Ray Ray’s smokehouse starts the new year

By DAWN HANKINS – [email protected]

Ray Ray’s Smokehouse was one of several local barbecue teams helping local firefighter Aldo Gonzalez with a recent Christmas Eve fundraiser.

Owners Raymond and Melissa Meadows are part of their local community and have volunteered in such businesses since arriving 16 years ago.

Active in the community

Raymond and Melissa from Ray Ray moved to Bedford County as a teenager with their respective families and moved to the community of Flat Creek in 2005.

The Meadows family now includes three daughters, Hailey, 16; Megan, 13; and Shelby, 11.

The idea of ​​the smokehouse

What started as a hobby for Raymond turned into a way of life for his family in 2020. Since then, they have already experienced how stressful the food business can be at times. Yet there is no denying that they are doing something right; they usually sell food.

“We’re excited about what the future holds,” says Melissa. She adds what it was like after a Father’s Day when the inspiration for the barbecue food truck came to fruition. Raymond had requested and received a pellet smoker as a gift.

After experimenting with it, he realized that he really liked this type of cooking. The Meadows then decided to open a catering trailer, establishing it in 2020, mainly because they found out how much lower the upfront costs were.

Melissa explains in hindsight how they both work full time, so they spend several late evenings a week putting together the list of supplies, checking trailers, cleaning up, and getting ready for the weekend. Ray Ray’s Smokehouse truck typically runs every Saturday.

Although often parked in the Rite Aid parking lot in Shelbyville, Melissa says they don’t have a “permanent spot,” so they’re asking people to check their Facebook page for Saturday stops.

“We love to serve our hometown, so we try to move to Shelbyville at least twice a month.”

The shiny silver truck, recognizable by its beef head logo, specializes in pork, brisket, ribs, loaded nachos, grilled barbecue cheese sandwiches and tacos.

As a novelty, the team offered a ‘Thanksgiving Meal’ this year, featuring Ray’s smoked turkey and / or ham as well as homemade sides from personalized recipes from Melissa’s late father, Fred Denton. .

The truck also provided a Christmas menu – a complete one with smoked pork loin, cinnamon apples and banana pudding. Melissa says the smokehouse menu consists of many of the same recipes their families have traditionally enjoyed together.

Celebrate a new year

2021 has been a busy year for the Meadows. They admit that much of their time has been learning the art of smoker barbecue, which can be as varied as you like, from smoky to spicy. They must be doing something right because their truck has really caught the interest of the community.

“This was an absolutely new business and neither of us have ever owned or even worked in the food industry,” explains Raymond. “We had a lot to read and study before we started. We love to try new recipes and try so many different flavors before getting our signature flavor that we were both 100% delighted with. We got great feedback, but of course we made a few mistakes along the way. ”

Raymond says he’s mostly a “self-taught cook,” but learned a few things from his late father, Robby Scroggins. But the technique of smoking, well, that credit goes to Raymond. This distinct barbecue flavor is also found in the available whole meats, such as bologna and ham.

“We always offer pre-orders for large orders of meat and [the] the catering menu is based on the needs of the customers on an individual basis.

Their food truck keeps them awake late at night and tries out recipes. Some, of course, have been more tried and true to the local taste buds than others.

As for the future of their barbecue kitchen, well, that’s uncertain.

“We talked about spending more time on weekday evenings, but we didn’t decide anything long-term,” advises Melissa. “We really love to feed Shelbyville and the surrounding area and we love to bring a little food joy to a world of so many uncertainties. “

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