Arby's Brown Sugar Bacon Sandwiches Review: A Powerful Blast Of Meaty Sweetness

If you smell an intoxicating sugary, porky fragrance emanating from your nearest Arby's sometime over the next few weeks, don't be surprised. The chain just launched a limited-edition set of sandwiches that combine two of the most craveable ingredients in the world: brown sugar and bacon.

By now, we all know that bacon plays well with sweet ingredients, but the secret to success with these kinds of flavor combinations is all about the ratios. Did Arby's achieve the proper balance of sweet to savory in its new Brown Sugar Bacon sandwiches? Arby's sent all three of the limited-time menu items to my house so I could try them for myself. These sandwiches were a ton of fun, though the amount of sugar on the bacon almost sent them into meat dessert territory. While none of them was good enough to dethrone the classic Beef 'N Cheddar as the king of Arby's sandwiches, they're still definitely worth a try if you're an Arby's regular who's looking to switch up your routine.

What's in the Brown Sugar Bacon sandwiches?

As you can guess by the name, the star of the Brown Sugar Bacon sandwiches is sweet bacon. And this bacon isn't just flavored with brown sugar — it's coated in a thick, crunchy brown sugar shell. The lineup includes three sandwiches, all served on King's Hawaiian rolls. These aren't the typical slider-sized rolls you'll find in a pack at the grocery store; they're large Hawaiian burger buns perfect for containing copious amounts of meat.

The first sandwich on the menu pairs the brown sugar bacon with ... more bacon. That's right, the Brown Sugar Bacon BLT combines Arby's standard, salty bacon with its special candied bacon. The package is rounded out with mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato.

The other two options, the Turkey & Brown Sugar Bacon and Beef & Brown Sugar Bacon sandwiches, are both made with creamy Dijon spread, Swiss cheese, lettuce, brown sugar bacon, and tomato. The only difference is whether you want poultry or red meat.

How much do they cost, and where are they available?

Arby's released these sandwiches on February 20 — the chain says that they're a limited-time offering, but it hasn't revealed a hard end date. Before heading out to buy a Brown Sugar Bacon sandwich, you should check that your local Arby's carries them, as they're only being sold at participating locations.

The Brown Sugar Bacon BLT is advertised as starting at $6.49, with both the bacon and turkey sandwiches going for $6.69. However, the exact price will vary depending on where you live; in my area, the BLT is $7.29 and the other sandwiches are $7.49. Adding fries and a drink pushes the total up over $11. These prices are competitive with other fast food entrees in my region and the sandwiches are quite large, so you're getting decent value for the money given how much the cost of fast food has risen in the past couple of years.

How do they compare to other Arby's menu items?

Most of the other items on Arby's current limited-time menu are fish sandwiches, just in time for Lent. One fish option comes on a King's Hawaiian bun, just like the Brown Sugar Bacon sandwiches.

On the whole, the Brown Sugar Bacon sandwiches fit in with the chain's "We have the meats" ethos. They might not measure up to Arby's legendary off-menu Meat Mountain sandwich (which may come with as many as nine types of meat), but still, the protein is piled high.

Beyond these limited-time offerings, only a couple of Arby's menu items contain bacon: the Chicken Bacon Swiss sandwich and the Roast Turkey Ranch & Bacon sandwich. You can add bacon to any sandwich you want, however. Maybe if you ask extra nicely, you could even modify your favorite sandwich with brown sugar bacon while it's still on the menu. The creamy Dijon mustard spread appears to be unique to the Brown Sugar Bacon lineup.

Brown Sugar Bacon sandwiches nutrition

In what should come as a surprise to nobody, the Brown Sugar Bacon sandwiches are pretty indulgent from a nutritional perspective. The turkey sandwich is the lightest at 629 calories, while the beef sandwich and the BLT register at 702 and 703 calories respectively.

The turkey sandwich has 35 grams of sugar and the beef contains 34 (the BLT is listed as only having 3 grams of sugar, but I'm pretty sure that's a typo; it certainly doesn't taste like it has dramatically less sugar than the other two). For reference, a can of Coke has 39 grams, so these sandwiches have an intense amount of sugar for what are ostensibly savory lunch foods.

All three sandwiches contain over half of the FDA-recommended daily values of sodium and saturated fat. In other words, it would be hard to stay within the FDA dietary allowances for salt, saturated fat, and added sugar on a day when you ate one of Arby's Brown Sugar Bacon sandwiches. On the plus side, they all contain over 30 grams of protein.

Brown Sugar Bacon BLT review

This was my least favorite item. I never thought I'd say this, but it just had too much bacon in it — the layer of bacon strips was almost an inch thick. And as I mentioned above, the brown sugar coating on this bacon is robust. It gives the bacon an extra layer of crunch, but it's incredibly sweet — too sweet on its own for my tastes. The non-sugared bacon did do a lot to prevent the whole sandwich from being too sweet, but the massive amount of salty-sweet cured pork became overwhelming after a while. The fact that the bun was also sweet didn't help the sandwich to feel balanced, although the bread did taste fresh, fluffy, and delicious by itself.

The BLT I received wasn't built completely to Arby's corporate specs — it had the same Dijon spread as the other two sandwiches instead of mayo like it was supposed to. I don't think it made a big difference, as the bacon was so potent that the garnishes didn't have much of an effect. The lettuce and tomato looked nice but didn't contribute much in the way of flavor. I ended up eating this sandwich in two shifts because I got tired of it halfway through.

Turkey/Beef & Brown Sugar Bacon sandwich review

Which one of these you like more will depend entirely on your preference for turkey or beef. My favorite was the beef, but it was a close call. I enjoyed both of these more than the BLT because the addition of non-bacon meats made the sandwiches less overwhelmingly sweet and salty. With just a few strips of bacon instead of a whole mouthful, I could taste the other components like the Dijon spread, lettuce, and tomato more clearly. The Dijon had a nice little kick to it and the vegetables added freshness.

I liked the beef slightly more than the turkey because its savory flavor canceled out some of the excessive sweetness of the brown sugar bacon. While Arby's turkey was quite well-seasoned and salty, it was still more bland than the beef, which meant I noticed the cloying qualities of the bacon more in the turkey sandwich. The brown sugar bacon was a fun gimmick (and I did appreciate how crispy it was, even when cold), but I'm not sure I enjoyed it more than plain bacon on a sandwich. If I was designing these menu items, I'd dial down the sugar a few notches.