You Probably Didn't Know Arby's Served Deer Meat

Arby's slogan, "We have the meats," has encompassed the chain's broad menu options for nearly a decade now. Crazy how time flies, right? Back in 2014 when this slogan was still new, the chain wanted to draw in younger customers, Eater notes. What better way to do that than prove your culinary versatility?

Over the years, Arby's menu has offered a wide range of different meats. Chicken tenders. Turkey. Ham. Smoked brisket. Steak. Bacon. Pork belly. Duck breast. And of course, the classic roast beef. Although the list seems long, some of these items were limited time promotions. Duck, for example, was on the menu only for duck hunting season in 2016, according to Delish.

Venison (deer meat) was another one of these promotions. If you're a big Arby's fan, you might remember this period of excitement and intrigue back in 2016 and 2017. How many fast food chains can you name that serve deer meat?

The venison sandwich phenomenon

Arby's first launch of the venison sandwich took place for only three days, and in only five of the biggest states for deer hunting, according to Forbes. (Those states were mostly in the midwest — Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan — as well as Pennsylvania and Georgia.) For its second launch in 2017, the venison sandwich — which was topped with a juniper berry sauce and fried onions, while the meat was marinated in garlic — was offered in all 50 states. This time, the chain released another short-time offer: the elk sandwich. Surprised? But, like the original launch of the venison sandwich, the elk sandwich promotion was only available in three states already popular for elk hunting.

These two meat options might seem a bit strange — we don't see them too often, if ever, at other chain restaurants — but they have some great health benefits. Both deer and elk meats are lower in calories and fat than chicken, beef, and other common meats, per Good Housekeeping. They're also both higher in protein than other red meats.

Thrillist claims Arby's was the first chain to offer venison nationwide. The promotion may have sold out in a single day, but perhaps another day will come.