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.Shelling 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.
Each 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.Let’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.The 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.Rounding 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.With 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.At 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.
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
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