Some of the best places to eat are connected to gas stations. Ray’s BBQ Shack in Houston’s Third Ward is no exception. It is nondescript and tucked in beside a gas station. Your only clue is the amazing smell from the smokers, and the crowd spilling out of the door. This is obviously a neighborhood favorite. It’s close to the University of Houston, so I’m surprised the college crowd hasn’t found out about this gem.
I ordered a 2 meat plate with brisket and rib tips. The rib tips were as tasty as any BBQ I’ve had anywhere. Smokey bark with meat that just melted off the bone. I ate most of them without sauce. When I did try the sauce, I was impressed. It was a perfect balance of sweet and heat. Plenty of brown sugar like a southern sauce should have, but somehow it was not too sweet. The brisket was lean, but still moist and tender. It did not have as much flavor an I wanted and only showed a faint smoke ring and not much bark. It was really good with the sauce, but didn’t stand on its own like the rib tips. The beans were ranch style with lots of flavor and obviously homemade. The steak cut fries were coated with a Cajun seasoning and went well with the whole meal. I was too full for desert, but they had a mouth watering assortment of pies and banana pudding. I’ll save room next time. The total cost was $17.65, which is pricy, but considering what I got it was still a good value..