Tuesday, August 23, 2011
IT WAS A SATURDAY NIGHT SLOBBERKNOCKER AT RAY'S SMOKEHOUSE BBQ
I went with my staple 3 Meat Combo so I could try as many different meats as possible without looking like a pig or an elite, undercover, guerilla, uberBBQ critic. I chose ribs, chopped brisket, and bologna. For my two sides I chose mac & cheese and smokehouse beans. All dinners also come with what they call BBQ Bread.
I started off with the chopped brisket. It was moist, had good flavor, but there was one slight drawback. It really wasn't very warm. I could have accepted that if I had eaten it last. Chopped brisket cools fast. I understand that. It's why I chose to eat it first. I do like that they don't add sauce to their chopped brisket. I always wonder what places that add sauce to their chopped meats are trying to hide and one thing I'll definitely give Ray's is that their meat has nothing to hide. It's all flavored great!
Next up were the ribs. Ray's serves their ribs St Louis style and these are about as good as you can get in a restaurant. They had good flavor. A nice ring. Were super tender and pulled away from the bone where I bit them without falling off the bone. My tongue was asking me why I only got three of them instead of a whole slab.
I don't normally eat sauce but if I'm going to write a review I have to taste the sauce. Ray's is pretty good. It's a little thin and has a nice smoky and sweet flavor. It also had just a slight back bite but not enough to leave any lingering burn.
The mac & cheese had a great garlic flavor and is like a casserole. My wife thought the pasta was a little overcooked. She was probably right but I thought the flavor carried it. Then again I love garlic.
The beans had an intriguing flavor profile. They are really like no other beans I have ever eaten. They almost taste like a bowl of chili but at the same time they have that sweet flavor to them as well. It really was a treat on my tongue. It's almost like Ray's are the Willy Wonka of beans the way the flavors meld. The beans have a little bit of brisket in them as well.
The BBQ bread is just a piece of bread toasted and buttered on one side. It went well with the bologna but calling it BBQ bread doesn't make it any different than most other places that serve bread.
My wife had the sliced brisket sandwich. The sliced brisket looked great. My wife let me taste it and it was moist and had good flavor. It's rare that I like brisket served in Q-raunts. I generally only get it for review purposes because it's rare I find brisket that I don't have to chew and chew and chew and choke down with a gallon of water. Ok, maybe that's a little dramatic but Ray's was moist and tasty and I only chewed it a few extra times because it really was tasty and my tongue was trying to suppress my swallowing so it could taste it longer.
Darrol Ray, a former OU football player, is a super friendly man too. Both times I've been in his place I was wearing my KU colors. The first time he called me out on it and then we had about a 30 minute conversation on college football and basketball and my theory on why my beloved Jayhawks have pretty much always sucked at football. So if you eat here don't be surprised if Darrol comes by and chats you up.
Overall I think Ray's Smokehouse puts out consistently good BBQ. This trip was consistent with my first experience there and that's a positive because inconsistency is all to common in restaurant BBQ. It's not the kind of BBQ I would drive all night to get. There are no long lines of people waiting to get in but it is, in my opinion, the most solid BBQ option in the Norman area right now and ranks right up there among the best in the greater OKC Metro Area despite my chopped being just a little on the cool side tonight.
Date Visited - August 20, 2011