Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Old Clinton Barbque House (7/10) - 4214 Gray Hwy, Gray, GA 31032

M-Th: 10a-8p
F-Sa: 10a-9p
Su: 10a-6p
(p) 478.986.3225

One of the great things about the southeast is the intensity of the numerous rivalries. Ask an Auburn football fan which teams she/he hates. You'll most likely hear LSU, Georgia, Florida but ask which team they utterly despise with all their heart... Alabama. I can assure you that the Fresh Air vs Old Clinton rivalry is full of the hatred and history as many others down South.

From a first impression, I wanted to see how measured up against one another.

Wooden building with a roof over the front deck: Tie.
Coca-Cola advertisement on the sign on the roof: Tie.
Sign that advertises barbecue and Brunswick stew: Tie.
Campaign that states the Best Barbecue in GA: Tie.
Picture of a bad-ass white guy dressed up as a Native American: Advantage Fresh-Air.
Drawing of an equally bad-ass white guy named "America's Goat Man": Advantage Old Clinton.

Understanding the repercussions of how impactful my vote would be towards which was truly the best barbecue in Georgia (which I previously stated Fresh Air was not), I went in with the true excitement that any barbecue adventurer would possess at this moment of truth.  I approached the counter and discussed with the woman an overview of my barbecue tour and what she personally recommended from the menu. "Well where have you been so far?" "Hmm, I started at OBs, then I stopped at Fresh Air, and am on my way to..." A look of fury came over her face and she tried to disguise it with a short chuckle under her breathe. I awaited her response to go something like you'd hear in My Cousin Vinny: "No good lovin' southerner would go to eat barbecue at Fresh Air." Instead, she quickly changed subjects after making it clear that thought Old Clinton was in a different league from Fresh Air. 

 She recommended the ribs and pulled pork sandwich, and even offered smaller portions than usual to accommodate my appetite on my trip. The ribs were spare ribs which had been slow smoked in hickory with the membrane still on. They had good overall flavor and had neither been overcooked nor steamed to the point where the meat effortlessly fell off the bone (which is a positive for me). The outside of the rib was a bit firm and crunchy. I bite revealed a more tender softer meat beneath the skin. The sandwich also had a chopped and pulled consistency and was very similar to what I just ate at Fresh Air. After consuming a rib and half a sandwich, I drowned them both in the sauce to see if it was for better or worse. The sauce was the difference that crowns Old Clinton better than Fresh Air. Hopefully Goat Man is pleased with that moral victory, despite that neither location are the best in the state.

I left Old Clinton in Gray, Ga towards Satterfields and Finchers Barbecue located in Macon, Georgia.

Old Clinton Bar Bq on Urbanspoon


  1. Speaking of college football, Thursday nights big matchup USC vs NC State. South Carolina is getting 4.5.

    The ACC is atrocious but Steve Spurrier is a jerkoff. Who to pick?....hmmm...Who to pick?

    Put all your money on the old ball coach.

    Stuts Lock of the Day.

  2. What a surprise - hopefully everyone bet against your lock of the day and buys you beers with the winnings until you poop your pants.

  3. Local BBQ competitor and certified MIM/MBN BBQ
    judge here. I'm not a fan of Old Clinton. Their
    Brunswick Stew is much and lacks flavor. The last
    time I ate their BBQ sammy, it was similar to the
    stew (mush, and lacked flavor) and was chopped (ala. fat hadn't rendered completely). Perhaps
    it was an off day, but I haven't been back. I dont judge BBQ by sauce; that to me is a sauce
    competition. BBQ, if dont very well, should stand
    alone, with a nice flavorful bark, should have a nice red/pink smoke ring, and just a wonderful spiced pork flavor. There are many others significantly better. Also, FYI, the owner of Fresh Air says our (my competition team) chicken is the best BBQ'd chicken he's ever had in his life. He ate a whole one (large chicken) right there, going on and on... I may sell them the recipe; dont know.
    I didnt mean to insult him, but I said (before I knew who he was) "If you like the chicken, try the pork, it's FABULOUS". Oh well... :-)

  4. Looking to try Old Clinton's this weekend. Heard good things about them. Good post.


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.