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I've eaten 3x @ Arby's in the past weeks. Like the roast beef. But as I was looking at the very thinly slide meat I had the thought, is this a hunk on very thinly slided roast beef or is the pressed beef that has been roasted then sliced? It didn't look like beef but rather if I imagine making spam out of beef and then thinly slicing it.

Don't get me wrong I think the sandwich is good but just cruious, is it pressed meat?

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  1. Arby's stopped serving whole, slow-roasted beef in the 1970s. They then switched to a processed beef product made of trimmed and pressed beef, sealed in a beef solution, and aged in cryovac. Bottom line: it's cheaper.

    3 Replies
    1. re: monkeyrotica

      I remember when my son was little and we would go to the mall, he would have an Arby's Jr. We stopped that practice after he got a sandwich with meat that must have been from the day before. It was dry and flakey!

      1. re: monkeyrotica

        I remember late-70's going to Arby's and they had a large roast out in a slicer and sliced the beef to order as you watched. Now I go once in a great while and have a fresh market sandwich, either a BLT or Reuben and of course, a potato cake with lots of Horsey sauce!

        1. re: LikestoEatout

          LOVE that Horsey sauce! I get as much as I can from them and put it on other take out items from other outlets.

      2. I find it amazing that people eat that stuff at Arby's and Subway. It's amazing what people will settle for in terms of calling a foodstuff "meat" these days. I've had roast beef before. Arbys most definitely does not sell anything I'd refer to as roast beef. I've had turkey before. Subway does not sell anything I'd refer to as turkey.

        2 Replies
        1. re: gordeaux

          Well, there's good nasty food (like say a Steak Um with Cheez Wiz) and there's nasty nasty food. I'd put Arby's in the latter. The "roast beef" is positively spongy; it's like you're eating a Dr. Scholl's Air Pillow Insole that's been soaked in beef boullion.

          1. re: gordeaux

            I had to go to Subway this weekend (not my choice), and I saw the chicken breasts sitting out...at least, that's what they were supposed to be. Pale white, fake grill marks, who knows when they were cooked...

          2. I recently had the extreme pleasure of dining at Benjie's New York Style Deli (restaurant) here where I live in the 'OC'. The place is an OC landmark restaurant in business since 1967. Evidnetly they've been doing it right ever since to be in business that long. Now you want to talk about real slow roasted roast beef and beef brisket sandwiches? I don't think you'd ever go back to an Arby's. Both times we've been there the place is jam packed.

            1. The last time I went to Arby's was in the mid 70's. The roast beef was so gross (and so obviously not actually sliced roast beef) that I put a sample in the freezer with plans to have it analyzed by a lab somewhere (I was younger then; now I would just toss it in the trash and move on). I'm pretty sure that I never got around to sending it to the lab though...

              1. Eat some potato cakes with arby/horsie/mustard sauces mixed together and you'll forget all about their crackly beef.

                1 Reply
                1. re: drgnflychic

                  I know its the dregs in terms of quality beef, but I LOVE a LARGE roast beef sandwich.. mmmm..

                2. it is 'pressed beef' for lack of a better term. oddly enough i like it too, but i don't think of it as roast beef, but as an interesting meat like foodstuff.

                  1. Well, it's certainly NOT roasted beef, but if you cover it with enough Arby sauce and Horsey sauce and cheese sauce you can almost disguise the taste and texture.
                    Actually, I do like their chicken sandwiches and curly fries, and sometimes I sin against my body and nature and eat a roast beef sandwich. I'm so ashamed...

                    1. i think regardless of what it is, the roast beef sandwich has its charms--especially with the arby sauce. also enjoy the arby melt, with or without the onions. i think arby's is a pretty good fast food place.

                      1. One of the more revolting fast food experiences I've had was trying to choke down one of those "roast beef" melt sandwiches. I have no idea what they do to the "meat" but it barely tasted like beef to me. It had more of a weird ham flavor, and that orange sauce... gack. When you can't even get a guilty pleasure from a fast food sandwich, that's pretty bad.

