Butts County’s own Fresh Air Bar-B-Que was recently highlighted by the editors of Southern Living magazine as one of the best barbecue joints in the South.
Coming in at No. 6 on a list of “The South’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints — 2019” published on Southern Living’s website, writer Robert Moss noted: “Barbecue here means one thing and one thing only: chopped pork dressed in a thin, spicy red sauce.”
Moss also took note of the restaurant’s limited menu of barbecue, Brunswick stew and cole slaw. “It was founded in 1929, and they don’t mess around with brisket or ribs or even chicken,” Moss wrote.
“You can get your barbecue on a sandwich or on a plate, which comes with Brunswick stew and saltines. I recommend opting for the plate, for Fresh Air’s Brunswick stew — fine shreds of beef and corn kernels enrobed in a thick tomato-laced broth — is as good a version of the classic Georgia barbecue side as I’ve had anywhere.”
Scott’s Bar-B-Que in Hemingway, S.C., was ranked No. 1 by Southern Living.
The attention from foodies from outside of Butts County is no rarity for Fresh Air Bar-B-Que, with Southern Living’s writeup being only the latest. In 2017, Fresh Air was picked by the Georgia Department of Economic Development for having one of “100 Plates Locals Love.”
Its Deluxe Plate was picked for the honor by a panel of judges after being among more than 750 nominated via the exploregeorgia.org website.
Earlier that same year, as the Atlanta Falcons prepared to take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI, the restaurant’s Brunswick stew was among the items wagered by then-Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal in a friendly bet with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.
Fresh Air has previously been written about in Esquire magazine and was featured on “Georgia Traveler” as one of Georgia’s finest barbecue restaurants.
In 1984, Fresh Air was voted the best barbecue restaurant in the state in a mail-in poll conducted by WSB-TV.
“The state of Georgia has a unique style of barbecue that dates back more than a century,” Southern Living’s Moss wrote, “and there’s no better place to sample it than at Fresh Air Barbecue in Jackson.”