Arby's New Big Game Burger Lives Up To Its Name

Featuring a trio of meats in the patty, this burger really does taste like big game.

Arby's released a new limited-time-only menu item this week, the Big Game Burger, which blends three different types of animal meat—beef, elk, and venison—into one burger patty. Yup, you read that correctly: There are two different types of game meat in this burger, topped with Swiss cheese, pickles, crispy onions, and a dark cherry steak sauce. It's hard to know how all those flavors meld, and only one way to find out.


This isn't the first time Arby's has included game meat on the menu; it has sold both venison and duck sandwiches in years past, both in extremely limited quantities. So this burger still represents a novel idea: venison and elk at Arby's, available nationwide. That's a pretty big flex, if you ask me. We wanted to know two things about the Big Game Burger: One, is the game meat detectable in the flavor? Two, is it worth $8.79 price tag (which is steep for a fast food burger)?

How Arby’s makes its Big Game Burger

An Arby's representative confirmed to The Takeout that the Big Game Burger is prepared like its other burger offerings. That is, it starts with a patty cooked sous-vide-style, which arrives at the restaurant pre-cooked.


Once an order is placed, the patties are flash-fried in the deep fryer in order to achieve an exterior crust. It's an interesting technique, but timing is everything—keep it in the fryer too long, and it'll dry out fast.

How does Arby’s Big Game Burger taste?

First off, this is a sizable burger, with some serious heft and density to it. In terms of appearance, okay, maybe it's not so pretty. Just various shades of brown, mostly—but since there are no colorful toppings like lettuce and tomatoes, that's to be expected. Burgers can't always be beautiful.


This burger is a complex beast, but we'll start with the most glaring attribute: The patty, despite its size, is bone dry. Hey, at least it doesn't make a mess?

While normally a dry burger would be a dealbreaker for me, there's plenty of sweet cherry steak sauce slathered on, which is nearly enough to forgive the meat's moisture issues. The sauce turns the crispy onions into a bit of a soggy mush, but that's going to happen with any burger's crispier elements if you don't eat it right away. Our burger came via delivery, which exacerbates the issue, but impressively enough, it was still hot when it arrived.

The flavor of the meat is where things get interesting. At first, it's subtle, but then you notice a slight gaminess as you continue eating; the closest thing I can compare it to is lamb. I say that as a compliment, because the novelty of the burger's game meat is the whole point. Why buy a Big Game Burger if you don't want to experience something other than beef?


Yes, $8.79 is a little pricier than the typical fast food burger. But it's certainly not the worst value in its category; at my nearest Five Guys location, for example, the burger costs $11.39. The Big Game Burger is worth trying exactly once, both for its inventiveness and the bragging rights you're entitled to after eating something so unique in the fast food landscape.

It's not often I'd recommend you try something that tastes just okay, but days later, I still can't stop thinking about it. It might suffer from typical fast food pitfalls, but Arby's Big Game Burger is undeniably fun and interesting, and it challenges our notion of what fast food can be. I'm just hoping that other massive chains have the courage to follow suit with something way out of the hinged cardboard burger box, because otherwise we're stuck with the same damn things, over and over again. If Arby's, known for the simplicity of its roast beef sandwiches, can push the envelope, what's stopping everyone else?