Herb Taylor, co-owner of Ray's Real BBQ Shack in Houston. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/fotobia.com)

At TCU in Fort Worth, offensive tackle Herb Taylor started every game during his four-year college football career.

He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007 and spent time with four other NFL teams over six years.

Herb Taylor as a Kansas City Chief.

Now out of football, Taylor is a co-owner and self described "pit master in training" at Ray's Real Pit BBQ Shack in Houston. The other co-owners are Ray Busch and Maxine Davis, Taylor's mother, who were't there when we stopped.

Taylor said he started cooking for his teammates and friends while he was at TCU. Now, he's learning from Ray, who began serving barbecue out of a food truck nearly 30 years ago.

On day 2 of the Posse's recent barbecue tour of the Houston area, we hit Ray's Shack right after Killen's Barbecue in Pearland, a very tough act to follow.

Still, we liked Ray's sausage and pork ribs, although we thought the brisket tended toward roast beef and the chicken was dry.

The rub on the ribs reminded some of us of the Baby Back Shak in Dallas. Shak ribs are among our favorites.

Ray's four meat plate with boudin. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves)

Like the Shak, Ray's also serves a tasty boudin.

"To me, this place is better than Gatlin's or Virgie's any time I've been there," Posse regular Jim Rossman said, referring to two Houston joints that made Texas Monthly's Top 50 list.

We had visited Virgie's the previous day and were disappointed.

Taylor's jersey -- #72 -- from his time with Green Bay Packers, hangs on one wall. At 6-4, he looks considerably lighter than his listed NFL playing weight of about 300 pounds.

While he may still be a smoked meat apprentice, he shares the same attitude about food as many veteran pit masters we have met.

"No way I can eat barbecue all the time," Taylor said.

Ray's Real Pit BBQ Shack, 4529 Old Spanish Trail, Houston, 713-748-4227. Open Mon-Sat 11am-8pm. Website: http://www.raysbbqshack.com

Customers wait in line at Ray's Real Pit BBQ Shack. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/fotobia.com)


Herb Taylor's jersey from the Packers hangs in the dining room of Ray's. (Photo ©Daniel Goncalves/fotobia.com)


Ray's BBQ Shack is located next to a convenience store & gas station in south Houston. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)


10 years ago

Did you order the loose cut brisket? That's what they call fatty brisket at Ray's. If you just order brisket you'll get unimpressive lean slices with the fat cut off. The loose cut brisket has never disappointed whenever I've ordered it

Robin Y Watson

4 years ago

Herb I was in there today around 12ish and placed 3 separate orders, the specific order in question was a turkey dinner I asked for double dirty rice and I received some red looking rice that has something crunchy in it and baked beans. This is not what I ordered and I hope you will be able to make this right. Thank you and have a happy 4th.

Austin Top 5 plus Snow's

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