Just on the outskirts of Hamilton in Bouckville, New York, sits Ray Brothers BBQ, a small barbecue restaurant started just five years ago by brothers Tucker and Colin Ray. In the time since it has opened, Rays, as it is known to students of Colgate and Hamilton residents alike, has become one of the premier dining locations in the area.
Often lines of up to an hour greet visitors on weeknights, with the bar often packed full of those waiting to sink their teeth into Texas style ribs, slow-smoked wings and dirty potato salad.
With all of their meats smoked on-site between five to 14 hours, Ray Brothers have brought the authentic barbeque experience often only found in the south to upstate New York. To go along with the food, the restaurant also serves as a music venue, hosting the likes of Montgomery Gentry this past summer.
While running a restaurant like Rays—which doesn’t have the ability to make food to order and instead must plan days in advance—has significant challenges, it all paid off last week when the restaurant was named the top BBQ rib restaurant in Upstate New York by the Food Network, beating out the likes of upstate and now state-wide staple Dinosaur B-B-Q, the city’s now-closed Biscuit and Brisket which was headed by smokehouse legend Nestor Lacuente, as well as other NY favoritess such as Mighty Quinns and upscale spot Hill Country.
“We’ve already noticed a huge spike in our rib orders. This past Saturday, we’d guess about 75 percent of our customers were visiting us for the first time. We have had to put a hold on all to-go rib orders because the calls are flooding in for them and we can’t keep up!” the Brothers said in an interview with the Food Network.
“It feels so incredibly surreal to have our very own restaurant mentioned on the most popular food channel on television.”
To get your hands on Ray Brothers food and their award-winning ribs, you can stop in at any time between 4:00-9:00 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, or noon till nine Friday through Sunday (though the kitchen closes at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday).
The earlier the better though, as the restaurant does not take reservations and all meats are sold on a first come first serve basis.