Sunday, March 18, 2012

Big Ray's Bar-B-Que

ALLEN: Big Ray's Bar-B-Que
400 E. Main
Allen, TX 75002


Open M-Thur 11-8, F-Sat 11-9

Big Ray's had a lot going for it on the surface. I got quite a few recommendations from readers to check out this independently owned joint in Allen in a former BBQ chain location. A huge sign shouted "BBQ" on the side of the building, the smell of smoke was in the air, and the meats on display looked promising on the counter. A huge selection of sides was also available.

Even the meats in this photo look great, but the brisket was tough, lacked smoke and had lots of opaque fat. With a bit more time on the smoker it could be some quality meat. The same goes for the large spare ribs in the texture category. They took some real effort to get off the bone and the fat just hadn't been rendered down. The bark was hindered by a too-heavy rub, but they too had promise. The 'pulled' pork was roughly sliced and chopped. The meat was tender enough, but it really lacked smoke, seasoning, and flavor.

The array of sides here deserve their own paragraph. I've rarely seen more types offered, so I couldn't settle for slaw and beans. Cornbread casserole was a melange of chopped onions, peppers and ranch covering some crumbled cornbread. It wasn't any better than it sounds. More interesting was an Asian style pasta salad with ramen noodles that was too sweet, but was just odd enough to keep eating. With all these options you could eat something different every day. I just wish the meat alone was enough to keep me coming back.

Rating **


Anonymous said...

You need to go back one more time and get a second opinion on this one. Going somewhere one time and giving it a two start rating is like reading two lines of a book and calling it s**t.

BBQ Snob said...

Anonymous - I saw some real potential, so I do plan to visit again. For the record, I didn't call any of it s**t. Two stars just means that it's fine if you're already in the neighborhood. If I had driven from Dallas to Allen just to eat there based on an outside source's review, I would have been disappointed.

Ben said...

I agree with the two star rating. Having moved to Allen recently, I was excited to try this BBQ place I'd seen that looked like it had some real potential. I decided to make the trip one day after installing new brakes on my car. After a long, hot day out in the sun, I thought that some good, authentic BBQ would hit the spot. I loaded up on ribs, pulled pork,and sausage before sitting down at one of the tables. Unfortunately, the food was lukewarm and lacked flavor. The sides looked like an assortment of sides you find at a Luby's and didn't taste any better. The only thing that salveged the meal was a college football game they had playing in HD. At least that helped me not think about the food.


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.