Fast Food Review: Arby Q from Arby’s

Apparently, Arby’s has been having some business difficulty as of late. Well, I have a simple solution for them: just bring back Arby-Q on a nationwide basis, and do it fast.

I’ve long heard stories about Arby-Q, yet had never tried it before last week. I stop at four or five Arby’s regularly between two states (Maryland and Utah) and have never seen it before, but when I found it at one of Arby’s new, cleanly polished locations in Providence, Utah, I knew it would be worth  $1.49 (without tax) to check out. For those of you unfamiliar with the Arby-Q sandwich, the limited time/regional menu item features Arby’s signature roast beef with “tangy barbecue sauce” on a toasted, sesame seed bun. According to my lovely and helpful Arby’s gal who took my order, the sandwich comes with “about two ounces” of roast beef – not quite the three ounces as the regular roast beef sandwich, but still a “standard” serving size for a sandwich on comparable value.

With that kind of meat to bun ratio (it comes on one of Arby’s standard sesame seed buns, not the “Jr.” nonsense) you’d think that the meat gets lost. To a certain extent it does, but the deficiency is made up through a solid application of barbecue sauce as well as a pleasant and chewy sweetness of the bun, which has a perfectly toasted interior. Maybe it’s just me, but I seem to think Arby’s buns are some of the best out there. Mine wasn’t stale in the least, and the sesame seeds add a great touch. As for the roast beef? It’s standard for Arby’s, meaning that it’s good but not great. Obviously it’s not anything like my beloved beef on weck, but with Arby’s signature barbecue sauce, it doesn’t need to be. Combined with the sauce, it’s moist and succulent and yes, definitely on the super-sweet side. But when it comes to barbecue and beef, sweet works best, and the sauce really does add a tangy component to the meat, which is well seasoned. It also adds a nice foil to the otherwise usual saltiness of the meat.

I like the minimalist application of the sandwich. It’s obviously not slow-simmered or smoked like a “real” barbecue beef sandwich is, but it avoids the excessive heavy taste that a slow simmered sandwich sometimes have, not to mention that it’s much cheaper and relatively mess free. I’ve heard that they used to sell them at 99 cents each, but I really have no problem paying a little “extra” for a value menu item like this. My only issue with the price is whether or not I’m getting something that I couldn’t make for less. That is, could I just have bought a Jr. Roast Beef Sandwich and thrown some Arby’s Sauce on it and gotten the same results? My impression is yes, but I hope I’m wrong. Either way, it confirms what I’ve long claimed: Arby’s has something good going when it comes to innovative value menu items. From the Jr. Ham and Cheddar Melt to the Curly Fries to the new Turkey Ranch sandwich, Arby’s can offer tasty items no other fast food chain can match at a very good and consistent price. Why the chain has had some serious misses with more expensive menu items is beyond me, but take my word for it that the Arby-Q, if you can find it, is one of the better fast food value menu items out there.

Pros: Sweet and tangy barbecue sauce takes Arby's roast beef to another level. Bun is well toasted on the interior, slightly sweet and slightly nutty. BBQ sauce was adequately applied, and made eating non-messy. A acceptable beef barbecue "substitute" given the price.

Cons: Too much bun for meat (I recommend 'doubling' your meat). Roast beef is average, and displays some fatty, processed type strands. Could possibly benefit from onions. Very limited availability.

Taste: 7.50/10
Value: 9.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 8.00/10
Price: $1.49

Overall GrubGrade: 7.75 (Good)

Nutrition Facts:
Arby Q Sandwich (currently unavailable)

16 comments on “Fast Food Review: Arby Q from Arby’s

  1. Rod says:

    So could somebody confirm if the sauce is Arby’s Sauce or not?

  2. samco says:

    Not Arby’s sauce…a heavier BBQ mix. If it was straight Arby’s sauce I imagine it wouldn’t have to be a seasonal sandwich.

  3. J.B. says:

    It looks disgusting, but it actually tastes pretty good.
    It just needs more meat.

  4. Bubbsy says:

    That’s right, instead of Arby’s sauce it is a sweet BBQ, heavy flavor like samco said, flavor is some honey and some hickory. The sauce really really overwhelms instead of complements… but considering we’re talking about processed beef loaf product that’s fine.

    I worked at Arby’s in high school like 15 yrs ago, I’d get an Arby Q add onions & swiss (like 60 cents extra for cheese)…. I still do once in a while when the Q comes out. The onions & swiss work well with the sauce, I don’t like the sandwich plain. I’d recommend having it that way. Then again, I’d also dip curly fries in the Jamocha shake. So maybe don’t take my word for it.

  5. Steve says:

    I did not know about this thing. Is it everywhere? Might have to head to Arby’s tomorrow. it’s been a while. And I agree with you on the bun quality. I’ve always loved Arby’s buns.

    • Adam says:

      Yea, they have a malty sweetness that any carbophile can appreciate. And no, it’s not everywhere. The Arby’s on one side of my town does not have this, while the one on the other does.

  6. tom h says:

    I’ve been a huge fan of the Arby-Q for *years*… they’re especially great when sold at the 5 for $5 rate, but I haven’t seen that in a while. In the past they’ve occasionally been served with a pickle, which I personally dug – but I’m certainly ok without it.

  7. GrubGradeFan says:

    The Arbys in my home town, which still sold the pecan chicken salad sandwich, just went out of business.

    Noooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So sad. 🙁

    Dont have any near my school either. So long beef n cheddars, mozz. sticks, onion rings, and the infamous chicken salad sandwich.

    You will be missed

  8. Sandy says:

    Bought a new car today and the sales guy, who, by the way was toally hung over said he heard Arby’s and Wendy’s will be all gone by the end of the year. I googled it and couldn’t find anything about that. Well, I did say he was totally hungover. I like the Arby’s new steakhouse onion rings.

  9. Adam Bomb says:

    Second only to the chicken tenders, the Arby Q is amazing! I wish it were always available. It’s definitely not the Arby’s sauce on there, it’s way sweeter and smokier. And definitely worth $1.49. I could make a meal of two and a Coke.

  10. Nancy says:

    I currently work at Arby’s & have done so for 4 years. The ArbyQ sauce is not Arby’s sauce. It is a completely different sauce. As for Wendy’s & Arby’s closing this is false. The company that currently owns both Arby’s & Wendy’s is selling Arby’s. But Arby’s has changed hands several times in the last 10 years. This is nothing new & will not effect 99% of the stores in the country. There is one store closing in NY which is why this rumor got started.

  11. J Taj Bozeman says:

    I wonder if any of Arbys trouble comes from the fact that they can’t make up their mind on their menu. They just recently overhauled the complete menu, and it’s currently a confused mess. They keep getting rid of the only items I went there to get- poppers, potato cakes, loaded baked potato bites, the market fresh sandwiches, they had some really nice salads to choose from but got rid of them as well.

    It’s a shame that they keep changing their menu around so often. I go there and never know what to expect. Reminds me of Fazoli’s- they had all these great items, but then completely changed their menu, and now an entree is like $8.

    I always thought McDonalds had it right- keep the core menu the same, add new items on a regular basis, and try not to drop items unless they’re really doing terrible business. That way, you can go back a decade later and still know what you’re going to get.

    • Adam says:

      I agree. It makes me mad at Einstein Bagels, too. Look at a place like In-N-Out. You get a cult like following if you keep it simple.

  12. Anon says:

    Try lowering those ridiculously high prices and price the items for what they are worth, Arby’s. Also, focus on what you do best: roast beef. Maybe that will work. It works for Chick-Fil-A that only sells chicken.

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