Sunday, August 11, 2019

Fast Bites BBQ Rib Sandwich (Dollar Tree)

What you would expect, for better or worse.
I never eat barbecue ribs. Like, ever. In fact, I don't ever recall trying one before I met the woman who would become my wife, and I was in my mid-20s before she talked me into giving one a shot. I liked it, but not enough to end up anywhere near my list of favorite foods, and so I kind of tend to forget that ribs even exist.

One thing I still hadn't tried was a rib sandwich, so please refrain from asking me why I even bothered to grab a Fast Bites BBQ Rib Sandwich from Dollar Tree one day. In all honestly, it didn't really look or sound all that appealing to me, even as I was adding it to my basket; I guess I just figured that it was a change from my usual frozen meals, and a quick dinner (or snack) whenever I was too unmotivated to think about making something. Well then, it should come as no surprise for you to learn that it went straight to the freezer that night, where it sat, forgotten, for about a month.

Well, I finally stumbled on it again, as it somehow came to the front of the freezer after my wife put away groceries from an Aldi shopping trip. I wasn't really all that hungry for anything (I'm on medication that suppresses feelings of hunger; that's not at all the point of the medication, but rather a side effect), yet realized that I should probably eat something, and so I decided that I would just throw this down the ol' gullet, without the benefit of a side dish or other accouterments.

As the brand name suggests with “Fast Bites”, the whole point of their products are to provide quick, convenient sandwiches for lazy chaps like myself, as well as college kids, and anyone else that doesn't mind eating frozen meats of questionable origin. And as you could probably already tell from the fact that these are available at Dollar Tree stores, they are also very inexpensive, making them a double-whammy for those on a budget. Prepwork is so easy even I can do it: open one end of the plastic that the frozen sandwich is encased in, microwave for two minutes, let sit for one, and boom, you are ready to dig in.

My first observation is the bun: it feels kind of tough, a far cry from the soft, non-frozen buns that most people are accustomed to. The “meat” looks about as you would expect: as a piece of roadkill slathered in barbecue sauce and forced between two frozen slabs of bread. Thanks to modern science, it oddly smells pretty enticing, but that's probably because all you can smell is the sweetness of the barbecue sauce, and not the odor of the questionable meat product that you are about to dig into.

I have never had the McRib sandwich (oddly, my grandma swears by those things), but I just have a weird hunch that these probably taste very similar. The rib meat isn't as offensively gross as I was fully expecting it to be—it has a believable texture, and is easy to chew. The barbecue sauce, as the aroma suggested, is sweet, and just tastes like a standard barbecue: if you've ever had the barbecue rib TV dinners, then you pretty much know exactly what you're getting into. The bun is a little chewy, as it seemed like it would be from my initial impression, but is much softer if you dig in right as it's out of the microwave (it does get tougher and less palatable the longer it sits out). Either way, the bread is bland no matter what stage it's in, so don't expect it to add much to the flavor.

I must say that it was far less frightening of an experience than what I was expecting going into it. However, that doesn't mean that it was necessarily a “good” experience, or any sort of life-changing one: I think experiencing this once has probably held me over for at least the next couple of years--if not my entire lifetime--so I'm in no rush to get it again. But if I ever find myself in an urgent situation in an unfamiliar city, armed only with a dollar in my pocket, dying of hunger, and with no one else to turn to for help, and I happen to see nothing but this questionable rib-meat sandwich sitting in the dilapidated gas station that I have stumbled upon in a last-ditch effort to stay alive, I guess it's good to know that it's edible.

Overall: 5.5/10. It's not really “good”, but it's better than I thought it would be heading in. Fast Bites Barbecue Rib Meat Sandwich may not sound like high-class cuisine, and that's because it's not. However, it is a decent sandwich that only costs a buck, and can be ready in just three minutes (two minutes in the microwave, plus one minute sitting), so it gets some high marks for value and convenience. I'm not huge into ribs (I didn't try my first one until I was well into my 20s, and still have only had them less than a handful of times), but then again, that really means nothing considering these are a distant relative to the smoked ones you get at barbecue joints everywhere. The mass-produced barbecue is sweet, and assuming you've had any TV dinner with barbecue sauce in it, probably exactly what you are expecting. I think eating just this one has sated my very-limited interest in frozen rib meat sandwiches for a couple years, if not life, but I still have to admit that it's not all that bad, and a presumably decent option to tide over McRib fans between limited-time offerings.


2 comments:

  1. I also get the "FAST BITES" sandwiches at a Dollar Tree store &, if fresh, the BBQ RIB SANDWICH is pretty decent. I seriously doubt if it's any different than a BBQ RIB SANDWICH you'd get at any "fast food "joint" ". By actually being sold for $1 (like every item at a Dollar Tree), I tend to buy too many FAST BITES sandwiches at a time & some get to tasting a bit stale before eating them. I need to adjust this pattern because the BBQ RIB SANDWICH really is tasty enough to eat while fresh to have my opinion altered by allowing them to get stale. As that saying goes "TRY IT, YOU'LL LIKE IT".

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    1. Yeah, it certainly wasn't my favorite, but like I mentioned I'm not a huge fan of the popular fast food offering, which probably skewered my perception of it.

      As a test, I'll have to give one of these to my grandma...she's obsessed with the fast food rib sandwich, and gets it every time it's available! Maybe these could at least tide her over if she gets a craving in between those periods....

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