REVIEW: Arby’s Deep Fried Turkey Club Sandwich

Arby s Deep Fried Turkey Club 1

Among the many achievements in mankind’s endless appetite for culinary innovation, I tend to think one of the more fun developments has been the deep-fried turkey.

Granted, it’s not an Oreo that tastes like a bowl of Fruity Pebbles, but there’s a combination of country-boy-can survive and backyard science experiment that makes me want to pump my fists, scream “’MERICA!” and make sure I have a fire extinguisher on hand.

Thankfully, I can skip the last part of that equation now that Arby’s has released a line of deep-fried turkey sandwiches, including the Deep Fried Turkey Club.

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Let’s get this out of the way: The Deep Fried Turkey Club doesn’t inspire an initial reaction of mouth-watering gawking. Among the many meat mountains that Arby’s has given us in recent years, it looks comparatively average, with noticeably less stacked meat than Arby’s Grand Turkey Club.

But it tastes better than the Grand Turkey Club, and it all starts with the deep-fried turkey.

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It’s a bit of a clumsy comparison, but the difference is similar to that of Arby’s roast beef and Angus steak. Where Arby’s roast turkey is actually pretty good, it’s still deli meat when you get down to it. The fried turkey, though, is succulent, slightly sweet, and has a wonderful seasoned crust. If someone served this to me at Thanksgiving, I would probably disavow cranberry sauce and gravy. It’s that good on its own.

The rest of the sandwich is top-notch and surprisingly well-balanced despite salt bombs of cheddar and bacon. Less divisive than Arby’s brown sugar bacon, the black pepper bacon adds great crunch and smoke, while the melted cheddar adds a mild creaminess and richness.

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And, where the bun, mayo, and toppings could have ruined the classic club taste, all three elements are executed to near perfection, creating a crisp and clean flavor to cut all the meat and salt. My only complaint was the double dose of mayo on the top and bottom buns, which makes the sandwich a bit too soggy.

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Arby’s release of brisket and pork belly were game changers as far as the fast food universe was concerned. I wouldn’t quite put the fried turkey into that category, but that’s only because a turkey sandwich is always going to be (for better or worse) tied to Thanksgiving. Truth be told, this is a great sandwich, and by far the best turkey sandwich I’ve had from Arby’s.

(Nutrition Facts – 540 calories, 250 calories from fat, 28 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 1620 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of dietary fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 34 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Exceptionally moist and flavorful turkey. Crispy bacon and melted cheddar cheese add quintessential supporting club flavors. Squishy, slightly sweet bun. Enjoying deep fried turkey without the hospital visit.
Cons: Double layer of mayo is excessive. Not the most filling sandwich you could get at Arby’s. Not being able to build your own Derrick

REVIEW: Arby’s Chicken Pepperoni Parm Sandwich

Arby s Chicken Pepperoni Parm Sandwich

On a confidence scale of 1-10, with 1 being the Browns winning the Super Bowl and 10 being the chances we get too many pumpkin spice-flavored products every fall, my confidence in Arby’s making a good chicken parmesan sandwich is about a 5.

On one hand, it’s Arby’s, which means A) It’s not Taco Bell, and B) The meat should be good. On the other hand, it’s Arby’s, which means the marinara is probably sitting in a box in the back and not simmering in a pot with fresh herbs and minced garlic while being stirred by someone’s nonna.

But then again, Arby’s new chicken parm sandwich is no ordinary one —- it’s a chicken parm sandwich with meat. Now I commend Arby’s for taking the Ron Swanson approach of eating several different animals in one bite with its Chicken Pepperoni Parm Sandwich, but the pepperoni ruins this sandwich.

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It’s not the pepperoni’s fault, per se. I mean, we’re above Hormel quality here and under other conditions the pepperoni’s salty, unctuous flavor would be optimal. But it’s so loud and salty that it dominates each bite.

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This is an issue because the rest of the sandwich’s components fail to stand out. The buttermilk chicken is bland, tasting mostly of soggy breading and onion powder. I expected the marinara to pick it up, but even though the much-feared saccharine tomato taste wasn’t there, the sauce was flat and (again) too salty, lacking any memorable tomato flavor.

Even the bun, which Arby’s has paired so wonderfully with various brisket and brown sugar bacon sandwiches, is just sort of there, like the mindless carbs of a forgettable bread basket at a dying chain restaurant.

The one exception is the mozzarella, which is beautifully melted to that stretchable texture and has a nuanced flavor you’d expect from a panini. But here again the pepperoni dominates, canceling out what should be a premium ingredient.

I tend to give Arby’s the benefit of the doubt, and I’m a huge fan of the quality they’ve committed themselves to. But considering the run of successful brisket, brown sugar bacon, and pork belly sandwiches they’ve strung together, the Chicken Pepperoni Parm Sandwich is a letdown.

