Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fresh Air Bar-B-Que (7/10) - 1164 Highway 42 S, Jackson, GA 30233

Su-Th: 11a-8p
F-Sa: 11a-9p
(p) 770.775.3182

Nobody has ever been more pleased with me since the time I told Timmy Teck that I had not only heard of but was also planning to visit Fresh Air Bar-B-Que. Travelling south to Jackson (Flovilla), Georgia for Fresh Air is a Teck-family tradition and something he thought was a well kept secret. Fresh Air has no intention of keeping it a secret at all. "VOTED BEST IN GA" is prominently displayed across their signs and shirts. Whether or not this self-appointed distinguishment is either true or unique to this restaurant will have to be determined. Hook, Line, and Sinker - Berns was on his way.

Located on a lonely stretch of highway on 23 (or Highway 42) -- a route that runs parallel to I-75, connecting McDonough to Juliette (Home of the movie Fried Green Tomatoes) and Macon --the original Fresh Air Barbecue has been family-owned since the late 20's. The owners have some serious Georgia pride (University of I'm not sure) evident by the black, red, and white and Coca-Cola logos emblazoned on the sign. Timmy told me that the floors at Fresh Air are covered in sawdust. To his chagrin, the owners no longer lay down the sawdust. I suppose modern science, specifically combustibility, convinced them otherwise.

I order a pork sandwich and opt out of ordering a side of their advertised Brunswick stew. I can't afford to give up that move room in my stomach to a stew. For $2.49, I was impressed by the portion of pork that sat within my sandwich. The pork looked like it had been pulled then slightly chopped. I typically despise chopped pork, as I figure the more the meat is chopped, the greater the likelihood of it being dried out. This sandwich did not taste dry and I am pleased. But then it also lacked a solid smoke too. Best way to compensate for a lack of a delicious smoky flavor is to apply some barbecue sauce, the spicier the better.

I applied a good amount of their vinegar-based hot barbecue sauce to the sandwich and continued to consume the whole sandwich (something I try not to do on a day where I'll be frequenting a good number of places later in the afternoon). The sauce's consistency was rather thin, but had a solid peppery taste. If I went back, I'd definitely try their Brunswick stew with a half-slab of ribs. The camo shirt for sale on the wall? That will be mine as well.

This would not be my favorite barbecue in Georgia however. Perhaps heavy is the head that wears the crown and Mr. Fresh Air can't hack it anymore under all the pressure. Leaving the restaurant, I stumbled across a mailbox in front of the woods. Without a nearby driveway or a building in site, I'm curious who could be lurking deep in the shrubbery. I'm considering mailing the address to see if I get a response.

Fresh Air Barbecue Place on Urbanspoon

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Ratings and Reviews

In order to provide a consistent grading standard across each restaurant/region, I order a barbecue pork sandwich (and other meats/sides if a restaurant/region specializes in another specialty). In addition to comparing the quality of food, I will also take into consideration other intangibles (ambiance, atmosphere, service, authenticity, etc.) in my ratings as I deem appropriate.

Basically, a 10/10 represents an incredible meal, while a 6/10 score indicates a decent dining experience but a substantial number of dishes fell short of great. Lower scores indicate unpleasant experiences which I would most likely not even recommend to my worst enemy (Jonas Singer).

I reserve the right to continuously edit/update previous posts and to change rating scores as I see fit.