1870 Mag

There Ain’t Enough Room In This Town For Me And BBQ

A review of Red Door BBQ, the newest barbeque on the block, against its competitors.

Y’all. Real talk. If there’s anything that will convince you to get a journalism degree, please let it be the option to eat food and review it and get paid for it. For this article, I wanted to check out a new BBQ spot that opened on Lane Ave, just north of the BuckeyeLink offices. However, because I have no chill and because it is summer, I thought it would be a good idea to compare some of the other BBQ spots that can be found in Columbus.

City Barbeque | 2111 W Henderson Rd

A lengthy bus ride or 10 minute Uber away from campus, nestled in the middle of W Henderson is City Barbeque. This chain of restaurants can be mainly found in the midwest, Georgia and North Carolina. Of course, as a chain, this restaurant offers more items than the other two spots I visited. They offer sandwiches, salads, platters, and many more. I did the Pick Two Meats option with brisket and ribs as my main meats. On the side, I went with hush puppies and a slice of cornbread. As you put your order in, the kitchen staff already appears busy either cutting meat or preparing sides. Provided it’s not a weekend, the food comes out incredibly fast. Also, can you believe this place has like 10 different kinds of sauces?! The meat was perfectly cooked, my ribs fell right off the bone. The brisket was tender and moist. And the sides, oh my, the sides. The cornbread was soft and warm and sweet and delicious. The hush puppies were tender and crunchy. I lathered them in honey before popping them in my mouth. It was amazing.

 Ray Ray’s Hog Pit | 2619 N High St

Ray Ray’s is an experience. I bet you $20 that if you’re walking around Old North, you’ll smell Ray Ray’s before you even see it. Nestled in a small lot behind Ace of Cups, this food truck holds its own against the other guys on this list. Never once have I visited Ray Ray’s and been disappointed, which is why it was visited by Guy Fieri for Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. Though not as comprehensive as City Barbeque’s menu, Ray Ray’s sauces and rubs come to compete. I ordered a beef brisket sandwich with Ray Ray’s Sweet BBQ and a side of scratch mac-and-cheese. The sandwich sits heavy in your hand. As I opened it, the wonderful smell of barbecue hit me hard. The herby slices of bread that the meat was laid in kicked the sandwich up a notch. The meat disappeared as soon as it hit my mouth. It was tender and flavorful. The mac and cheese was globby, cheesy and delicious. Ray Ray’s is definitely an established institution in the Old North; it’s good for lunch, dinner or when you need something after you’ve had a couple of rounds at Ace of Cups or Ledo’s Tavern. 

Red Door BBQ | 264B W Lane Avenue

Red Door BBQ opened in the last days of the semester. It is very much a blink and you miss it spot. The “restaurant” is just a window through which you put in your order, kind of like a drive thru you walk to… a walkthrough! Ha! See what I did there? Anyone? Okay. As their motto states, “When it’s gone, it’s gone!” I was lucky enough to go at a time where only the ribs and greens were out, so most of the menu was available. I ordered two platters. One with burnt ends, baked
beans and mac-and-cheese. The other, with pulled pork, potato salad
and coleslaw. 

I’ll start this review with the sides. The potato salad is the only side not made in-house and it’s arguably noticeable, as every item on the menu is almost curated. Every bite has the perfect balance of flavors, down to the coleslaw. The baked mac and cheese was perfect. It was creamy and cheesy and it disappeared in your mouth. The baked beans were sweet and spicy, a little bit on the runny side but perfect for dipping a piece of bread in. And the slaw… Can we take a minute to talk about coleslaw? Not once in my life have I been a coleslaw person. Red Door BBQ officially changed that. The slaw had no hint of vinegar. It was sweet and tangy. A crunchy, refreshing side to all the flavorful meat. I’m a changed woman. But before I start writing a haiku about the slaw, let’s switch gears and talk about the meat.

The burnt ends are apparently the most popular item in the Red Door menu, so of course I ordered some. Red Door offers three options of BBQ sauce: sweet, spicy, or both. I paired the ends with some of the sweet BBQ sauce and, I have to tell you, it was probably the best decision I made. The pulled pork was good, but the burnt ends blew me out of the water. They were cooked just right, with the slightest of pink tinges. The fat and the char gave the flavor and extra kick. Plus, it’s just something you won’t find at other BBQ places. But you’ll have to try them and judge for yourself.  •

Photo by Collins Laatsch.

Nicole Pizarro

Nicole Pizarro


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