Review: Spicy Jalapeño Brisket Sandwich from Arby’s
Once a new fast food sandwich debuts, there’s a couple of things to expect after a successful limited run. One important thing to remember is you should expect that the sandwich will be back on the menu some day. Something else to keep in mind is you’re likely going to see a variety of tweaks in future releases. A sandwich that fits comfortably into this category is the new Spicy Jalapeño Brisket Sandwich from Arby’s. Let’s review.Here’s how Arby’s labels their latest creation:
For a limited time you can have your brisket smoked AND spicy. With chipotle BBQ sauce and spicy jalapeño peppers, this sandwich is going to punch your mouth in the mouth.
Who enjoys a good punch in the mouth? Interesting way to describe something spicy. With the Spicy Jalapeño Brisket you’re getting heat from two places and some important in-between components to help level it out.
Brisket at Arby’s was first headlined by the Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich in September 2013. The followup to the Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich was the King’s Hawaiian BBQ Brisket Sandwich which came in September 2014. If you’re paying attention, we’re right on schedule with this year’s new September release. I found the original Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich to be on the border of good and great. A fast food sandwich over 5 bucks is always going to raise some eyebrows for the value, but the main reason the Smokehouse didn’t reach super high overall scores was the unnecessary mayo and the fact that the crispy fried onions lost their texture impact with the weight of the meat and sauces. I love King’s Hawaiian buns so the King’s Hawaiian BBQ Brisket Sandwich looked to be a winner. Unfortunately the KH version was a significant step back from the first brisket offering. On paper, the new Spicy Jalapeño Brisket Sandwich seems to more along the lines of the original, but with a major spicy kick.
You might remember chipotle BBQ sauce if you file back your memory bank to 2011 when the Smokin’ Chipotle Chicken Sandwich was being offered. Come to think of it, that Smokin’ Chipotle Chicken Sandwich also shares another important ingredient… it also came with jalapeños (although the Smokin’ Chipotle Chicken had pickled jalapeños and this new sandwich has fresh, diced jalapeños). The Smokin’ Chicken Chipotle was pretty good, but it was way too spicy for my tastes. Now that my taste buds have had 4 years to build up my tolerance, I’m here to report that my mouth still went through some pain during the grubbing experience. Fresh jalapeños will get the heat edge over pickled any day and this sandwich was packed with green. Even through the hurt, the chipotle BBQ sauce did a nice job of providing the sweet and smoky flavors. The jalapeños overwhelmed any peppery heat coming from BBQ sauce so it didn’t feel too much like an overload of spicy ingredients battling it out. I would have preferred fewer diced jalapeños and more crispy onion strings to improve the ingredient balance. The onion strings held up their texture just OK and it’s hard to expect a perfect crunch with the warmth of the sharp cheddar slice and, of course, a heaping pile of smoked brisket. The brisket sliced thick with a coarse, beefy chew. It’s dry-rubbed with barbecue spices and smoked for at least 13 hours with hickory wood. The brisket is flavorful enough to just pick apart from the sandwich and enjoy. I like the star cut bun and it holds up well with a meaty sandwich such as this.
So was the new Spicy Jalapeño Brisket Sandwich from Arby’s a punch in the mouth? Well it was definitely a punch to the wallet being priced at $5.49 for the sandwich alone, but it’s a high-quality fast food sandwich with some premium ingredients that will have you forgetting it’s fast food. Also yeah, the heat was a punch in the mouth for me. Spicy lovers should be pleased.
Pros: Hefty and meaty... and it's pretty darn good meat too. Thick chipotle BBQ sauce provides the sweet and smoke. Fresh jalapeños are greater than pickled. No mayo.
Cons: Just the sandwich alone is well over 5 bucks. Some unbalance with the application of diced jalapeños (too much) versus the crispy onion straws (not enough). Probably too spicy for 75% of the consumers.
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.75/10
Overall GrubGrade: 7.75/10
More Info: arbys.com
Serving weight - 215 grams
Calories - 570
Fat - 29 grams
Saturated Fat - 11 grams
Sodium - 1200 milligrams
Carbs - 44 grams
Fiber - 3 grams
Sugars - 8 grams
Protein - 33 grams