Street food: Ray Ray’s at Ace of Cups

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From the May 17, 2012 edition

You know how sometimes two things come together and they make such a perfect pair you can’t remember them ever NOT being together? Yeah, that’s how it is with Ray Ray’s Hog Pit and Ace of Cups bar.

The barbecue food truck, a veteran of the city’s street-eats scene, recently moved a few blocks south from its original perch at the corner of High and Pacemont to the roomy parking lot outside Ace of Cups, a laid-back hangout spot with a Little Brothers-esque music lineup.

Thanks in part to a shared devil-may-care vibe, these two businesses complement each other perfectly. Ace of Cups doesn’t have a full kitchen, so until now they could only offer an abbreviated menu of bar snacks. And from its former perch in the Super Food Mart parking lot, Ray Ray’s didn’t have much in the way of seating or parking.

Now you can dig in to your barbecue from a stool at the bar with a craft beer in hand to wash it down.

Here’s a quick guide to what to order and what to pair it with:

Grass-fed Beef Brisket Sandwich: Offered on Sundays, this standout sandwich is piled with slow-smoked, thick-sliced meat and served with a housemade Dogfish Head Ale sauce that’s sweet and hoppy. Choose a similarly hoppy beer to accompany, like a Bell’s Two Hearted.

Pulled Pork Sandwich: A mound of smoky pork is slathered in sweet barbecue sauce and served on an Auddino’s bun. Pair it with a smooth, caramel-y Barley’s Scottish Ale.

Smoked Ribs: The best ribs in town are meaty, incredibly tender and slathered in smoky-sweet barbecue sauce. This is straightforward barbecue that demands a straightforward beer — try a Rogue Dead Guy, a malty German maibock.

Burnt Ends: A delicacy of the barbecue world, this occasional special consists of charred, crunchy scraps of brisket with an intense smoky flavor. They can stand up to a full-bodied beer like Stone’s Arrogant Bastard, an American strong ale with a powerful punch.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cheesecake: Forget the banana pudding. Ray Ray’s epic new dessert special fits right in with the rest of the meaty lineup. Order something refreshing to go with it, like a lemonade spiked with one of the bar’s house-infused vodkas.