                        1. what can i say? sometimes nothing hits the spot like the arbys beef and cheddar, on the onion roll, with lots of horsey sauce and arby sauce to spare. yes, its fake beef and fake cheese... but when i eat it, im 10 again. its like the mac and cheese in the blue box debate... it is what it is, and theres a certain taste to it, and thats why its good. (even if the taste is called "fake.")

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: elnora

                            I'm not ashamed to admit I like the Arby's roast beef, however it's made. My peeve is the bun - I wish any of the fast food joints would give you the option of a decent crusty roll. When we visit Buffalo on my wife's shopping marathons, I often enjoy a "roast beef on a weck" - sliced beef on a crusty roll. There's something very enjoyable about the contrast between the crisp crust, the sharp horseradish, and the slightly chewy beef. Those "melt in your mouth" buns that are endemic to fast food joints mar the entire experience.

                            1. re: KevinB

                              You can ask them to make you a roast beef sandwich on the bread they use for a Reuben. You have to give them exact instructions -- i.e., a Reuben, but no sauerkraut and beef instead of corned beef -- but they'll do it.

                              My favorite Arby's sandwich is the turkey Reuben, minus sauerkraut and with half the amount of sauce, because the amount of sauce they use is calibrated to cover meat and sauerkraut. It turns out to be a very nice turkey and cheese sandwich, with a delicious zing. I also am a potato cake lover from way back.

                          2. Yes it's pressed beef The old wrappers used to describe the process... something like this " Arby's invented the self basting roast beef. Selected chunks of beef are blended with chopped beef and food quality phosphate" YUUUUUMMMM sounds good doesn't it.... sorta like "Selected chunks of dog food are mixed with a specially selected Radioactive Isotope, and blended til you puke!"

                            A while back Arby's had an advertising campaign "America's Roast Beef, Yes Sir!" I used to sing along and sing "Artificial Roast Beef, Yes Sir" Occasionally I luck out and find a store which undercooks it's roast, which makes it tolerable.

                            Back in the early 70's the first time I went to an Arby's the hung an actual roast on a basket of Stainless steel chains it would spin in glass enclose, and it "roasted" on the counter using Infrared Lamps.

                            They would slice it as you watched, and put it on a bun and then use some steam table contraption to shoot steam into the bun. It tasted AMAZING! Why they would change this recipe, I'll never know ( yeah I know it was expensive ) Thing is, I'd pay twice as much to do it the old way. You can't tell me that this crap they serve now is that much cheaper than the old way.

                            When I moved to Las Vegas in the late 70's I was shocked to see no spinning roast beef and a very bland artificial roast beef in it's place.... I thought it was Just in Vegas, but going back home I found the same crap there.

                            Someone should find out the old recipe and open a "new Arbys"

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: vegasjoe

                              Actually, its very likely that much cheaper.

                              They sell the things for a buck a piece at times.

                              (And I do like them occasionally , even this way.)

                            2. The bf brought out dinner last night, and it was an Arby's French Dip sub with curly fries (he had potato cakes). Dipping that hot melty sandwich in the hot sauce may not be haute cuisine..... but it tasted pretty darn good. I always feel like I get a reasonable value there for themoney spent. And its one of the few places I can go if I get an unreasonable craving for mozzarella sticks.

                              1. If you check out snopes, they will tell you that they are addressing the urban myth that the roast beef arrives as a liquid at the stores. They are correct that it does not arrive at the store in that state, however, the story does not look at the sourcing of the roast beef.

                                While it does not arrive at the store in liquid form, it does have a liquid (or more accurately paste) state during it's processing. What you are eating at Arby's is about 70% beef cuts, 12% fat, and and a whole host of chemicals that are mixed together, extruded, mixed with coloring shot through a metal tube in its liquid paste state into a form with hardening agents where it hardens into a meat type consistancy. It is then packaged in plastic with what is called "Self Basting Solution" and shipped to the stores where it must be cooked for 3 hours or it is unsafe for human consumption. If you want real roast beef, don't bother with Arby's, look at a real roast beef and then look at what is on your sandwich from Arby's, they are nothing alike.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: JeffereyAllen

