Growing up in Monticello in the 1960s, there were two Saturday activities that I always enjoyed with my dad: a trip to the library and lunch at Ray’s. After checking out our books, we’d head out to Ray’s for a burger, fries and Dr. Pepper.
A lot has changed in Monticello since then but the Ray family is still serving those 100 percent beef burgers, Monticello’s largest selection of take-out dinners and full-service catering for groups of 15 or more.
Over the years, I’ve probably had most everything on their menu but had not tried their newest menu item, smoked baby back ribs, until Fat Tuesday. Chris Ray, who is continuing grandfather C.L. and father Mark’s culinary tradition at Ray’s, served me a beautiful rack of smoked baby back ribs with a side order of Ray’s special barbecue sauce.
Despite some coaxing, Chris politely declined to reveal the recipe for the sweet, slightly tangy sauce, created by grandfather C.L. Ray nearly 50 years ago, or the ingredients of the special rib rub.
Like my favorite rib joints, Ray’s serves their ribs “dry” allowing their customers to add the sauce. While I love the sauce, Ray’s well-seasoned smoked ribs were so good that I ate most of them sans sauce.
Ray’s baby backs are prepared with a special dry rub and hickory smoked on site. You can get a half rack with two sides for $10.99 or a full rack and two sides for $19.99
I also sampled four sides, mustard potato salad, twice-baked potato salad, coleslaw and baked beans. All were good but my favorite was the baked beans.
Another Ray’s customer who also ordered ribs couldn’t get out the door with hers before she tried them. She ate one right there at the pay counter while the cashier was ringing up her purchase.
Ray’s serves ribs at least once a month, usually close to the beginning of the month. Chris will notify Seark Today when he will be smoking ribs again and we’ll provide the dates and times they’re available.