Fast Food Review: Angus Three Cheese and Bacon Sub from Arby’s

Yes, the commercial is annoying. Yes, at $4.99 it’s definitely expensive for a single sandwich. But dag nabbit, Arby’s new Angus Three Cheese and Bacon toasted sub will live up to its slogan and put you in good mood. And trust me – considering it managed to brighten my day on a cold, dreary Logan afternoon, it’s bound to make whatever sunshiny paradise you live in brim with multicolored smiley faces, and may even change your mind when considering if “Angus”is just a clever marketing term or an actual quality of meat.

As you know by now, Arby’s has been hitting the marketing trail in full force with their “Good Mood Food” slogan and the Angus Three Cheese and Bacon sub. I usually limit myself to the Arby’s value menu, but when faced with the description of the 660 calorie (33 g fat) behemoth of a toasted sub, I just couldn’t pass up the chance to sample it.

oven-roasted, thinly sliced Angus beef with swiss and cheddar cheeses, parmesan peppercorn ranch sauce, and pepper bacon served on a toasted Italian-style roll.

I began by sampling the Angus beef. We’ve all heard legends about “Angus beef” ever since McDonald’s starting using it as a marketing buzz word a few years back, and ever since, we’ve also been at the mercy of enlightened food blog commentators who’ve told us that there may or may not be a taste benefit in choosing Angus. Arby’s is among the latter, of course, with their new blogger – chef Brian – exclaiming the virtues of Angus beef.

Angus is a special breed of cattle and it needs to meet strict requirements before it gets the Angus approval. At Arby’s, we only use USDA Choice Black Angus. It’s slow roasted, to peak perfection. So when it comes out of the oven it’s juicy, tender, and more flavorful.

OK, so I may not be into the Angus beef  McDonald’s is pushing, but I’ve gotta give chef Brian the benefit of the doubt here. From my tasting, the Arby’s Angus beef itself is extremely moist, salty, peppery but also beefy. It may be salty, but it doesn’t taste enhanced like the Arby’s roast beef. Lets put it this way, if Arby’s roast beef is Carl Budding, than the Arby’s Angus beef is the premium stuff you get sliced for you at the deli counter.

For as good as the beef is, it is a little one dimensional in flavor, with the meaty and saltiness having nothing to balance the flavor out. That’s where the other components of the sandwich come in. While I agree with Slashfood in that an element of sweetness (such as Arby’s BBQ sauce) could really help this sandwich, I like it as served. My first bite of the entire sub reminded me of a cheddar and sour cream potato chip, but a very complex kettle and sour cream potato chip at that. The smoky and peppery flavor of the bacon – both crispy on the edges but still retaining some rich and juicy fat – was probably the best fast food bacon experience I’ve had this side of Chick-fil-A. The cheeses created a rich and creamy texture that only made the Angus beef seem all the more savory. I loved the creaminess and spiciness of the parmesan peppercorn ranch sauce, and unlike Slashfood I did detect multiple cheese flavors, although I’ll admit it may be a stretch to pinpoint each cheese, and that the parmesan stood out the most. As for the sub roll, I like the crispy hoagie roll, and think it represents the sandwich idea well.

One of the reasons I liked this sandwich so much because it reminded me of one of my all-time favorite sandwiches – the Philly Filet from The Elements restaurant. True, it may not be the most balanced in terms of sweetness, but an application of BBQ sauce can fix that, and when you think about it, a traditional cheese steak isn’t exactly ‘balanced,’ although, like Slashfood, I have to say the sandwich would take on truly exceptional sandwich if grilled peppers or onions were included. It is what it is – savory, salty, meaty, and creamy – and in Arby’s application, it’s taken to a premium level. That a really high quality pepper bacon comes with it is only a huge plus in my mind, and the force which gives my veggie “want” second pause.

I like Arby’s menu enough to say that there are other – and cheaper – options that may be worth it. Yet even at $5, I’d say this is a better, more filling, and more enjoyable sandwich to eat than a $5 Footlong at Subway. Actually, it puts it to shame, especially considering Subway’s weak bacon and mundane cheese combinations. We’ve disliked Arby’s subs in the past here at GrubGrade, but this is not just “another” roast beef sandwich. So next time your thinking of spending that $5 on a footlong from Subway, I say take your money to Arby’s instead. Hey, it’s worth a try, and if nothing else it may just have you humming that “good mood” song you swear would never get stuck in your head.

