Arby’s is in a very confused place. With the price of beef being sky-high, Arby’s has been trying to develop a greater range of pork, poultry and fish offerings to balance out their menu. The addition of new fish sandwiches on their menu had necessitated the addition of a fish-focused pairing: hushpuppies.
Released in late December on the cusp of the new year, Arby’s Jalapeño Hushpuppies were an attempt to create a side dish specifically for Arby’s latest fish sandwich offerings.
After the jump, we’ll put these puppies on the show circuit and give them an official judgement… Or just see if they tasted good.
For the unaware viewers, hushpuppies are balls of deep-fried cornmeal batter. They’re a common Southern treat to be paired with fried fish, and have a mysterious etymology steeped in incorrect folklore.
The very first thing we noticed is that these hushpuppies were… sad. Really sad. They looked pale with burnt edges, and way too small. These puppies were without a doubt the runts of the litter.
This is disappointing when you consider that the only other fast food hushpuppies of note are the ones from Long John Silver’s, which are massive and frankly superior in every way. We’ve tried to keep the comparisons to a minimum, but that’s as big of a struggle as not comparing Burger King’s BBQ Rib to the McRib.
The first bite confirmed that they tasted every bit as sad as they looked. For some godforsaken reason, the hushpuppies were flecked with repulsive, slimy chunks of corn. Who thought this was a good idea? Hushpuppies don’t traditionally come with whole corn kernels, but when they do, it should at least be fresh corn, not slimy barely-reheated frozen nuggets of misery.
As they’re supposed to be jalapeño hushpuppies, you’d expect even the slightest bit of heat. This is not the case. These ‘spicy’ pups came with nothing but a nasty, vegetal aftertaste that lingered long past the taste of corn, coupled with an inexplicable sticky sweetness that muffled any residue heat that could have possibly existed.
Compounding this was how they were soaked, and we mean soaked in fryer oil. They were greasy enough to leave a palpable film on our fingers and lips after eating. It was absolutely horrible, and we needed an excess of paper towels to clean ourselves off.
Their oily exterior held a nasty secret inside: the cornmeal was completely, mouth-coatingly dry. The only way to make these tolerable was to dip them in Arby’s Bronco Berry sauce, which… didn’t even come with the item, depending on where you ordered from. We’ve heard that some places would give them out as accompaniments, but our experience was that we had to ask at the window for a cup. And as much as it helped the flavor, it did nothing for the texture: sauce plus oil equals not fun.
At two dollars for five hushpuppies, it really wasn’t worth it for the value (imagine eating the equivalent amount in fries and you’ll see our point). Frankly, it was a chore to eat these. Having to chew our way through greasy dry lumps of corn and jalapeño was boring and disgusting.
1 out of 5 – Simply Shameful
These were an absolute flop on virtually all fronts. From value, to flavor, to appearence, to even the mere concept, these were unappealing. We were glad to see these get jettisoned rather quickly.
Allergens: Egg, milk, soy, wheat