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.
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.