The Reason Arby's New Spicy Sandwich Comes With A Free Shake

Arby's has become so synonymous with its roast beef sandwiches that, at various times in the not-too-distant past, it's had to go out of its way to convey that they in fact have the "meats" — emphasis on the fact that "meats" is plural and therefore not exclusive to just roast beef (via AdWeek). The company has also made an effort to say that it's not referring to a platter of Sunday roast, but rather meats "for sandwiches" (via Guilty Eats). Now, with the introduction of its latest offering, the "Diablo Dare," It would appear that Arby's has its eye on situating itself in the spicy food challenge space — along with its affiliated brand, Buffalo Wild Wings, which has long been known for inspiring customers to embrace capsaicin, or "cry" trying.

According to a company press release, Arby's new Diablo Dare sandwich, which can be made with either "13-hour smoked brisket or crispy chicken," gets its heat from four different spicy hot peppers: habanero, ghost pepper, jalapeño, and chipotle. They are layered throughout the sandwich in the form of ghost pepper jack cheese, fire-roasted jalapeños, Arby's new Diablo BBQ sauce, and its signature fiery hot seasoning — not to mention a toasted bun flavored with red chipotle. Available for a limited time (from January 10 through February 6), the Diablo Dare promises the "ultimate spicy experience for those who dare." Oh, and during its limited run, the Diablo Dare comes with a free shake. Can you guess the reason why?

Arby's new sandwich and milkshake deal offers a brief but useful chemistry lesson

To prove its new Diablo Dare sandwich is "setting a new standard of spice," Arby's is offering a free vanilla milkshake with each DD ordered to "cool your mouth ... between bites," as noted in a company press release. But why a milkshake, as opposed to, say, an icy cold soda or even plain old water? 

The heat in chili peppers comes from an oily compound called "capsaicin," which binds to receptors on the tongue to create that "burning sensation," per the U.S. Dairy Industry's official website. Because oil can't mix with water (or soda, which is basically flavored bubbly water), gulping it only spreads the burning sensation further around your mouth. By contrast, milk and milk-based products contain a fat-soluble substance called casein, which can bind with capsaicin and help rinse it away — or at least down your gullet toward your intestines, where it will remain for another roughly 36 hours, according to Mayo Clinic

In fact, the Diablo Dare/milkshake pairing is such an important selling point for Arby's that it will be the focal point for an upcoming TikTok challenge. Starting on January 18, the "Diablo Dare Hashtag Challenge" invites fans can "go on TikTok and use a branded effect filter to show their followers how much of the Diablo Dare sandwich they can take before reaching for relief with the vanilla shake," per the press release. Participants, and those who just want to observe the mayhem, are invited to follow along using the hashtag, #ArbysDiabloDare.