Ray's Real Pit BBQ Shack

"Smokin' Good with a Whole Lotta Soul"

This family-owned and operated restaurant has become a staple in Houston’s Third Ward and Riverside communities. Known for its hickory-smoked meats served with homemade sides and desserts all made fresh daily, the restaurant also serves burgers, salads, soups, po’boys, baked potatoes and fish and shrimp dinners in a casual and relaxed dining room. In 2011, Ray's opened its doors at 4529 Old Spanish Trail in South Houston less than a mile from the Medical Center, University of Houston (main campus) and Texas Southern University.
The BBQ destination now serves its customers just blocks from the old one- 3929 Old Spanish Trail. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and closed on Sunday. Ray’s offers drop-off and full-service catering for all occasions, providing reliable, professional service with consistently great food at a reasonable price.

Rayford S. Busch

Co-Owner and Official Pitmaster

As co-owner and “official pitmaster” of Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack, Rayford “Ray” S. Busch is the heart and soul of the barbecue destination, providing the love, passion and patience needed to run a successful restaurant. He first learned the craft and trade from local Third Ward legend Mr. River Falls, gaining great skills and knowledge about the art of barbecue. In 1985, Busch began to run and operate his own barbecue food truck outside popular nightclubs. After gaining such a large following over the years, he decided to quit his "day job" in the Harris County Sheriff's Department. In 2011, he joined forces with his longtime high school friend, Maxine Davis, to pursue his dream of opening a brick and mortar location of Ray's Real Pit BBQ Shack. At the Old Spanish Trail location, Ray works closely with his team specializing in hickory-smoked meats and homemade barbecue, Cajun and soul food dishes, sides and desserts - all made fresh daily.  Ray, a native Houstonian and a hard-working family man, has made Ray's BBQ Shack a place where customers are treated and fed like family.

Maxine Davis


As a co-owner and longtime friend of Ray, Maxine Davis is the backbone of Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack. A retired vice president of Metro Bank with more than 30 years of experience as a loan operations officer, Maxine runs the business side of the restaurant, as well as everything in between. 

Maxine’s banking background paired with her management and financial skills make her a good fit for the restaurant.  She made the restaurant venture a family affair with her son, Herb Taylor, who became a co-owner in 2013.  

Herb Taylor


As co-owner and son of Maxine, Herb Taylor is the creative mind for Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack, acting as marketing director and serving an essential role in the restaurant’s growth. 

First known as a local football talent at Hightower High School, Herb was ranked among the top 100 players in Texas, earning a full athletic scholarship to Texas Christian University. After graduating from TCU with a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations, he was drafted to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007. He spent six successful years in the NFL playing for the Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers.   Herb now happily serves as pitmaster, alongside Ray Busch.