Ray Busch’s barbecue obsession, coupled with his Houston pride, makes Ray’s BBQ Shack the go-to joint for traditional H-Town barbecue.

Tell me about the first person who taught you about barbecue. 

Mr. River Falls was a Houston legend back in the sixties, seventies, and eighties. He taught me everything I know. In the Third Ward community he was known for his brisket, ribs, sausage, and his homemade barbecue sauce. Officers and firemen alike would frequent his home, where he had an outside patio with tables and chairs so folks could enjoy his barbecue on their lunch breaks.

Do you remember a backyard or a barbecue joint that started your barbecue obsession? 

Mr. River Falls’s backyard!

What message are you trying to share to your customers through your food? 

Our barbecue and sides represent a family tradition of love, patience, and sense of community. All it takes is a little love and a little patience to create the perfect barbecue platter.

As a professional pitmaster, are you a BBQ Freak just like the rest of us?

Absolutely obsessed with BBQ. I may have a slight problem.

When is the last time you ate someone else’s barbecue besides your own? 

Maybe two months ago. SouthernQ. Delicious.

What’s the most surprising BBQ dish you’ve eaten? 

Smoked alligator! Tasted a lot better than I thought it would.

What’s the best beverage to wash down BBQ? 

Cold beer.

What’s a tool you use in cooking that might not seem like an obvious barbecue tool? 

A two-pronged fork to check the brisket, and a pizza paddle to lift it out of the pit.

What recommendations do you have for someone new to Texas ’cue? 

Don’t add sauce! If you have to add sauce, then you’ve got a problem.

Want to connect with some of your favorite Texas pitmasters, like Ray? Join our members-only TM BBQ Club Facebook Group.