Arby’s… They absolutely have the meats!
This week in anticipation of the episode 7 podcast I stopped by my local Arby’s to review what has been hailed as a returning champion; the Smoked Pork Belly Sandwich. And I was not disappointed with the show.
The sandwich is stuffed with thick cuts of slow roasted, hickory smoked pork, topped with crispy onion straws, smoked cheddar cheese, barbeque sauce and mayo. This is no sandwich to shake a stick at, this is the real deal and has earned the respect it deserves.
The pork was amazing, tender and juicy, falling apart easily with each bite. The flavor of this smoky meat was unlike anything I had experience before, even at Arby’s. The lean meat of the pork belly was lined with slim trimmings of fat that delivered so much flavor it was hard to stifle an audible groan as I savored every second of the meal.
The onion straws, while not crispy, did add a lot of flavor to the sandwich. And while I would have liked the onions to add a mouthfeel, I did not find myself any less attracted to this sandwich because they didn’t. It’s almost as if Arby’s knew what they had was good, and that the feeling you needed to experience was the tender pork fiber. So instead of distracting you with an unnecessary crunch, they added soft, breaded onions for flavor.
So unfortunately, there were a few downsides and, as an impartial professional food critic, I feel obligated to bring them up. The Pork belly did have one large “hunk” of fat that was too big to eat. And while that may sound gross, take this as a testament to how good this item actually is. Because, on a lesser sandwich, I would have called this fatty error a fatal flaw. Besides the fat, I was a little confused by the inclusion of the mayo. It already had barbeque sauce, so there was no risk of it being dry, and the mayo itself didn’t really add anything to the flavor. So, I was admittedly bewildered by why Arby’s felt the need to include Mayo. The last and maybe critical flaw of the Smoked Pork Belly Sandwich is the price. Coming in at a whopping $9.60 after tax, this meal was nearly as expensive as the famed Meat Mountain. And while you get an incredible experience for the price, it’s nearly impossible to justify getting this more than once.
Final thoughts, save up some coin in your piggy bank, and on your favorite night of the week, when friends, family, cousins and grandma all load into the van for the weekly trip to support your local Arby’s… #SupportYourLocalArbys… treat yourself to the return of the champion, the Smoked Pork Belly Sandwich.
By: Tony Prete
Co-Editor of AVFTDT Podcast