It feels weird typing this, but this may be one case where we have the meats might be we have too many meats for our own good.

(Nutrition Facts – 610 calories, 28 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 1900 milligrams of sodium, 54 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of sugar, and 37 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Not want for meat. Really good melting action on the mozzarella. Moist and plump chicken breast. Marinara wasn’t horrible for fast food. Great if you love pepperoni.
Cons: Forgettable chicken. Overpowering pepperoni. Marinara sauce lacks balance. Virtually impossible to eat and not spill sauce on yourself.

REVIEW: Arby’s Cookie Butter Shake

Arby s Cookie Butter Shake

Arby’s releases a brand new cookie butter shake the very same week Oreo debuts its cookie butter cookies? Hmmm, very interesting.

Was it a mere coincidence? Or something more nefarious, like the cookie butter gods strong-arming companies into spreading their flavor for world domination????!!!! Then again, the flavor has kind of been growing in popularity so maybe that’s just it too.

The drink has a vanilla base mixed in with a cookie butter syrup and it is topped off with whipped cream and Biscoff cookie crumbles. It is described by Arby’s to be indulgently sweet with cinnamon spice. Following the debut of the Oreos that I thought were fantastic this shake has a tough act to follow.

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It’s off to a good start with the toppings. Even though the whipped cream is your run of the mill type, it happens to be very creamy and goes great with the Biscoff cookie crumbles that shine on the first bite. Arby’s definitely didn’t cut corners with these as going with the well-known Biscoff brand was a great choice. They are crunchy, very buttery, and have a noticeable cinnamon spice flavor at the end. The texture pairs greatly with the soft and fluffy whipped cream. I just wish there were more!

After eating most of the topping, I was excited to dive into the rest of the shake to continue my cookie butter adventure. Unfortunately, though, it was a kind of a letdown. My shake was a bit thick so it was a struggle to get it up through the straw. When I was able to suck it up you can definitely taste the vanilla base but after that it varies a lot between each sip.

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I could occasionally pick up some cinnamon and spice, but very faintly. There was definitely a more overt buttery flavor and it was tasty, but a tad too sweet at times. It just needed a little bit more of the spice because all the other flavors related to cookie butter shined through.

For example, if a friend handed me this and said it was a brand new butterscotch milkshake, I would be like “yum!” Or if they said just kidding it’s in fact a new caramel shake I would be like “delicious!” Cookie butter just didn’t immediately come to mind when thinking about the flavor of the shake itself.

Don’t think for a second, though, that I didn’t enjoy the shake as I finished the entire thing. All 960 calories and, good heavens, 139 grams of sugar of it. Next time this is available I’ll probably get a small and use it to wash down the cookie butter cream that I am scraping off the Oreo cookies to really hedge my bets and get maximum flavor. Oh, and also to please those cookie butter gods who went to a lot of effort for these to come about.

(Nutrition Facts – Large – 960 calories, 30 grams of fat, 20 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 670 milligrams of sodium, 155 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 139 grams of sugar, and 23 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: Large
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Legit cookie pieces. A pretty delicious milkshake overall. Cookie butter gods trying to take over the world.
Cons: Shake flavor that kinda tastes like cookie butter but also kinda tastes like it could be at least three other things. Playing second fiddle to Oreo cookies. Calories and sugar content that is better left unacknowledged.

REVIEW: Arby’s Liger Shake

Arby s Liger Shake

Heading into this limited-time-only product, I knew three things about ligers:

  • It’s the technical name for the offspring of a male lion and female tiger (the inverse, in case you were wondering, is called a tigon.)
  • There’s a famous Japanese wrestler named Jushin “Thunder” Liger, who was inspired by a short-lived anime of the same name (why he has a head shaped like a demonic pinata, though, I can’t explain.)
  • It’s Napoleon Dynamite’s favorite animal.

It’s an unorthodox name for a novelty milkshake, but after you’ve tried Arby’s newfangled beverage it all makes sense. The Liger Shake isn’t called that just because it looks like a pair of Cincinnati Bengals Zubaz workout pants in drinkable form – it truly is the harmonious synthesis of two distinct flavors that you’d never expect to merge together so well.

Arby s Liger Shake

The Liger Shake’s hook is pretty straightforward. It’s half orange cream – think, a ritzier version of that sherbet stuff we all ate in elementary school – and half Ghirardelli chocolate ice cream, with several rings of sludgier, in-house chocolate syrup tying everything together. Naturally, there’s also a hearty dollop of whipped cream to top things off, which makes comparisons to the beverages sold at a certain ubiquitous coffee chain all but unavoidable.

