Once every five years or so I am seized with a desire to eat at the Golden Arches of McDonald’s or the majestic palace of the Burger King. Images of hamburgers as seen in print, TV, and on the screen of childhood memories crowd my hungy mind. I am always disappointed. The wet cardboard like patties sometimes taste vaguely beef-like, but the sandwich never ever looks the picture. I always find myself wondering why I even bothered to order one. So when I was drawn like a moth to a fast-food flame by Arby’s new Smokehouse Brisket I was prepared to be disappointed. I’d been burned by fast food before. Plus, I know a thing or two about barbeque and am always especially leery of a fast-food joint purporting to offer barbeque. By its very nature barbeque is all about patience. Meats smoke for hours and hours on end. The only thing quick about barbeque is the service, just slice and serve.
At the risk of having my judging credentials in the Kansas City Barbeque Society revoked I am here to tell you that the Arby’s Smokehouse Brisket ain’t half bad. The meat,which they say is smoked for 13 hours, has a rosy smoke ring and is tender enough. Topped with smoked gouda, onion rings, barbeque sauce and thankfully just a touch of mayo and no more, it’s the best barbeque sandwich I have ever had in fast-food spot. And it is with no small amount of pride that I note that my fair borough of Queens boasts the only two Arby’s in New York City. Yes, I am aware that is not real barbeque, but for what it is, it’s tasty enough. Just don’t tell my meat and smoke loving alter ego, Joey Deckle, that I’ve been eating it.