                                  If Arbys really wanted to save money, they would take a cue from the molecular gastronomists at El Bulli. Skip the awkward, prepackaged, prep-intensive, liquid-sealed product and go direct to an high-pressure, beef injection molding system, where liquified beef is combined with pressurized beef "air" and extruded at high velocity, creating a roast beef foam sandwich. By creating a high-volume beef-style product that's composed mostly of nitrogen, you can make a larger volume sandwich using a fraction of beef material, thereby cutting costs exponentially. This is why icecream manufacturers whip so much air into their product. The trick is to get your customer base to transition from their longterm concept of "beef" from "something that tastes like cow" to "a hideous mutant simulacra of whipped cream and styrofoam packing peanuts flavored with ramen soup mix." A tall order, but I think one the Beef Council is up to.

                                  As for the nacho cheese sauce, again, molecular gastronomy and Andy Capp's Cheddar Fries teach us that people are more than willing to accept cheese in powder or "dust" form.

                                  1. re: JeffereyAllen

                                    mmmm....extruded meat....>homer drooling sounds<

                                  2. It's America's gyro. Think of it that way and you feel less guilty about loving it. (I know I do.)

                                    1. bill's comment is spot on. i was having soup friday night in a chinese restaurant that had really tasty fishcake in it, and couldn't help think about this thread. We eat fishcake, processed tofu, seitan, etc., yet treat processed meat as if it were a mortal sin to even contemplate such a creation. And it is not just arby's. Look at what most people have to say about spam. You would think that it was being produced in the underworld. Yet get them talking about "artisinal" sausage, and chowhounds rave. Never mind half the artisianal sausage are made in huge plants also and may have roughly the same nutritional values as spam.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                        To me, the difference is that Spam and fish cake actually HAVE flavor. A plain Arby's "roast beef," on the other hand, is practically indistinguishable from bologna that's passed its expiration date and gone grey.

                                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                                          I don't know, there's some pretty bland (intentionally so, I presume) Japanese fish cakes out there. I'm sure Arby's is at least salty.

                                      2. my husband's favorite food is arby's. to be specific, two large roast beefs with three packets of arby's sauce on each. i think his last meal wish would prob be that! i've had bites of his sandwich and must admit they are pretty tasty. not sometihng that i would fantasize about but hey to each their own!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: liveloveat34

                                          I think the thing is, its like having a burger, but with a more "roast beef" like texture. Not that it is really just like roast beef, but it is slices of meat, not a ground patty. And yeah, they aren't my favorite things in the world, but I do enjoy one now and then.

                                        2. I am so dissapointed - went to Arby's for the first time today (there are none in RI that I am aware of) and it really wasnt that good

                                          Roast beef didnt taste real, the arbys sauce (bbq) was DISGUSTING, popcorn chicken were ok but the pieces were huge - not popcorn chicken in my opinion, fries were just ok, mozz sticks were just ok. Not a place I would return to. Too bad because I love to try new places and was psyched to go there. Walts in RI is still the sandwich to beat (havent been to Kelly's in MA yet), although I am pissed they changed their bbq sauce.

                                          1. two words....
                                            Meat Glue...transglutaminase
                                            Takes all the fun out of many deli mets

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: metronome

                                              This enzyme is also found in molecular gastronomy (MG) and has resulted in forming new dishes at various temples of MG such as wd-50 in NY http://wd-50.com/

                                            2. Funny no one knows if Arby"s roast beef is made from different parts of the cow!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: nacada

                                                Given the amount of undisclosed horse and donkey meat in the food supply, I'd be happy if they kept using cow. I just hope they don't switch to "Chinese mutton."


                                              2. Arby's hasn't been the same since they took the auto slicers out of the stores. You use to walk in and the slicers were behind the counter slicing the roast beef to order.

                                                On a side note;
                                                Where is a Pirate's favorite place to have lunch?


                                                1. Why would the Beef Council want restaurants to sell adulterated meats? The BC represents producers, right? It seems to me that the purpose of adulteration is to use less actual beef, which means less sales for producers.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: aynrandgirl

                                                    I would guess that the Beef Council would want to be able to sell all parts of the cow, and not have a lot of waste leftover. So if they can "glue" some less desirable parts into a product and sell it - more profit.