The seafood proved to be so popular, they had to put it on the menu every day.
Houston BBQ Festival which will be on Sunday April 6th at Reliant Park! Ray's is on the list of Houston area all-star BBQ joints that will be participating--which also include new favourites like Killen's BBQ in Pearland and Corkscrew BBQ in the Woodlands, as well as old reliable places like Baker's Ribs on Voss and Gatlin's. During that conversation, Herb brought out a link of their house-made Spicy Boudin Sausage (they have mild also, FYI) and I tried some of it. It stated off sweet and ricy, but then the spice kicked in on the tail end, and was very good. I grew up in Baton Rouge Louisiana, so I know Boudin and Ray's would stack up well with some of the Boudin down there, let me tell you folks.
My time was up, I thanked Herb and Maxine for their time, boxed up the leftovers to take home and headed on out. I was just sorry that I didn't get a chance to speak with The Man and Pitmaster Ray Busch himself. That's okay, as I will return soon and will hopefully get the chance to get some good words to share with y'all directly from the source.
Although this visit was more social and less review, if I were filling out a report card, Ray's would get all A-pluses in every category. They're not fancy, but they've got dang good BBQ and wonderful folks who make it and serve it up.
Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack is located at:
4529 Old Spanish Trail
(at Calhoun, near UH Main and TSU Campuses, and
the Medical Center)
Houston, TX 77021
Hours of Operation
Mon - Sat 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Eat Happy, Y'all!!!