Checkers And Rally's New Brisket Menu Is An Unexpected Deli & Smokehouse Mashup

In the spirit of the summer barbecue season, Checkers and Rally's have added a selection of brisket-loaded and topped offerings to the menu for a limited time. Promising juicy, slow-cooked brisket that lives up to the hype is a challenge for even the most seasoned pitmasters, but the fast food restaurant chain has taken on the challenge so you don't have to. The restaurants have added the BBQ Brisket Melt, Brisket Bosswich, and Brisket Loaded Fries to the menu so you can enjoy all the flavor without any of the work.

Many fast food restaurants have tried to tempt diners with brisket offerings over the years — from sliced brisket at Subway to brisket-stuffed burritos at Chipotle. But given how labor-intensive the process of cooking brisket is, and the undoubtedly high demand for this slow-cooked delicacy, very few restaurants have kept brisket on the menu for very long. Likewise, the brisket offerings at Checkers and Rally's won't even last all the way through July. We set out to taste everything on the seasonal menu before it disappears. Here's what you need to know about the limited-time offering.

How to try the limited time brisket menu

The new brisket sandwiches and loaded fries were introduced at Checkers and Rally's restaurants everywhere on May 27th, just in time for National Brisket Day on May 28th. If the limited-time brisket menu is something you're interested in, don't wait to give it a try — it'll only be available until July 28th, or while supplies last. There are over 800 Checkers and Rally's locations in the U.S., so there's a good chance there's a restaurant near you, or somewhere along the way during your summer travels.

Prices will vary by location, but the BBQ Brisket Melt starts at $3.49 before taxes, $7.29 for the Brisket Bosswich, and $4.89 for the Brisket Loaded Fries. Some areas, like New York City, have slightly higher prices, where the BBQ Brisket Melt costs $3.99, a regular-sized Brisket Loaded Fries costs $5.49, and a large fries costs $7.29. Combo options are also available, costing anywhere from $7.49 to $12.59 at my Checkers restaurant location in NYC, depending on which sandwich and which size combo you choose. Of course, delivery prices and modifications may cost extra.

What's on the new BBQ Brisket Melt

The BBQ Brisket Melt is part bodega-style patty melt and part country-style barbecue sandwich. From bottom to top, it's made with a beef burger patty, American cheese, beef brisket, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, dill pickles, and red onions — all on lightly grilled Texas toast.

When opening the wrapper, you're greeted with a sandwich that could pass for a modest school lunch sandwich, made with toasted slices of what looks like regular white sandwich bread. The toasted bread helps prevent the sandwich from getting soggy, even with both BBQ sauce and mayonnaise on the sandwich. There's little more than a spoonful of brisket on the sandwich, which is a little underwhelming to look at, but is ultimately balanced out by the burger patty and the rest of the toppings.

There are several ways to customize the BBQ Brisket Melt, including adding on an additional burger patty, American cheese, bacon, and even adding fries directly to the sandwich. All of the additions come with an extra charge, although it may be worth it if you're in the mood for a more substantial sandwich. If you'd like a little more brisket on your patty melt, you should consider ordering the Brisket BOSSWICH instead.

What's on the Brisket Bosswich

The Brisket Bosswich boasts three times the amount of brisket as the BBQ Brisket Melt and a larger burger patty, although the rest of the sandwich's ingredients are exactly the same. Like the smaller version of the sandwich, you have the option to add another burger patty, American cheese, bacon, and fries to the Brisket Bosswich — which would be so much sandwich that I'm not even sure the bread could contain it all.

The additional brisket really stands out on the Bosswich sandwich, and there's a noticeable difference in the size of the two brisket sandwich options. More brisket helps to bring the patty melt and BBQ flavors together, instead of simply tasting like a patty melt with BBQ sauce on it. The pops of flavor from the dill pickles and red onions help balance the richness of the meats and cheese, for a comforting sandwich that's much more than the sum of its parts.

Brisket Loaded Fries

Possibly Checkers' biggest claim to fame (other than its instantly noticeable black and white checkered flag branding) is its Famous Seasoned Fries, which are seasoned with a secret blend of spices. They even come in sizes ranging from small to Fry Lover's XL for those who just can't get enough. And honestly, they're pretty great. They're nothing like the salty golden shoestring McDonald's fries but slightly thicker, more tender, and more crackly fries that pack quite a bit of flavor.

The Brisket Loaded Fries take what Checkers already does well and adds melted cheddar cheese sauce, brisket, BBQ sauce, red onions, and pickles. What's not to love about that? When ordering, you also have the option to add extra onions or pickles for no extra charge, plus extra cheese sauce for an additional charge. The regular-size Brisket Loaded Fries was enough for one person to comfortably eat, or two people to share. The large version could feed several people, or potentially serve as an entrée for anyone who loves loaded fries.

Is the Checkers and Rally's Brisket menu worth a try?

You really can't go wrong with a boat of fries loaded with cheese sauce and topped with brisket and onions. Even though my fries didn't come with pickles, I was far from disappointed — two slices of dill pickle weren't going to make or break this snack. Next time, I'll probably order them with more cheese sauce, though.

The BBQ Brisket Melt seems like a good deal at $3.99, but I was a little disappointed when I opened the sandwich and saw just how little brisket was inside. Even though the Brisket Bosswich is almost double the price, the additional brisket makes for a much more satisfying sandwich. The brisket is both flavorful and juicy, and along with the BBQ sauce, adds just the right amount of unexpected complexity to an otherwise simple patty melt.

While you can order both the BBQ Brisket Melt and the Bosswich as a combo, neither of those combos includes the option of upgrading your fries to the Brisket Loaded Fries. This seems like a missed opportunity for those who want to indulge in a little brisket feast with both the fries and sandwich. Instead, you'll have to order them separately and add on a drink, or order a combo (which includes fries) and add on the Brisket Loaded Fries. Luckily, Checkers' Famous Seasoned Fries are great all on their own too, or even stuffed into your sandwich.

Tasting methodology

Typically, if any part of a meal includes cheese sauce, that's the part of the meal you should dive into first. As you're probably aware, warm cheese sauce is always better than cold, potentially coagulated cheese sauce. So, I kicked off this particular tasting with the Brisket Loaded Fries, where I could also get a mostly unadulterated taste of the brisket itself. Next, I moved on to the BBQ Brisket Melt to get an idea of the brisket baseline for the sandwiches, and then to the Brisket Bosswich for comparison.

Having tasted Checkers cheeseburgers and fries in the past, I assumed the fries and burger patties themselves would be enjoyable. Based on the promotional images on the Checkers website, the sandwiches were a letdown at first glance. Fortunately, what the sandwiches lacked in visual presentation was made up for by the taste of brisket, which was cooked just right. The Bosswich sandwich and Brisket Loaded Fries might not be the cheapest options on the menu, but they're what I'm going to be thinking about long after summer is over.