Review: Bourbon BBQ Brisket from Arby’s
In the spring of 2016, Arby’s released a trio of Bourbon Bacon Sandwiches which featured a creamy bourbon dijon sauce (I liked them). The latest release of sandwiches combine most of all the components of those sandwiches, but swaps out the featured bourbon dijon sauce for new Kentucky bourbon BBQ sauce. Tackling multiple sandwiches at once was a challenge I was not equipped for so I singled out just the new Bourbon BBQ Brisket for this review.Arby’s describes their new Bourbon BBQ Brisket like this:
Barrel-aged Kentucky bourbon in the barbecue sauce, bacon that gets brown sugared each morning, and brisket that’s smoked for 13 hours. Throw in some smoked cheddar and crispy onions and you’ve got yourself Arby’s most time-consuming sandwich.
I’ve enjoyed brisket at Arby’s before so I was hoping that consistency would spare the risk of wasting six bucks on something that wouldn’t be better than average.
Yes, the new Bourbon BBQ Brisket sandwich from Arby’s is definitely better than average. It’s weighty at over a half-pound and I’d say the bulk of that weight is in meat. I did this before in a previous review and it’s worth repeating for the uninformed. What is brisket? Per Wiki, “Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef or veal. The beef brisket is one of the nine beef prime cuts. The brisket muscles include the superficial and deep pectorals. As cattle do not have collar bones, these muscles support about 60% of the body weight of standing/moving cattle. This requires a significant amount of connective tissue, so the resulting meat must be cooked correctly to tenderize the connective tissue.” I love that Arby’s celebrates their meats and it shows with the portions. They clearly make their meats the star of every sandwich. There were a few hearty layers of thick-cut, tender beef brisket on my sandwich so whatever variable ingredient (in this case the sauce) used to make a familiar sandwich “new” again isn’t taking away from the fact that the meat is front and center the star. I also like that there’s no overdoing it with the hickorywood-smoked brisket… the official ingredient list reads like this: Beef Brisket, Water, Salt, Less than 1% of the following: Sodium Phosphates, Black Pepper, Paprika, Red Pepper, Garlic Blend (salt, corn starch, garlic powder). The chew is nice, the moisture is spot-on, and flavor-wise it’s good enough to be enjoyed without assistance from cheeses/sauces etc.
As for the other meat, the brown sugar bacon, it’s simply just pepper bacon doused in brown sugar. It was a tad crunchy for my liking, but luckily it wasn’t dried out. The bacon is clearly dwarfed by the brisket yet the candy sweetness still comes out enough to balance the sandwich that is dominated by smoky and salty flavors. On the not so positive side, the smoked cheddar was forgettable and the crispy onions were soaking too long in BBQ sauce to keep their texture. Not a total fail, but worth noting. The new Kentucky bourbon BBQ sauce was… just OK. It was fine and all, but nothing of a major standout. Sweet and savory, but no balancing smoke or peppery heat to make it well-rounded. Tasting truly unique can take the place of a well-rounded BBQ sauce, but to me, this new stuff didn’t stand out much. Like I mentioned before, the meats are the real stars as they should be.At $5.99 for the sandwich alone, you’ve got to be filling enough to make me OK with skipping the combo and that’s what happened here. For the average premium Arby’s sandwich, the price was about a dollar away from being a great value.
I enjoyed the new Bourbon BBQ Brisket sandwich from Arby’s more for its familiar ingredients rather than the one newcomer. It’s a good sandwich that is worth checking out, but the Kentucky bourbon BBQ sauce wasn’t all that special to me.
Pros: The smoked brisket, and there's plenty of it. Balancing flavors of brisket with brown sugar bacon. Toasted star cut bun.
Cons: Kentucky bourbon BBQ sauce was decent, nothing special enough to brand a family of sandwiches around.
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.00/10
Overall GrubGrade: 6.75/10
More Info: arbys.com
Calories - 720
Fat - 39 grams
Saturated Fat - 15 grams
Cholesterol - 125 milligrams
Sodium - 1600 milligrams
Carbs - 52 grams
Fiber - 2 grams
Sugars - 16 grams
Protein - 42 grams