  • Pros: Angus roast beef lives up to its billing as lean and juicy. Tasty, crispy bread. Creamy and peppery cheese that tastes like a multifaceted potato chip. Bold and peppery bacon flavor that ranks supreme among all fast food bacon and tastes like actual smoke and not that fake crap most places use. Comes in a really cool looking wrapper. Awesome source of protein. Puts you in a  good mood.
  • Cons: Expensive price at $4.99 for just the sandwich – especially for college students. Tastes overly salty and savory, and could benefit from some sweetness. Cheddar cheese isn’t creamy so much as it is crispy, and Swiss is somewhat lost. Having to eat salad the rest of the day to make up for all that saturated fat and sodium.

Taste: 8.25/10
Value: 7.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.00/10
Price: $4.99

Overall GrubGrade: 8.00 (Very Good)

More Info: Arbys.com
Nutrition Facts:
Angus Three Cheese and Bacon Sub from Arby's
Calories – 660
Total Fat – 33 grams
Sat. Fat – 13 grams
Trans Fat – 0.5 grams
Cholesterol – 115 milligrams
Sodium – 1810 milligrams
Carbs – 64 grams
Dietary Fiber – 2 grams
Sugars – 3 grams
Protein – 47 grams

33 comments on “Fast Food Review: Angus Three Cheese and Bacon Sub from Arby’s

  1. Tracy says:

    i’ve read here how many things you guys like Arby’s so I tried Arby’s for the first time a couple days ago. I’ve always been leary having grown up on the original Roy Roger’s roast beef that was fresh made, in store, every morning. I was shocked how bad it was. We got a couple of value menu items, a roast beef, ham and cheese melt, value fries and a value chocolate shake. The fries were good and the shake was a perfect size and good enough. The ham and cheese melt was over powered by too much gooey icky cheese. The roast beef was horrible. I’ve never seen meat that looked like that and the au jus I asked for on the side made my car smell like burning tires. I can’t really tell from the picture but do they actually have different roast beef for all their sandwiches or is this the same with bacon and sauce on a different roll?

    • Adam says:

      This roast beef is different. I think you’ll find it comperable to “deli counter” roast beef. It doesn’t have that “reconstituted in juices” taste or look, but like I said, it is salty (hello, it’s roast beef). I will also be honest and say A LOT could depend on your franchise. The Arby’s I go to is brand new and well staffed, but there are a lot of ageing units around the country, and the quality of food might suffer because of that.

  2. maxchain says:

    I don’t see a thumbs-up photograph, but what the hell, this’ll do. I’ll try the thing out.

    • Adam says:

      Worth splitting, at least. 330 calories is not bad for half a sandwich considering the flavors you’re getting. It sure tastes better than a burger, too.

      • maxchain says:

        That was INTENSE. That sandwich is in another league entirely! Just a peppery Angus beatdown, and I loved every bite. They better keep that one around.

  3. EddieK says:

    This new sandwich is very good, but it appears the subs have shrunk in width! The bread is now actually thinner.

  4. Mike says:

    i sure hope that’s a typo, and that this sandwich does not have 646 grams of carbohydrates.

  5. Bubbs says:

    Wakey wakey Angus Bacon!!!

  6. Ali says:

    I got a coupon via e-mail this morning to get a free soda and curly fries if I buy this sandwich… I’m not really a big roast beef fan, but I may have to try it. I would definitely ask for some BBQ with it.

  7. Murray says:

    Great review, Adam. I’ve ordered this sandwich twice now and have thuroughly enjoyed it both times. I agree with most of your viewpoints, but would add these comments:
    1. I don’t know if the “Angus” is what makes this stuff so tasty. I think its the Pepercorn taste (like corned beef). The Angus beef does, however, have a much better texture and tenderness than their normal rubbery roast beef.
    2. Its not to say that this isn’t filling, but I was surprised to see how small the sandwhich was after looking at the promo picture in the resturant. Actually, its kind of refreshing to have a more appropriately sized sandwich, especially if you’re pairing it up with curly fries and a drink.

    I concur with you GrubGrade! This is a great sandwich.

  8. RobertP says:

    Just got a coupon in the old e-mail to try one of these out. Don’t mind if I do…

  9. Jon says:

    Mine was extremely salty. Not sure if that’s how they normally are or if the person who prepared it put too much salt. It was pretty ridiculous but I do like the concept of angus and bacon!

