Review: Smoke Mountain Sandwich from Arby’s
Fun Fact: I really want the Arby’s “meat guy” spokesman to narrate my life. For as bad as the chain’s new chicken sandwiches were, I can’t keep myself away from a fast food chain with a spokesman whose deep, bold voice can make a sandwich sound like a Hollywood drama. I also can’t keep myself away from a chain that continues to push the boundaries of sandwich construction, which is exactly what the new Smoke Mountain Sandwich does.Insert Arby’s Sandwich Guy voice:
What if Arby’s combined all of their slow-smoked meats into one gigantic sandwich? What if smoked brisket, smoked pork belly, and smoked turkey came together in smoky harmony? What if all that smoked meat was slathered with BBQ sauce, smoked cheddar, and crispy onions? The answer to these questions is “I’ll have that.”
At $6.99, this is one of the most expensive fast food items I’ve ever bought. It’s also the first with pork belly, which is becoming the new “it” meat but rarely makes it outside of Korean fast food places. If you’re worried you’re only getting a small amount of pork belly, don’t be. A big, fat slab of succulent pork belly hangs out of the bun, which is so overwhelmed with the quantity of meats that I debated eating the sandwich with a knife and a fork. Then I heard the Arby’s voice in my head saying, “What’s this, you’re trying to conquer Smoke Mountain with a knife and a fork? Do you need a bib too?” With my sandwich-eater cred called out, I had no choice.It definitely lives up to the name. The sandwich is the smokiest sandwich I’ve ever eaten this side of Lockhart Barbecue. The pork belly and the brisket are the prime culprits, with each packing a deep smoke flavor. The succulent pork belly meat is crispy and salty, but the amount of fat on the pork belly was a bit of a distraction. If you’re like me, and aren’t the biggest fan of eating unrendered fat, than this sandwich might be difficult. The first few bites were great: all the meats were mingled together with the melted cheese and the distinct onion straw flavor. The barbecue sauce gave the sandwich a bit of sweetness, while the bun had that nice, soft and squishy texture to bind everything together. The problem is that there is just too much. After a few bites, the salt, smoke, and fat just contribute to a taste fatigue, and left me struggling to reach the summit.
Overall, there’s nothing wrong with the Smoke Mountain sandwich. The ingredients are top notch, the meats live up to their narrator’s voice, and the presentation is spot-on. Yet the sandwich itself borders on novelty; a kind of meat eating challenge that really isn’t the best design of flavors and components. If you like pork belly and are up for getting stuffed, this is a great option. But if excess isn’t you’re deal, then I suggest going with one of the “smaller” Smokehouse options.
Pros: This is a straight up man sandwich. Incredibly juicy, moist, and smoky pork belly. Brisket is top notch and has excellent flavor. Nicely melted cheese and crisp onion strings give the sandwich the ultimate in textural contrast.
Cons: Just really heavy. Salt and smoke flavors overwhelm the sandwich. Unrendered fat from the pork belly lacks great flavor and can be texturally off-putting. Barbecue sauce is excessive. Turkey is completely lost in the shuffle. Arby’s voice in my head.
Grubbing on-the-go: 3.00/10
Overall GrubGrade: 5.50/10
More Info: arbys.com
800 calories, 46 grams of fat, 18 grams of saturated fat, 1 grams of trans fat, 135 milligrams of cholesterol, 1910 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbs, 13 grams of sugar, 49 grams of protein.