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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Austin
Food
Feel
Price
8.9
7.0
$10
Barbecue
Counter service

Hours
Tue–Sat 11:00am–7:00pm

Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC

www.rays-bbq.com

Southeast Austin
6301 Montsanto Dr.
(512) 385-8262
Ray’s BBQ
This friendly little shanty’s the genuine article, backed up by killer barbecue

Unless you watch “Friday Night Lights” or are a barbecue hound, you may have never heard of Ray’s—which is a shame. Many Austinites fondly respond with other answers when asked what their favorite in-town smokehouse is (curiously accompanied by the caveat “but I haven’t been there in years”), but a comprehensive study by our panel (read: crawl) revealed this best-kept secret to be superior to most of those.

Ray’s is not as hard to get to as you might expect (the cast and crew of “FNL” obviously frequent it), and once inside, the hospitable and gregarious vibe makes up for the rough-and-tumble neighborhood. This building’s been a barbecue joint for about 50 years, with the current tenants running it for 13. In winter, you can smell mesquite smoke pouring from the smoker; in warmer months, pecan and oak. Everything’s uniformly tender and smoke-flavored here, with succulent, red-ringed pork ribs being about the best around. Fatty brisket is well rendered, so that the fat flavors and moistens every bite. Elgin hot sausages are reliable, of course, and nothing needs sauce, but the home-mixed stuff is peppery, vinegary, and just sweet enough. Come on “Soulfood Thursdays” for a heaping plate of oxtails, meatloaf, pork chops, fried chicken, or whatever else is on special that night, plus two sides and cornbread. Add a can of soda and tax, and it’s just $10. No one can argue with that.

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