  10. Q says:

    I agree! This is a great sandwich especially since I got a BOGO coupon from the monthly mailer Arby’s sends out in my area!

    I thought this particular line was spot on: “if Arby’s roast beef is Carl Budding, than the Arby’s Angus beef is the premium stuff you get sliced for you at the deli counter.”

    Nothing will ever make me sing or hum that abominable song from their crappy commercial though. I really hate that commercial.

  11. oh my god yes. this looks awesome. you guys pretty much have me sold on this. gotta check it out.

  12. Francois says:

    I tried a bite of the sandwich and was overwhelmed by the salt content. I tossed it straight into the trash. Are you sure you got yours from Arby’s, because I really don’t understand this GrubGrade and I normally agree with your scores.

    • Adam says:

      Sorry to hear it Francois, but looks like you’re in the minoity here. I’d say a good 70% od the responses I’ve heard like this sandwich. I do admit it’s very salty, but what exactly were you expecting from fast food?

  13. Adam says:

    One thing I should mention is I notived a red hue in some of the roast beef strands. Regular Arby’s roast beef tends to look patchwork and uniform. This looked much more deli counter-like.

  14. Chuck says:

    Is the point moot to say it looks better in the commercial?

  15. Steve says:

    I only had half of one and was sad I couldn’t snag the other half from my buddy. i thought it was risky, but delicious. Arbys has always been a get-what-you-pay-for place. If you want four gobs of lunch meat swimming in cheddar cheese for five bucks than it’s yours. They really tried to up the ante with the Anguswich (as Ill call it) and I think it truly delivered. This is the biggest step up Arbys has made since their market fresh sandwiches, which I still think are as good of fresh sandwiches you can find anywhere. No qualms on this part whatsoever.

  16. mattitude says:

    I like without the gag inducing peppercorn parmesan ranch dressing!

  17. Sandy says:

    I Can’t Get Pass The Commercial………………..it is the worst.

  18. Art Druzynski says:

    Had a chance to try one of the Angus Three Cheese and Bacon sub from Arby’s tonight. i really don’t know what took me so long to try one before tonight. It was delicious! A little salty but the flavor and juiciness made up for the salt. The sandwich is a little small but it is filled to the rims. I would pick this sandwich over a burger anytime and it’s good for besides.

  19. Tyler M says:

    Had this yesterday from lunch coming home for spring break, I absolutely loved it!

  20. ninjadude says:

    I don’t know if you’re getting paid by Arby’s but I tried this sub based on this review. It was the THE WORST sammich I’ve ever had. It was really bad. The cheese? What cheese? it melted into the bun. What sauce? non-existent. SAlty? EXTEMELY. Size? this is a VERY small sandwich compared to other places. I had a coupon for a free drink, fries and this sammich. The drink was the best part. The fries even were bad. Curly fries are usually ok. These were terrible. I may not go back to arby’s aaanytime in the future.

    • Adam says:

      Sorry to hear about your bad experience. For the record, I don’t get paid by Arby’s, or any other company. Taste, as we all know, is subjective, but at least now you know not to get it in the future.

  21. Chris says:

    I had one last night; loved every bite!

    I even had a coupon for a free small curly fries & drink w/ purchase of this sub at full price, so I got the whole thing for $4.99!

    Excellent sandwich; probably one of the best – fast food or not – that I have had in a long, long time!

  22. Francois says:

    Actually, Arby’s would be the former, according to that quote. In the “may” category as opposed to the latter “may not” category.

    This has been brought to you by the annoying internet grammar guy.

  23. Anon says:

    Used a BOGO coupon to get 2 for one. Very good sandwich; Arby’s equivalent of a Philly cheesesteak with added spice. The bacon adds some bacon goodness. However, it’s kinda small, a lot smaller than a Subway sandwich and slightly overpriced at $4.99. It should be $3.99, but, hey, it’s leagues better than BK’s original chicken sandwich at $4.00.

    Arby’s needs to make it’s french dip with this Angus beef with some cheese. That’ll hit the spot… or just don’t forget to pick up some au jue sauce on the side.

  24. […] hour outside the city, I do think I’m qualified to appreciate a good cheesesteak. Having reviewed and raved about the first of Arby’s Angus subs, I was excited to see if the Ultimate Angus Philly really deserves its marketing title.The […]