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.

Taste: 7.25/10
Value: 5.75/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.00/10
Price: $5.99

Overall GrubGrade: 6.75/10

More Info: arbys.com
Nutrition Facts:
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

9 comments on “Review: Bourbon BBQ Brisket from Arby’s

  1. Mark says:

    Man I had high hopes for this. Was going to try it today. Probably still will, but $6 bucks is a bit steep.

  2. Chris says:

    Thank you for your website. I check it every day and get the hungries.

  3. Johnnyboy says:

    I wish there were more Arby’s and other restaurants close by so I could try these from time to time. At least we have more Chic-fil-A’s around now, but the lines are crazy long all the time.

    • doctorx0079 says:

      My Chick-Fil-A tends to have long lines but they move FAST. Great service there. I go to Arby’s more often though because it’s right down the street. Come to Fairborn Ohio! ^_^

  4. John says:

    I went to the Arby’s on W State St in Ft Wayne, IN.. I ordered the Bourbon BBQ Beef sandwich to go (along with a friend’s order) when I got home, the sandwich was about the size of a slider.. FOR $6. . This is a RIP OFF, I didn’t have time to take it back, The sandwich would have been good, but was about 1/3 the size I thought it would be.. It couldn’t have been even 1/4 lb of meat. . “We’ve got the meat?. . I used to like Arby’s, but lately they’re portions have been getting smaller every time I went there.. This will be my last purchase from them.. Many other places nearby that are better, and you get MUCH more food for the money. . So long Arby’s. . .

  5. JW Davis says:

    The Bourbon BBQ sandwich I got from the Arby’s on W State St in Ft Wayne, Indiana I paid $6 for was about the size of their sliders.. It is a rip off.. I went to King Gyros and got a better sandwich, that was 4X the size for the same price. . I’m done with Arby’s..

  6. Linda M says:

    I tried the bbq bourbon brisket today. While definitely tasty, why are the sandwiches never as they appear on the ads? It was much smaller and the bacon must have been in there somewhere but I did not notice it…..

  7. Stacy Bagby says:

    St. Louis,Mo…Dougherty Ferry & Big Bend…ORDERED BOURBON BRISKET BBC sandwich & when u opened the box all u could see was bread…couple pieces of bacon & even less brisket! Totally false advertising. Have a pic ofsandwich I paid too much $$$ for & a pic of what they say they r selling, definitely weight, & a couple inches different! Never waste my $$ there again!

  8. Stacy Bagby says:

    ARBYS has false advertising…totally done spending $$ there! !!

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