This week I reached out for a Smoked Italian Porchetta Sandwich, new from our nationwide meat locker, Arby's, with 3,300 restaurants smoking, roasting, baking, what have you, anything that moos, oinks, or clucks.
Each year, Arby's "innovation team" tests more than 1,000 products. In recent months, the barons of roast beef have intro'd pork belly and venison sandwiches. My advice to anything that walks on four legs ... don't walk, run!
So what is porchetta? Think lean, meaty pork loin wrapped in fatty, juicy pork belly. Porchetta's home is Umbria in Central Italy, where folks buy porchetta sandwiches on the street for their evening stroll. It's an Italian thing.
Here's the Smoked Italian Porchetta Sandwich breakdown
Thinly sliced porchetta, topped with melted provolone cheese, and bottomed - yes, veggies down below - with lettuce, tomato, red onion, banana peppers, Italian seasonings, red wine vinaigrette, and garlic aioli on a toasted sub roll.
Total calories: 690. Fat grams: 42. Sodium: 2,190 milligrams. Carbs: 46 grams. Dietary fiber: 3 grams. Protein: 30 grams. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $5.49.
With all that smoky porchetta, provolone, vinaigrette, and garlic aioli, your breath will qualify for Italian citizenship after one of these sandwiches.
Arby's brags, "We have the meats," so let's cross off porchetta. You can find limited-time-only's like venison and brown sugar bacon, and full-timers like smoked brisket, Angus steak, corned beef, roast turkey, pepper bacon, and roast beef. Carnivores, Arby's is for you.
Arby's slow smokes its porchetta for eight hours, so the pork belly fat seeps into the pork roll, producing a heavy-duty pork sandwich that's tender and tasty. The veggies are piled high and the vinaigrette and aioli slam everything home. This is something different and special. It pops in your mouth, loud and strong.
Hearty appetites can grade up to the Mount Italy Sandwich, $6.99, which starts with a Smoked Italian Porchetta Sandwich and adds pit-smoked ham, salami, and pepperoni. It's as Italian as you'll get in a U.S. drive-through.