I have good news and I have bad news when it comes to Subway’s new Smokehouse BBQ Chicken sandwich. The good news is that’s it’s significantly better than just smearing BBQ sauce over Subway’s “Oven Roasted” Chicken. The bad news is that you may very well incur the wrath of an esteemed sandwich “artist” in ordering one.
If the guy smoking freshly-killed chicken with Applewood out back in his shack in the North Carolina woods is the Rembrandt of the barbecue universe, then I suppose we should extend the metaphor and proclaim Subway’s very own “artists” as the equivalent of first graders during arts and crafts time.
I knew the sandwich was new and expected some kinks going in, but the look of befuddlement I received when asking for the sandwich (despite, I should add, several prominent displays in the windows for it) was enough to make me wonder if my artist had even brought her brushes to work. That she continued to refer to the meat as “pork” and asked me if I wanted cheese with it made me question if it wasn’t “switch place with your spouse at work day,” but the real kicker was when she proceeded to grow noticeably angry at my polite insistence that she construct this masterpiece to include whatever the picture called for.
Clearly, I must not understand tasteful art.
But I do understand barbecue, and when it comes to something you can order at a suburban fast food restaurant, this is about the high point. Obviously that’s not saying a lot should you live south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but who are we kidding, this is a Subway review. The chicken itself is an admirable stab at smoked and pulled chicken. Despite coming from one of those dreaded pre-portioned containers held in a refrigerator, it manages to convey a certain less-than-cloying sweetness with an unexpected lightness of acidity and tang of apple cider vinegar.
The shredded chicken has a mild spice and hint of smoke flavor, which, I’m almost 100 percent certain, was conveyed in the meat and not just the sauce. The meat avoids any fatty strings or cartilage, and has a succulent taste about it which could pass for the kind of really solid imitation pulled chicken BBQ your Weight Watchers Aunt (or Charles Barkley) makes in the slow cooker. Above all, it’s a step up from Subway’s floppy Oven Roasted Chicken, which, even with barbecue sauce, mostly just tastes like rib meat and salt.
That said, the portion is meager and looks nothing like the advertisement. Crunch (like slaw) is needed on top, while a potato bread base could go a long way to imitate the authentic barbecue experience. Some shaggy interior decorating and southern rock music wouldn’t hurt to inspire the faux atmosphere either, although something tells me that may clash with the artist process.
If you prefer chicken to beef, have exactly four dollars (plus tax) to spend, and decline to dine outside the confines of fast food restaurants, I can see this being a frequent purchase. If, however, you happen to just be some schmuck who’s running late for work and falls victim to unrealistic advertisements (like me), then I would suggest passing. That is, unless you insist on some finger painting and stick figure drawing, for which I’m sure your sandwich artist would be happy to provide on your complimentary napkin.
(Nutrition Facts – 6-inch sandwich - 380 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 950 milligrams of sodium, 57 grams of carbohydrates, 5 gram of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein.)
Item: Subway Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Sub
Price: $4.00 (6-inch)
Purchased at: Subway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Chicken gets good BBQ sauce coverage and has a nice smokey-sweet flavor. Not too salty. Better than Oven Roasted Chicken. 32 grams protein (allegedly). Fingerpainting.
Cons: Getting yelled at by a sandwich artist. Holding up the line at Subway. Too little meat. Needs crunch. Bring your own Skynyrd. Admitting I don’t dislike healthy crock pot “BBQ” chicken.