Blazing Ray's

There is no silence quite like that of a power outage. The white noise and blue glow of our appliances wink out, so easily ignored until they are gone, and a strange almost foreign stillness seeps through the neighborhood. There is a minute, maybe two, when the only sounds to hear are the air outside and our own breath as we heave a collective sigh and prepare for the continuing darkness. Then, the gentle whir of a backup generator here and there restores some semblance of normalcy as the constant background of electricity resumes, however muted.

We are not so advanced as some folks in our neck of the woods. We have a generator, but it isn't very well situated yet and requires some tinkering. So, when the power went out early Wednesday morning, there was no gentle whir of our backup generator - just cold, dark silence throughout our house. 

We tackled that problem when we got home from work, only to find that the battery that charges the starter was dead. Unable to find a replacement in any brick-and-mortar store, we retreated to a warm, well-lit local establishment for dinner.

Which is how we ended up at Blazing Ray's. Located on the stretch of Route 40 where Aberdeen becomes Havre de Grace, Blazing Ray's is nestled between Brewster's Ice Cream and Sweet Devotions Creperie. You'd think with shakes on one side and dessert on the other, this would be the perfect location for a burger place. You would not be alone. A couple of other folks have had the same idea, and Blazing Ray's is the third establishment to try their luck in this spot.

First was Choice Burger, a fairly generic burger joint staffed primarily by local sweat hogs who produced grilled burgers of varying quality. Dubbed "All-American Burger" by us, it was OK in a pinch, but with only a couple of said sweat hogs who could actually grill a decent burger, they remained unpredictable at best.

Then the Fast Eddie's in Aberdeen relocated. After close to a year of claiming their place at the end of Beard's Hill Road was being renovated, it was finally flattened, and they reappeared in the slot previously occupied by Choice Burger. And they also had a run of a couple of years in that spot. I suspect that the move away from the Home Depot put them at an inconvenient spot for much of their target market. We had been known to grab one of their over-stuffed pit beef sandwiches after gearing up at the Home Depot but never once visited them after they moved.

And, now the place is being operated by the same team who runs Sweet Devotions. Blazing Ray's offers a selection of burgers, pit meat, and hot dogs, plus their signature Pitwich - a sloppy joe mix made from the ends of their pit beef roasts. This last item goes fast and has not been available on either of the times we have stopped by.

On our first visit, we had a burger and a chicken breast sandwich. The burger was grilled to order and prepared with some skill. The ground meat is of good quality but heavily peppered, giving it a sharp, almost bitter taste.

The chicken breast was moist and tender and very lightly seasoned. Neither breaded nor fried, this is probably the best chicken sandwich in the area.

Our second visit was during the afore-mentioned power outage. This time, we decided to try the pit meat that we assumed was their forte. Gareth got the beef, and (based on a recommendation of my hairdresser), I got the turkey. 

Both meats were sliced to order and warmed on the grill. The beef comes in the customary choices of rare, medium, and well-done. And these guys seem to know what they are doing. Both the beef and the turkey were nicely seasoned, but not with the same blend, so each meat retained its own distinct flavor without being overpowered by it like their burger. It is tender and juicy and served without any sauce. You can add it yourself to suit your tastes.

Blazing Rays also has found an appropriate roll for their meat. They use a soft white roll that has enough backbone to support the meat. With a touch of sweet sugar, this is a nice complement to the peppery meat they are serving. Plus it doesn't go to pieces while you are eating.

Blazing Ray's also sells any cupcakes that Sweet Devotions has when they close up shop, making dinner and dessert quite convenient.