Hungry for some venison? Head to Arby's on Saturday

The two-week deer-hunting season doesn’t kick off until the Monday after Thanksgiving. So if you’re jonesing for a nice juicy piece of venison and can’t find a hunter who has some of last year’s bounty still in the freezer, it’s going to be awhile.

Unless, that is, you can make it to Arby’s this weekend.

On Saturday, the chain restaurant known for its hand-sliced roast beef sandwiches will live up to its “We Have the Meats” slogan by once again featuring its signature venison sandwich.

Recognizing game meat lovers were an underserved market, last November Arby’s debuted a 5 ½-ounce thick-cut venison steak sandwich at 17 locations (including six in Pittsburgh) in five deer-hunting states. It turned out to be such a  sleeper hit — scoring one of the sandwiches was akin to winning the lottery, with stores selling out in hours instead of days  —  that this year the sandwich is on the menu in all of Arby’s 3,400 locations nationwide.  

Sourced in New Zealand, the farm-raised, grass-fed meat is taken from the hind quarter leg of the deer. To soften the meat’s gamey notes, it’s marinated in garlic, salt and pepper before being vacuum-sealed in a plastic pouch and cooked in a water bath (a process known as sous vide) for three hours. It’s then sliced thick and placed on a star-topped toasted roll with crispy fried onion and a Cabernet steak sauce infused with tart and piney juniper berries. 

At 490 calories, the $7 sandwich is a tad more fattening than the restaurant’s classic roast beef sandwich (360 calories). But it boasts more than twice the amount of protein (50 grams per serving compared to 23) and also is higher in carbs and lower in sodium and saturated fat. 

If you want to push the game meat boundaries even further, and are in the American West on Saturday, Arby’s culinary team is trotting out a limited-edition elk sandwich at three locations (Thornton, Colo., Casper, Wyo., and Billings, Mont.). It also will be served on a specialty bun with crispy onions and a blackberry port steak sauce. 

The venison sandwich will be available in all 41 locations in and around Pittsburgh on Saturday starting at 10 a.m., as well as in seven stores across the state line in Ohio. Quantities are limited, and they’re expected to go very quickly. So if you want to try it, game on.

For a store locator, visit 

Gretchen McKay:, 412-263-1419 or on Twitter @gtmckay.


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