A year ago, Arby’s released their venison sandwich in select markets around the nation and it sold out everywhere. Many critics wrote that they were pleasantly surprised and the sandwich had good flavor. That was enough to get Arby’s to release the sandwich nationwide this month for a limited time.
When they say limited, they really mean it. Venison meat isn’t as popular in the states so Arby’s had to use a New Zealand distributor for their farm-raised and grass-fed venison steaks. This meant a limited supply and from talking with the Arby’s staff, each location was only allotted a certain amount of sandwiches to sell. With smaller quantities, many Arby’s around the nation have already sold out. If this is something you want to try, be sure to call ahead to see if they have any in stock.
I called the north Rock Road location and they had 15 on hand so I quickly stopped by over lunch to see (or more appropriately taste) what all the hype was about. The venison sandwich costs $7 by itself or you can pay $9 for the full meal with their addictive curly fries. Each location only limits you to two per guest. Since I was unable to talk any of my colleagues to try one, I was running solo on this adventure.
If you compare the picture of the sandwich to what’s in the ad, it wasn’t even close to the same. Is it ever? What I received was a dark grey burger that did not look appealing at all. The only similarities between the picture and what I received was the thickness of the venison steak. I took some pictures of the sandwich and posted them on my Instagram story and the amount of replies back commenting on how gross it looked were numerous and hilarious.
The venison sandwich comes in a star top bun with the venison steak, crispy onions and Juniper Berry steak sauce. The venison steak was cooked medium with a slight pink inside. The two biggest questions I had were “Was it gamey tasting?” and “Did it smell?”. The answer to both would be no. It’s not wild deer so that may have something to do with it. I like venison in general so I wasn’t too concerned with it but others may so your fears can be alleviated now.
I pulled the sandwich apart to take the below picture and sat there thinking about a younger version of myself watching Bambi and how horrified I was during the scene with Bambi’s mother. But I knew I had an obligation to you, the readers, to set aside my sadness, grief and fears to continue this blog.
First bite in wasn’t the most pleasant. The meat was very tough and chewy. I looked to my left and saw a group of guys eating the same sandwich and gnawing away at their meal. Every now and then you would get some gristle that you would tug away and end up pulling the whole venison steak from the bread. This was a common occurrence as I casually eyed the restaurant and my fellow venison eaters.
The onion strings were supposed to add some crunch to the sandwich but ended up being soggy after soaking up the sauce. Meanwhile the sauce added a sweet and tangy bite to the sandwich. Each bite I took felt as if it had less sauce on it and became more chewy and mushy as my lunch progressed. I struggled to finish the sandwich. As I sat there watching my sandwich grow smaller in size, I had to repeat what my mother would tell me over and over when I wanted to quit eating: “Think about the starving children in Ethiopia!!!”
Eventually I appeased my mother’s lessons and finished the sandwich. I already knew my afternoon would be a struggle. It didn’t sit well with me all day long. Friends would text me and check up on my well-being only to be given a sick looking emoji or a thumbs down.
Word is Arby’s also has an elk meat sandwich they are testing in limited markets. After my experience with the venison sandwich, I already know how I feel about ordering the elk meat sandwich if it goes nationwide. SIGN ME UP!!!! Yes, I’m a guy and can never learn a lesson.
If you can get your hands on one and are brave enough to try, get your venison sandwich while you can at participating Arby’s. It’s only available for a limited time and when I say limited time, I mean limited in stores and in your digestive system.
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