No one will ever be able to accuse Arby’s of not trying. While other fast food companies are content with slapping an extra slice of cheese on an existing product and calling it The Cheesasaurus Rex, or maybe “smoking” their bacon with some new exotic wood, Arby’s is out here swinging for the fences.
In 2016, it gave people the (extremely) limited edition venison sandwich with juniper berry sauce. The year after that, it offered an elk sandwich with blackberry port sauce. Or take, for instance, The Meat Mountain, a veritable Noah’s Ark of the drive-thru that features chicken tenders, ham, turkey, pastrami, roast beef, and bacon. (Oh, and some cheese, too.)
This brings us to the present day and Arby’s new Real Country Style Rib Sandwich. Is this offering a direct competitor to McDonald’s cult-favorite McRib, which also, incidentally, has its (mostly) annual re-release in the Fall? Did we exit the dark days of the Chicken Sandwich Wars only to find ourselves immediately entrenched in a Rib Sandwich Skirmish? A Rib Conflict? A Ribflict?
Well, not exactly.
See, Arby’s approach is a little more highbrow. Instead of processed pig parts of mysterious origin, its “real” ribs are sourced from Sadler’s, a Texas-based smokehouse. The ribs are smoked for eight hours “over real hickory wood.” The sandwich is then topped with melted Gouda, crispy onions, BBQ sauce, and mayo. Ooh-la-la, right? And so how is it?
Well, let’s start with the ribs. Look, I live in Kansas City, so, you know, BBQ and so forth. And here’s the deal with these ribs: they are shockingly not bad. I was surprised at how tender and flavorful the meat was; they even had a distinctly authentic smoke flavor. It was a sizable serving as well. Simply put, the ribs were easily the highlight of the sandwich.
But what about the other components?
The Gouda was creamy and melty, and added its own bit of welcomed smokiness. Sadly, the rest of the sandwich fell sort of flat. The mayo was… there? For some reason? And, while the idea of fried onion pieces was a good one, the execution was lacking; drowning in a sea of BBQ sauce and mayo, they had no chance at staying crunchy. Instead, they became soft globules of chewy onion.
And then you’ve got this BBQ sauce. Oy. This stuff.
It tasted like expired Bull’s-Eye brand sauce, or off-kilter ketchup, or maybe like aliens descended to Earth, and you explained what BBQ sauce is, and they tried to make it from scratch using ingredients foraged from a dumpster behind The Dollar Tree. It was awful, and there was a LAKE of the stuff on this sandwich, making the whole thing a gigantic, sloppy mess.
But, okay, awfulsauce aside, this thing is worth an order, at least to experience the ribs. But my suggestion would be to tell them to hold the BBQ sauce and then apply your own at home. Otherwise, you’ll be sorry.
Purchased Price: $5.99
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 500 calories, 23 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 1450 milligrams of sodium, 48 grams of carbohydrates, 3 gram of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 28 grams of protein.