Old Clinton Bar-B-Q has been on my radar for a while. Problem was, it's in the tiny town of Gray,Ga- not near any route I regularly travel. But after a weekend trip to Lake Sinclair, we were passing through around lunch time on the way back to Florida. Problem solved.
Even if you weren't looking for it, it would be hard to miss the low-slung building with it's dirt floored porch and vintage advertising, including the proclamation "Best in Georgia".
The interior has similarly been left un-updated for the most part, and feels like a 50 year step back in time.
Chopped pork with a thin vinegar and pepper sauce is what they are known for here, although they also offer ribs, turkey and chicken. Their classic plate includes the barbecue, brunswick stew, bread and a pickle, plus slaw or potato salad if you want to add it on.
We ordered several of these, and someone got ribs too, so I got to sample both.
The pork was a nice mix of different textures of well cooked meat- well cooked in that it was moist and flavorful, though the smoke wasn't too prevalent. It was perhaps overshadowed by the vinegar in the sauce. I could also detect a bit of a reheated taste. Still, it was every bit as good as any of this style of barbecue that I have had. Piled on a slice of fresh white bread, it made a barbecue sandwich that would be hard to beat.
The ribs were properly smoked and perfectly done, though they didn't have much in the way of seasoning. Old Clinton's version of Brunswick Stew is a little on the thin side. It was good, but lacked anything that set it apart for me. Our sides of slaw and potato salad followed suit in that they were a good complement to the meal but didn't stand out on their own.
I enjoyed the experience of eating here as much or more than the food itself. It's definitely a must visit for anyone interested in the history of Georgia barbecue. I can't agree that it's the best in Georgia though. In my limited forays into the Peach State I have already been fortunate enough to eat at a few places that give them some stiff competition for that title, but having said that, they are definitely close to the top of the list.
FOOD RATING: 4 OF 5
|Wall art at Old Clinton|