Review: Bourbon Bacon Sandwiches from Arby’s

Arby’s has been on an impressive roll lately.  Even though they keep coming out with sandwiches over the five dollar mark, they’ve successfully convinced me that a quality fast food item can be worth the extra money.  These sandwiches are no slouches either as they are usually heavily stacked with nice cuts of meat.  The latest from Arby’s… Bourbon Bacon Sandwiches, and the selection process for this trio was too hard so I decided to sample all three.Bourbon Bacon ArbysShelling out nearly twenty bucks ($17.46 after tax) for three fast food sandwiches didn’t hurt too bad considering there are strong positives to take away from each one.  I’ve experienced the waste of Papa John’s Frito Chili Pizza in recent years so I think that adequately prepared me for future risky purchases.

Bourbon Bacon Sandwich ArbysEach of the Bourbon Bacon Sandwiches has just one variable… the meat.  The trio of sandwiches are: the Bourbon Bacon & Steak, the Bourbon Bacon & Brisket and the Bourbon Bacon & Turkey. All three come with crispy onion strings, Brown Sugar Bacon, and smoked cheddar cheese on a star-cut bun.  They also have one ingredient that gives the sandwich its “Bourbon” name and that’s the new creamy bourbon Dijon.Bourbon Bacon ArbysLet’s start with the Bourbon Bacon & Steak.  This sandwich features Angus beef which is a marinated USDA Choice top round Black Angus beef which has a black pepper rub.  The beef is pretty lean and has a nice, thick-cut texture.  It keeps its beefy flavor while not being taken over by too much of the mild garlic, onion and black pepper seasoning.Arbys Bourbon BaconThe Bourbon Bacon & Brisket features a hearty pile of tender, smoky brisket. It goes through a 13 hour smoking process using hickory wood and it retains a good amount of moisture.  The brisket is dry-rubbed with barbecue spices and is infused with a savory quality I haven’t encountered in any other fast food item before.Bourbon Bacon ArbysRounding out the meats is the roasted turkey which is featured in the Bourbon Bacon & Turkey.  Turkey is clearly the blandest of the bunch from the perspective of just the meats, but the advantage it has is helping highlight the flavors of the other included ingredients.  On its own, the roasted turkey is moist and flavorful with a light sweetness that makes it stand apart from the bold and savory flavors of the steak and brisket sandwiches.Bourbon Bacon Arbys TurkeyWith each sandwich there are onion strings that lose their crunch in spots, but provide a salty finish and a light, satisfying crispness in the areas that haven’t been saturated and softened.  The Brown Sugar Bacon is thick-cut pepper bacon which has a coating of brown sugar which adds sweetness to balance the salt.  The smoked cheddar’s mild sharpness worked best with the less impactful roast turkey version and didn’t add much to the other two sandwiches.  I’ve always found the toasted specialty roll known as the “star-cut bun” to be a solid base for the layers of weighty meat and it doesn’t disappoint.  There is some meat spillage with all three sandwiches and that’s not a bad thing.  I’d rather have a little bit of the meat falling out rather than having an overly bready sandwich any day. The ingredient that ties this whole new family known as Bourbon Bacon Sandwiches together is the new creamy bourbon Dijon. It’s unmistakably Dijon mustard with an added oaky, honey sweetness and slight acidic bite. The bourbon Dijon sauce goes really well together with the sugary bacon and it makes me think a porkier sandwich could really take advantage of this sauce.  It tastes a bit more sophisticated and complex than what I expected.  I didn’t love it or hate it and feel it didn’t do enough to sway my opinion to consider it a standout ingredient to base an entire sandwich around.Bourbon Bacon Arbys SandwichAt a price of $4.99 for the Turkey, $5.49 for the Steak, and $5.99 for the Brisket, the Bacon Bourbon Sandwiches all follow the premium sandwich trend Arby’s has established over the last few years.  Each sandwich is hefty and none skimp on the meat so there’s enough value to say the price is decent.  I preferred the Turkey version over the other two because the flavor of the meat didn’t overwhelm the other ingredients as much (it’s also the cheapest).  All three are worth a buy… just not all at once.  I will be eating my leftovers.

Pros: Quality fast food. Big sandwiches, meat is piled high. Bourbon Dijon sauce works when balanced with sweet bacon. Turkey version is my preferred version because its flavor balanced best with the other ingredients.

Cons: The bacon is a major highlight and I wish there was a little bit more because its so dwarfed by the meat. Half the onion strings don't hold their crunch very well. Bourbon Dijon sauce is decent, but it's not good enough to really sell the overall vibe of the sandwiches.

