Review: King’s Hawaiian BBQ Brisket Sandwich from Arby’s

When Arby’s released their Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich last year, I praised in most areas and shamed in a few others.  Overall I felt the sandwich was good and had a lot of potential to be an amazing fast food BBQ sandwich.  The new King’s Hawaiian BBQ Brisket Sandwich at Arby’s should please those looking for a stripped down version of the original. Arby's Kings Hawaiian BBQ BrisketArby’s describes their King’s Hawaiian BBQ Brisket Sandwich like this:

Sweet and savory. Fluffy and smoky. We combined the best sweet buns in Hawaii with our Texas-smoked brisket to create a sandwich that makes both states proud. Send your mouth a souvenir from Hawaii and Texas without ever leaving Arby’s.

The King’s Hawaiian BBQ Brisket Sandwich has fewer ingredients than the Smokehouse version.  I’m sure a lot of you will be happy (including myself) to know there’s no mayo this time around.  There’s also no crispy fried onions of smoked Gouda cheese with this one.

Arbys BBQ BrisketJust like the Smokehouse version, the brisket is moist, tender and piled on.  This is a meaty meal, just like Arby’s intended with their whole “Meatcraft” mantra.  The consistency of the brisket was a little uneven in some spots where a couple of cuts seemed fattier than others. I figured I should point that out, but I still plowed through the sandwich happily. Arby’s continues to remind us that their brisket is hickory smoked for 13 hours.  At a 244 grams serving weight, this ½ pound-plus sandwich is filling, but pricey at $5.49 for the sandwich alone.

Arbys brisket BBQThe barbeque sauce is called “Smoky Q Sauce” and there’s a good amount of it in each bite.  It’s smoky with some tangy sweetness… no spicy bite unfortunately.  I felt there was also a slightly bitter flavor coming from the sauce and I’m wondering if it was more noticeable this time around considering there wasn’t a bunch of extra ingredients cutting into its flavor.  The crinkle cut pickles first appeared in the King’s Hawaiian Roast Beef & Swiss sandwich and I loved them there.  With this sandwich I welcomed their return.  If the pickles were overly briny and sour, I’d probably struggle to find something good to say about them.  The crinkle cut pickles work well and balance the flavors.  There are only a few pickle slices, one more would’ve been perfect.Arby's King Hawaiian BrisketThis sandwich headlines its name with “King’s Hawaiian” and it’s definitely a quality bun that I loved in every sandwich Arby’s has used it with so far.  With this sandwich, it’s still a great bun, but the old toasted bakery-style bun seemed to do a better job at containing the ingredients.  The King’s Hawaiian bun is so soft that it kind of squishes down and flattens when gripping the sandwich. I enjoyed the subtle sweetness, but I think the bun worked a lot better in other sandwiches.

Arbys Brisket BBQ hawaiianThere are some hits and misses with the King’s Hawaiian BBQ Brisket Sandwich.  If I could combine a few qualities of the old brisket sandwich with the new, I’d likely create a hall of fame sandwich.  This version didn’t impress me too much.  My next brisket sandwich order at Arby’s will likely be the original (and hold the mayo).

Pros: Plenty of meat. Crinkle cut pickles. Sweetness of the King's Hawaiian bun. No mayo!

Cons: Smoky Q sauce was a little bitter/vinegary and needs some peppery quality to it. Soft texture of the King's Hawaiian bun mixed with a lack of lighter layers of ingredients made for a flattened sandwich. Pricey.

Taste: 7.00/10
Value: 5.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.75/10
Price: $5.49

Overall GrubGrade: 6.00/10

More Info: arbys.com
Nutrition Facts:
Serving Weight – 244 grams
Calories – 660
Total Fat – 27 grams
Saturated Fat – 11 grams
Cholesterol – 160 milligrams
Sodium – 1200 milligrams
Carbs – 69 grams
Dietary Fiber – 3 grams
Sugars – 28 grams
Protein – 37 grams

8 comments on “Review: King’s Hawaiian BBQ Brisket Sandwich from Arby’s

  1. David says:

    Aha, you got this review up fast. I just got some coupons in the mail and this was main feature and I was curious to see what people thought of it. I think they should put red onions on it, but I’m an onion fiend and like them on everything. I’ll probably check it out and see how it is.

  2. Sascha says:

    This needs a sauce, and a removing of pickles. I’m still mad at Arby’s for getting rid of the Mighty Mini’s in favor of the dollar menu stuff, especially because it also meant losing the Au Jus mayo that came on them. This sandwich would be the perfect vehicle for that sauce. Oh well, regular mayo should still do the trick, I guess.

    • Brent says:

      This actually does come with a sauce though (the BBQ mentioned in the review), unless you are saying it needs a different sauce?

    • NamebranD says:

      Mayo is the last sauce that should ever go near a BBQ sandwich. There’s BBQ sauce on the sandwich. What more do you really need?

  3. Andre says:

    I had an original brisket yesterday (minus the mayo of course), and it was great. The meat was a little fatty in parts, like you mentioned. Maybe Arby’s could have their supplier trim it just a tad leaner? A little fat on brisket is alright and expected. Overall, it’s excellent and higher quality than what I’d expect from a QSR. Looking forward to trying this one next.

  4. Jonathan Wayne says:

    It was actually pretty good and I just got an email coupon for a free creme brulee shake with the purchase of one of these sandwiches today so be on the lookout for that.

  5. […] “The consistency of the brisket was a little uneven in some spots where a couple of cuts seemed fatti…” (via Grub Grade) […]

  6. Erissa says:

    I think it tasted amazing. I don’t like pickles though, so maybe that sounds awful to some, but I pull them off. I added some swiss to it though, felt like it needed cheese. I do feel like it is VERY overpriced though, but when I went to the store to price some brisket (thought about making my own version at home), I found it was ridiculously expensive! Almost 20 and sometimes over 20 dollars for a brisket at the store! The cheapest I found was some pre-cooked brisket that was still 11-15 a package, and it wasn’t much brisket…so I suppose for one sandwich, it’s a better price than what you would pay to make it yourself, but it’s still something I would only buy if my craving for it outweighed my desire to spend less on fast food…and that doesn’t happen very often.

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