Ray Ray’s Hog Pit has been a staple of the Columbus dining scene for a long time, growing steadily from their first truck in Clintonville (which started where Los Agavez sits now, before moving to Ace of Cups) to a smaller stand-alone in Westerville, to trucks parked permanently at Land-Grant and Nocterra breweries. And now they’ve taken their next big step: opening a Southern-style “meat and three” restaurant just off the highway in Granville.
The restaurant sits just off the Granville exit on Route 37, east-northeast of Columbus, so there’s easy access from all directions. The space, I’m sure, will quickly become a destination. It’s got plenty of parking and tons out outdoor seating. Just look for the sculpture of Malcom (by local artist Andrew Lundberg) watching out front.
The meat and three concept is just what it sounds like: choose your meat, then choose three sides. When you walk in through the front doors, you’ll wind your way up the aisles to the ordering counter.
If you’re ordering the meat and three, you’ll get to watch them slice your brisket, smoked turkey, pork belly, lengua – then plate it all up. Then you simply work your way down the line and choose your three sides. You’ll find a lot of the familiar Ray Ray’s tastes, but they’ve made some upgrades. The collard greens, mac and cheese are all solid as ever. The new ham beans, cheddar cornbread, German potato salad, and more – all terrific additions.
The only confusing bit about ordering is if you’re choosing a sandwich. They offer classics like jerk chicken and brisket, but now there are pork belly cubano, smoked lengua, and smoked waygu dog options as well. But if you’re ordering sandwiches, you have to bypass the meat and three counter and go straight to the cashier. A little confusing on our first visit, and might slow things up if your group is ordering both sandwiches and platters.
The main dining room is brightly lit, with a large communal table, deep booths, and counters spread around the space. There are also picnic tables lining the side and back of the building.
Another bonus of the sit-down restaurant: drinks! They’ve got sweet tea and lemonade, a collection of sodas, wines, and Ohio beers from Nocterra, Jackie O’s, Homestead, DankHouse, and others.
Once you’ve gathered up your plate or platter, you’re in for a feast. We tried a little bit of everything.
And it’s safe to say that Ray Ray’s is as good as ever. The brisket practically melts in your mouth. The collards and ham beans are rich and smoky, the mac and cheese sprinkled with crushed pork rinds, the cornbread drizzled with honey. I enjoyed the smoked turkey, although it was a touch dry. But the sandwiches use terrific Matija Breads.
One of the many great new additions is the hot guts Scotch eggs. Hot guts are a type of spicy Texas sausage; Ray Ray’s wraps it around an egg to create a hearty side that could almost count as a meal.
Jamie Anderson – aka Ray Ray – really wanted us to try the reworked pork ribs with the dry rub. They’re wonderfully tender and well-seasoned. Certainly order some while you’re at the meat and three.
The new location rounds out the upgraded menu with a terrific selection of desserts, like churros, chocolate pie, and (our favorite) peach cobbler.
Behind the building you’ll find rows of picnic tables and a collection of murals painted by local artists. All a great backdrop for enjoying barbecue!
If you want to visit:
Disclaimer: our first visit to the Meat + Three was part of an invited media preview.
All photos and opinions are our own.