Taste: 8.25/10
Value: 7.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.50/10
Price: $4.99 for Turkey, $5.49 for Steak, $5.99 for Brisket

Overall GrubGrade: 8.00/10

More Info: arbys.com
Nutrition Facts:
Steak: 245 grams, 590 calories, 26 grams of fat, 1870 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar and 40 grams of protein
Brisket: 234 grams, 710 calories, 40 grams of fat, 1610 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar and 43 grams of protein
Turkey: 248 grams, 580 calories, 25 grams of fat, 2110 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar and 40 grams of protein

37 comments on “Review: Bourbon Bacon Sandwiches from Arby’s

  1. PT says:

    I loved their last bacon sandwich offerings, so I was anxious to try these last night. It wasn’t terrible, but I don’t think I would order these again. I ordered the steak version. I didn’t even have much of the mustard sauce on my burger, but it was completely overpowering. I couldn’t taste much of anything else (including the bacon) on the sandwich. The middle of my sandwich was also somewhat cold, which was disappointing.

  2. Robert says:

    I think my main issue with Arby’s isn’t the food or the high prices. It’s that their restaurants are all really dumpy and run down, so it feels like I shouldn’t be paying $10 every time I go there. And if I want a beef, bacon, and (liquid) cheese, I’m lucky enough to still live near a Rax. And they blow Arby’s out of the water when it comes to standard, thin-sliced roast beef.

    • rob says:

      Haven’t had Rax since the 80’s I used to love them but they pulled out of our state.

    • Kaitlyn says:

      wow – i didn’t realize there were still rax restaurants out there! i used to love that place.

    • Thistle says:

      Agreed. When I go to an Arby’s, it’s almost always the drive through, but once I went inside and I was shocked at how old, grubby, and grimy the inside was. I actually wanted to turn around and leave instead of getting food!

      • AM says:

        Yep Arby’s is like Burger King, in the sense they have a LOT of unrenovated locations around. Except for whatever reason vs. BK, I like the food at Arby’s more. Not many left in the Chicago area, sadly.

  3. Johnnyboy says:

    Did you ever review the gyros? I had it thi week, but they were out of pitas so I tried it as a wrap. Not bad.

    • Ryan says:

      Nope, every time they bring them back I seem to forget about them until a few weeks later and then I lose my zeal.

      • JJJ says:

        They are surprisingly good, for an Arby’s gyro…

      • Johnnyboy says:

        I did find a grubgrade review from in March. http://www.grubgrade.com/food-news/gyros-are-back-at-arbys

        Ps: I remember when Wendy’s had Pitas in the late 90’s but they were cold type.

        I guess I will try this for lunch today, just gotta head to the Beltsville location. I guess I will try the sandwich only, I can’t keep buying the Combo just to drink Diet Coke and curly fries. Besides it is like $9-10 for a freakin’ normal sized combo nowadays. Maybe I am getting too old.mand I never go Large either with the combo. LOL!

  4. MP says:

    Was the cheddar creamy or was it waxy & stiff? These look interesting but I’m still not ready to make the $5 sandwich leap. Can’t say I’m a fan of Dijon mustard at all.

  5. ninjadude says:

    I had the brisket today. It was ok. But had a bit of a sour note to it. BTW the Ghiradelli cookies are awesome.

  6. Snackeroo says:

    I’ll take the Steak and Brisket sandwiches, yum.

  7. Justin ST says:

    Arby’s has this nasty aftertaste. I don’t know what they’re using, but they need to stop.

  8. Jonathan Wayne says:

    Arby’s is always pretty solid with these sandwiches and their brown sugar bacon is great. I see the brisket in my immediate future.

  9. TehBuLL says:

    Still mad they closed the one down in downtown Chicago. I would eat there all the time. That is all.

    • AM says:

      I looked up their remaining downtown Chicago locations, and didn’t realize the Merchandise Mart food court location had closed! Also remember the location on Dearborn Ave. that’s now a Jason’s Deli, and the Jackson Ave. one across from the DePaul Center Barnes and Noble that was next to Fontano’s Subs.

      Correct that they’re almost totally gone from the Loop, and remain mostly in the suburbs, excluding the south Cicero Ave. location near Ford City Mall. To a lot of the north and northwest side of Chicago, the closest one is Morton Grove. The remaining 2 downtown Chicago locations are on Wells St. inbetween Madison and Washington, and one inside the Ogilvie Transportation Center(former Northwest Station) food court.

  10. Johnnyboy says:

    Whenever I hear VING RHAMES yells “Arby’s….We have the Meats,” I think about going to Arby’s. Besides I don’t want him to come and beat me up.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG1W5zB2WaA

    • doctorx0079 says:

      I STILL THINK IT’S JAMES EARL JONES

      • doctorx0079 says:

        No, it’s definitely Ving Rhames! I even emailed the Fallon ad agency and they told me in an email! I suppose Mr. Rhames can do different voices and accents like many actors. In the Arby’s ads it’s like he’s doing a James Earl Jones impression.

