How did I not know about this place? If you’re a North Carolina barbecue fan, this might be the best barbecue you’ve ever had.
Located in the old Tastee-Freez just off Interstate 75 in Perry, Grillmaster BBQ has a logo reminiscent of the old Las Vegas sign. The place isn’t fancy, by the smoker is always loaded and the sides are freshly made. Faster than fast food and just as good as slow food, Grillmaster solves the “What’s for dinner?” dilemma when you need it most.
We ordered plates so we could try everything. My smoked chicken came with the best potato salad ever and baked beans worthy of dessert. The smoking made the chicken skin tough and chewy, but it also kept all the juices in while it cooked, making the meat very flavorful and moist. The vinegar-based sauce is optional, but I can never have enough vinegar-based sauce. The baked beans were smoky and very sweet, so I saved them for last. I could have eaten them for breakfast, too, but beans are a rough way to start your day.
The potato salad is worth a paragraph on its own. Unlike most potato salads, which are mayonnaise- and sometimes mustard-based, their potato salad uses sour cream as the binder. This makes it taste like a cold baked potato, so they put chives and smoked bacon pieces in it to complete the thought. The finished result has a pleasing texture to the mouth as well.
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Of course, we had the barbecue sandwich and the Brunswick stew. The finely chopped pork barbecue had very little sauce and was served with the requisite two slices of very white bread. If you like it served with slaw, try the Larry Walker sandwich that serves it right on top of the meat.
The Brunswick stew was very different, too, but I don’t think aficionados will like it: it had more of a corn chowder flavor and the usual pieces of pork were not visible. It tasted great -- as corn chowder.
The ribs were meaty and smoked all the way through. Ribs have never been my favorite because they never seem to have much meat on them, but these were hefty things and the customers who followed us already seemed to know how good they were. Homemade cakes are available by the slice and as a whole, too.
I know Macon already has plenty of great barbecue joints, but Grillmaster would fit in perfectly with all the new developments in downtown. If it’s not getting swamped every day where it is, then it’s not in the right location. The price is right, the service is fast, and the food couldn’t be much better. In the meantime, it’s definitely worth a drive down I-75.
Address: 1509 Sam Nunn Blvd., Perry
Hours: W11 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: Yes
Noise Level: Low
Price range: $4.67-$12.99
Rating: 3.5 stars