He had been participating in BBQ cookoffs as a hobby since 1982, so he decided to take a leap and try to turn his hobby into a career. In 2000 Ray moved to Lakeland, Florida and began his career as a BBQ man. Ray has judged the Jack Daniel’s World Championship BBQ Cookoff and The Best of The West Rib Cookoff in Reno. Ray has written five cookbooks and is currently working on a sixth. His most recent book, Ribs, Chops, Steaks and Wings, was published in spring 2010 by Chronicle Books.