Updated: Mar 7
The Trailheads army (Guy, George, Steve, Roy, Brad, and Patrick) assembled southwest of Atlanta, past Six Flags, and near Douglasville, for an invigorating hike along the Boundary Waters Chattahoochee Loop. It was a fine trail but wet and sloppy in spots because Mother Nature had been crying earlier in the week. Who made her cry? Tell Daddy.
We had no Civil War history to learn on this hike. There were no battle sites along the trail and no kooky religious offerings of fruits and fine chocolates to some almighty hocus-pocus power. Nope. This hike went past disc golf tee boxes. We suspect neither Union nor Confederate troops played the sport, so maybe that’s why there was no fighting on this soil.
The dirty river flowed by us, and Fio and Elvis ventured down a muddy hill for a refreshing bath. Elvis swam a little too far from shore and felt the strong current carry him away. He panicked and swam back ashore with an impressive doggie paddle stroke. We were hoping for a butterfly stroke, but still, Trailheads judges awarded Elvis all 10s.
We hiked 5.7 miles and discussed politics, war, comedy, literature, Texas, barbecue, the incredible life lessons learned from watching “The Three Stooges,” and the concept of uncertainty in quantum physics based on particle-wave duality. You know, the usual stuff.
Ravaged with hunger, we saddled up our vehicles and headed to the barbecue spot Brad picked: The Mustard Seed BBQ in Fairburn. The restaurant is at the end of an innocuous retail plaza. Its history began in Miami, Florida, in 2005 when Bertram McCray, Jr. and his cousin started barbecuing ribs three times a week and selling the racks as fast as they came out of the smoker.
They perfected their art, added chicken and other meats to their repertoire, developed their signature mustard sauce, and now 17 years later, they have barbecue places in Miami, Fairburn, and on Concourse D of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Trailheads were eager to sample what the buzz was all about.
Unfortunately, we arrived on the late side of lunch, and all the pulled pork was gone. That little piggie went home! No pulled pork, what would we do? We asked our counter person what she recommended, and she said the chicken was good. Steve, Roy, George, and Patrick went for the bird, and Guy and Brad ordered racks of ribs.
They chose well–– “oohing and aahing” about their incredible meaty ribs as we ate our chicken. Don’t get us wrong; the chicken was delicious. It was tender, with a mellow smokey flavor, but chicken can only go so far as a culinary star. The ribs were the ticket here, and we weren’t on that ride.
We enjoyed our poultry as we secretly lusted for our neighbors’ plates stacked high with baby backs. You get a lot. Even as he devoured the last rib Brad was declaring how he could not possibly finish all of this.
The sides were okay. The fried okra was crispy brown and tasty, the portion size enough to feed a marching band. We got two so we had the band and the spirit team covered. The collard greens, mac ‘n cheese, and green beans all ticked the box for satisfying sides, but none were exceptional. The mustard sauce was a big hit with us. The mellow yellow concoction has a nice savory flavor that pairs nicely with smoky meat. We caught Guy taking sips between bites for maximum mustard.
We liked The Mustard Seed and wished we could have sampled the pulled pork and vowed we would next time. Until then, drop by this Fairburn favorite and let us know what we’re missing.
Rating: Four Ribs*
The Mustard Seed BBQ
6000 Lynmark Way
Suite 101 and 102
Fairburn, GA 30213
*About Our Barbecue Rating System
Trailheads do not claim to be food experts, epicureans, or sophisticated palettes. We are hungry hikers who attack a selected barbecue venue and ravage our way through whatever smoked fare and fixings they’re dishing.
Our reviews feature what we believe are the highlights of the menu we sampled. So our intent is not to trash talk the saintly folks who tend to smoldering smokers on hot, humid summer days. They are sacrificing themselves in the noble art of smoking meats and feeding the drooling masses. Many are independent entrepreneurs who are the backbone of this humming American economy.
Now that you know our standards, you may wonder why every barbecue place gets a four ribs rating. The answer is easy: we have acclaimed designers in our group, and they think the ribs graphic looks cool.
Who are we to argue? Enjoy.