This Saturday, October 21, Arby's customers will be able to sample grass-fed, free-range farmed venison at all 3,300 locations of the chain, to coincide with the start of deer-hunting season in certain states. The sandwich sold out in just a few hours last October.
The chain plans to serve the same recipe as last year, featuring a thick-cut venison steak cooked sous-vide and topped with juniper berry sauce and onions. Last year, the sandwich was only available in six “heavy deer hunting” states, including Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Arby's expects that the sandwich will “sell out quickly” this year.
"If people are interested in trying the sandwich, the only way to guarantee they can get one is to get there when we open or a little before and make sure they are in line, just like the folks last year," chief marketing officer Jim Taylor told USA Today.
Arby's will also be selling a very limited-run elk sandwich at just three restaurants in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming. The sandwich will be similar to the venison sandwich, but it will feature a blackberry port sauce in place of the juniper sauce.
The Montana Wildlife Federation raised concerns about the promotion, specifically the chain’s decision to use farmed elk and venison in the sandwiches.
“The Arby's Corporation was probably well-intentioned in their desire to celebrate the start of hunting season in Montana and across the nation,” said Federation executive director Dave Chadwick. “They certainly probably had the best of intentions, but it’s not the best way to honor our hunting heritage in Montana.”
He continued by saying that game farms, which were banned in Montana in 2000, contribute to the spread of diseases and are often used for the “unethical shooting” of animals, reports KRTV.
Arby's responded to this criticism, noting that the chain had done work with the Georgia Wildlife Federation to best understand how best to work with game and had sourced the meat from a grass-fed supplier in New Zealand.
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