Years of Grumpy Cat and Bad Luck Brian memes has proven that the internet is fertile ground for viral ideas. They don’t even need to be true to spread; I hear Scumbag Steve really got his life on track.
Fast food is no exception.
We’ve all heard that Taco Bell gives you diarrhea, that KFC can’t use chicken in their name because they use vat-grown chickenoids, and that Four of the Guys killed and ate the other to gain his power. We know that no one likes Arby’s.
See what I mean? The Simpsons make a joke twenty years ago, the idea goes viral, and the conventional opinion of a fast food franchise is set for decades.
I like Arby’s. It has a consistently good core menu and often has some interesting limited time items. Plus, any franchise with the guts to serve Bambi on a bun gets my support.
One of Arby’s newest offerings is the Texas Brisket Sandwich, featuring smoked brisket, crispy onion strings, dill pickles, and Texas-style barbecue sauce on Texas toast. Arby’s has had success with its brisket in the past. How does this one stand up?
Upon opening, I’m underwhelmed. I understand that “toasted” often needs to be put in quotation marks when it comes to fast food, but I was hoping that this Texas toast would live up to its name and offer a crispy counterpoint to the soft brisket. At best, this looks like it was angrily glared at by a cowboy who’s had his cattle rustled. Or maybe by a fast food patron who was expecting his Texas toast to at least be thicker than regular bread.
On the inside, Arby’s is keeping things simple with just meat, sauce, onion strings, and pickles. This can work when the fundamentals are strong, and Arby’s brisket has impressed me in the past, so I was hopeful.
The first bite is tangy. Very tangy. The sauce dominates every other flavor, and the pickles offer a very unneeded sharp bite at the end. “This is fine,” I tell myself. Any moment now that fatty, unctuous brisket will cut through the sharpness and bring everything into balance. Another bite reveals a mild smokiness, but the brisket itself remains dry and disappointing.
I remember Arby’s brisket being much better than this. Have they changed it recently? The Smokehouse Brisket sandwich was delicious when I had it. Then again, that one does feature copious amounts of cheese and mayo. As a Midwesterner, I admit it’s easy to trick me into thinking that something tastes good with the ol’ add-cheese-and-mayo trick, but I swear the brisket itself was better too.
So, it turns out that Terri and Sherri Mackleberry were right twenty years ago. Arby’s is kinda mediocre, at least with this offering.
(Nutrition Facts – 620 calories, 29 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 1450 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 37 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $5.69
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Mild smokiness is pleasing when it presents itself.
Cons: Tanginess doesn’t balance with other flavors. Brisket is dry and missing the fatty element needed to balance the sauce and pickles.