  11. Scrape says:

    I never got why Arby’s gets so much hate. Around here, the stores are all pretty new, kept very clean, and the food is always fresh and hot. Yea, they can be on the pricier side (they do have coupons, though), but I consider it a step above the usual fast food schlock. Their chicken sangwiches are second only to Chick-Fil-A, the French dip is great, and the beef ‘n’ cheddar on an onion bun…classic yum. And oh, them curly fries…

    • Kaitlyn says:

      i agree. arby’s is better than most of the chain fast food places in my area, for sure. ours are all clean and i’ve never had a bad sandwich from them. oh, and of course the curly fries are awesome.

    • MP says:

      I’ve never had a bad sandwich from Arby’s, tho I’ve had some where the roast beef wasn’t sliced paper thin & was slightly chewy, but nothing to ruin an experience with. One time I saw a family of 4 in front of me drop $41! But everyone got combo meals & additional items. Coupons, 2 for $6 deals & value menu is a must.
      I like the new sliders that come on a chewy soft roll.

  12. M says:

    They have the most scrumptious reubens.

    • Tracie says:

      have you tried their loaded Italian sandwich? It is awe-some! It has capacola, etc & beats their reuben’s butt. And I love reubens.

  13. AlexG says:

    Kudos to Arby’s.

    Their restaurants are mostly run down dumps like Burger King, but unlike Burger King they actually have modified and chose to create premium ingredients to get people in the doors and have people actually enjoy the food.

    I was in Arby’s last week after not being there in at least a decade and actually enjoyed their meal.

    The people going to BK, seriously stop in on a Arby’s and help drive those profits for a corporate chain that actually changed for the better.

    • doctorx0079 says:

      Actually my local Arby’s is not a run down dump! It’s newish and clean, and they actually improved their service over the past year. It takes a while but everyone is nice and usually the quality is tops. Best mozzarella cheese sticks of any fast food chain, as good as a good sports bar or restaurant with table service.

      • AM says:

        For whatever reason, I never see many Arby’s locations around where I live(Chicago area) get renovations. I see renovated ones more often when I go on vacation, for whatever reason. At least the food has tended to be decent, even at those older locations.

  14. labelle says:

    I’m not an arbys fan, but wanted something different. I tried the bourbon brisket. I don’t know what i thought about it. It was just meh. The whole sandwich just tasted the same. I really couldn’t differentiate the flavors other than in 1 bite i could really taste the dijon and in the next to the last bite i got a little bit of sweetness from the bacon. I wish there were more of these notes sporadically throughout because again, the taste was very one note. I wouldn’t get it again, not because it was bad, it just didn’t really impress me. It might be because im not a roast beef, brisket, steak kind of person.

  15. Dude says:

    Please explain the Overall GrubGrade of 8/10.
    Taste: 8.25 + Value: 7 + Grubbing on-the-go: 6.5 = 21.75/30 or averaged 7.25/10. Closer to 7 than 8.

    The sandwich is called “Bourbon Bacon”. The Cons were Bourbon Dijon sauce is “decent, but it’s not good enough” and “bacon is … dwarfed by the meat”. So basically you liked the turkey, steak, and brisket. Why an 8/10?

    • Ryan says:

      Overall GrubGrade score is not an average. I used to have that written below the scores years ago. There are too many intangibles that make up an overall GrubGrade to list out… bottomline though, the taste score is a more significant grade than the rest… so the overall GrubGrade is likely to be slightly up or down from that number.

  16. David says:

    Just tried the bourbon brisket sand which and was not impressed. I had high hopes of this sand which that looks delectable on the commercials and pictures. What I received was a small amount of brisket like 1 slice and a couple of chunks along with 1 piece of bacon broke in half some cheese and sauce, mostly bun. The brisket was OK with a smokey taste and the bacon was tasty, the sauce however was just some spicy brown mustard. I didn’t taste hardly any bourbon, would of been much better with regular BBQ sauce. For $6 a sand which I won’t be getting this again, the beef and chedder is better.

  17. M-Logan says:

    I have had the turkey version a couple times, and really like it. I want to try the steak, but not the brisket as it looks really fatty and that is a huge buzzkill for me.

    The comment above RE: the Loaded Italian is spot on – that is one great sammitch. When they brought it back this time around, though, they made a change: they changed the cheese to try to be more authentic, to provolone, but it’s actually more bland now. Order it with the old fake swiss instead and it’s much better!

    Recently had the salted caramel cookie and it was wonderful.

  18. Curtis V Crawford says:

    Finally Arby’s has done it a triple stack what a sandwich I am a total fan of it keep of the good work I love it

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