Unlike the Unicorn Frappuccino, however, this competing, swirl-centric offering from Arby’s is a classic milkshake through and through. While I’ve never been particularly fond of orange or chocolate-flavored shakes, combining the two makes for an unexpectedly satisfying combination. I guess the best thing to liken the Liger Shake to are Terry’s Chocolate Orange products – you know, those aluminum foil wrapped delicacies on store shelves every Christmas – mixed with the traditional Wendy’s Frosty.

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The shake has a very nice congealed consistency and the flavors mingle together quite well without either becoming too dominant. Somehow, someway, the fast food wizards at Arby’s managed to keep the orange-to-chocolate flavor ratio at an even-keel, and the end product is certain to please chocoholics and citrus-holics alike.

If I had to be a nitpicker, I’d take a few points off for the whipped cream (it has a nice aesthetic, but it gets milky fast and muddles with the flavor a bit) and the perhaps too sludgy chocolate swirls, which have a texture and overall mouthfeel that just doesn’t gel with the rest of the ingredients. That said, those minor flaws can easily be overlooked seeing how yummy the product taken as a whole is, and for less than three bucks, you simply can’t complain about the volume you’re getting here.

And as a nice bonus, this is one of the few fast food shakes that seems impervious to freezer burn. My leftover Liger Shake tasted just as flavorful and filling after two nights in the freezer as it did fresh out of the drive-thru lane – an attribute we can only pin on the product’s sturdy, crossbred genetics, perhaps?

(Nutrition Facts – Large – 680 calories, 180 calories from fat, 20 grams of total fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 440 milligrams of sodium, 116 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 104 grams of sugar, 15 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.89
Size: Large
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: The drink has a nice, creamy consistency. The orange and chocolate flavors mix together surprisingly well. Even the smaller version will fill you up.
Cons: The whipped cream doesn’t add a whole lot to the experience. The chocolate “rings” don’t complement the rest of the shake as well as they could. Wondering how long it’ll be before Arby’s rolls out their Zebroid, Wholphin and Beefalo follow-up shakes.

REVIEW: Arby’s Pizza Slider

Arby s Pizza Slider

Simple is good. You don’t need to reinvent the proverbial wheel for a limited time product to work – you just have to switch up the core idea of a product and present it as aesthetically and gustatorily pleasing as possible.

Arby’s all-new Pizza Sliders are a great example of fast food minimalism. It’s not too ambitious, it’s not too gimmicky, and it doesn’t try to be anything bigger or better than it really is. It’s just a gloriously uncomplicated minor tweak to the chain’s tried-and-true Sliders formula and that makes for a great value-priced (read: dollar menu) offering.

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It’s basically a miniature version of your classic Italian sub sammich. There’s a big chunk of pepperoni, several meaty chunks of Genoa salami, a hearty smattering of melted provolone cheese and a dollop of roasted garlic marinara sauce wedged in between the “mini-buns,” which are actually much larger than you’d expect them to be (for comparative purposes, I’d say they’re about twice the size of the mini-burgers at White Castle and Krystal.)

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If you’re trying to stretch a dollar, you’re definitely going to get your money’s worth here. Don’t let the “miniature” gimmick fool you, these things are remarkably dense and surprisingly filling. I ordered three of them and by the time I put down the third Slider I felt as if I had crammed down a full-sized meatball hoagie.

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But not all is well in Pizza Slider Town. The sandwich is also very salty, packing a walloping 930 milligrams of sodium. That’s about half the sodium content you’d find in something like Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr.’s Baby Back Rib Thickburger, a competing LTO burger easily three times the slider’s girth. So if you tear into these things sans a beverage on the side, don’t say I didn’t try to warn you.

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It’s a minor point of contention, but I also thought the marinara sauce could’ve been better (and, believe it or not, it’s not the same stuff Arby’s uses for its mozzarella sticks.) The sauce here is less tangy and more watery, and could really benefit from a pulpier blend and just a wee bit more garlic or oregano. It’s no deal breaker, though – and since the burger is only a buck, I suppose I can let it slide (get it, because it’s called a Slider?)

Terrible puns aside, these things are just dandy. They’re yummy, satisfying and super-duper affordable — essentially, everything you want out of a seasonal fast food item. And as far as imitation pizzas go, these things beat the susceptor-coated sleeves off Hot Pockets’ wannabe pizza sandwiches in overall quality and price.

(Nutrition Facts – 300 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of total fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 930 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugar, 13 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: The sandwiches have a LOT of pepperoni and salami on them. The melted mozzarella is fairly flavorful. Despite their stature, they are astonishingly filling.
Cons: The marinara sauce is kinda’ weak. All that sodium will have you chugging Aquafina like your uvula is on fire. Having no idea which packet of sauce to ask for to accompany the sandwich.