Sunday, September 4, 2011
You Can't Go Home Again: Fresh Air Barbeque
They say that you can't go home again and that you should never meet your heroes. Sadly, this is the case with my recent experience with Fresh Air Barbeque in Jackson, Ga. I had a very pleasant (if hazy) childhood memory of the place, and it was high on my list of places to rediscover with this blog. But the truth, as my taste buds see it, is that Fresh Air's barbeque is merely slightly above average, not the legendary fare that a very old set of electrons in my brain said it was.
The pork sandwich was okay, with a tomato and vinegar sauce. It did have a sort of personality to it: more of a zing than a twang. The lack of pickles barred it from ever being in my top ten though.
The stew, frankly, tasted like it came out of a can. Doing my little trick of adding the house barbeque sauce to it livened it up considerably, but I shouldn't have had to do that.
One saving grace for Fresh Air lies in it's authenticity. It's been around since 1929, and has been the favorite of former governors Herman Talmadge and Joe Frank Harris. It still has the gravel parking lot and the sawdust floored outside eating area that I remember from 30+ years ago. Pictures of late owner "Toots" adorn the inside. The cook inside was encouraging folks to purchase muscadines from her son who had a makeshift stand just outside the front door.
I just wish the food was a bit better.