Monday, December 16, 2019

I Tried Dunkin' Donuts' Beyond Sausage Sandwich

Which, as it turns out, is apparently a secret curry tofu biscuit you can buy anywhere in America for less than five dollars

By: Jimbo X

Dunkin’ Donuts is one of those ubiquitous fast food places I always forget exists. The damn things are seemingly as common as Taco Bells and Starbucks buildings, but it seems like I can go weeks at a time without even thinking of the DD brand. Indeed, with their beige and orange facade color scheme, it’s almost like the chain doesn’t want their edifices to stand out whatsoever, like they want would-be consumers to just drive past them without ever acknowledging their corporate (and corporeal) existences. 

Folks, it takes a LOT to get me excited about going into a Dunkin’ Donuts. Like, they’re gonna’ have to be selling Atlanta Braves-themed pastries or coffees modeled after the Men in Black movies, and even then, I don’t usually recall much of anything noteworthy about the products themselves immediately afterwards. Let’s face it, when it comes to java, DD lags way behind the Bucks, and when it comes to doughnuts and other sugary, deep-fried foodstuffs, they ain’t dogshit compared to Krispy Kreme. So, yeah, they need some gimmicks BAD to pique my curiosity, but they managed to grab my attention enough with a fairly recent-ush menu addendum.

The year 2019 is going to be remembered for a lot of things, and I suppose in the grand scheme of it all one of those things is “The Year of Fauxtein Fast Food products.” With everybody from Burger King to Little Caesar’s to KFC hopping on the “Beyond Meat” hype train, I guess it’s not that unexpected to see Dunkin’ Donuts trying to get an early lead in the imitation breakfast meat department via their newfangled Beyond Sausage Sandwich, which, as the name subtly suggests, is your regular old sausage, egg and cheese biscuit, except the sausage part ain’t genuine pork, but some artificially grown GMO shit manufactured in a lab somewhere. 

Yes, it is a rather odd marketing hook, trying to pimp a vegan-friendly alterna-sausage by topping the shit with REAL eggs and REAL American cheese underneath an English muffin bun, but it’s not like anybody really expects DD to make any damn sense with their business choices. 

Considering the Lilliputian girth of the product, they’re asking you a lot for the sammich — $4.49, plus applicable state and local taxes in my neck of the woods, for something, ounce-for-ounce and calorie-for-calorie, you could easily get at McDonald’s or Burger King for two or three bucks cheaper. Furthermore, when it comes to the nutritional datum, it’s not that much healthier than a regular sausage biscuit, packing 470 calories, 24 grams of fat and, the kicker — 910 milligrams of sodium — in its condensed, knuckle-sized frame.

Before we even get into my review of the product, let me start off by telling you how shitty the service at the local DD is. Now, I’m sure EVERYBODY is going to contend that their local Dunkin’ has the shittiest service in the world, but mine definitely has to be a top five global leader for sure. I had to wait five minutes for somebody to just come to the cash register, and after that it took them another 10 minutes to hand off the sandwich to me. Even better, the first time they gave me a big with, like, 15 Munchkins in it, which, yeah, probably would’ve been the smarter thing to take home in terms of net costs, but fuck it, I wanted to give you people some quality fast food content, so by golly, I informed them of their initial error and just played the waiting game. That shitty, shitty waiting game.

Also, I guess now is a good time to let you folks know that the neighborhood Dunkin’ in my neck of the woods is ALWAYS failing health inspections, and there was even this mini-controversy over some employee posting a Snapchat of herself spitting in a customer’s drink or something. Of course, at this juncture, we’re all pretty much aware that 80 percent of the people working in fast food jobs in metro-Atlanta aren’t there because they need the money, but because they’re being court-ordered to work there to avoid jail time for drug offenses. So all that to say, I was REALLY sticking my hypothetical dick in a proverbial vice here, and I can’t say I didn’t have some early apprehensions about putting the thing in my mouth when they finally wheeled it out for me.

Now, just in terms of sheer aesthetics, there ain’t a whole lot to talk about here. I mean, it honestly is just a regular sausage biscuit, albeit with a sausage patty that kinda’ looks like that one dude in Hannibal who get high on angel dust and carved his own face off with mirror shards. Right off the bat, the sausage doesn’t look like any “real” sausage you’ve likely ever had, not only in shape, but also in terms of hue. You know how most cooked sausage comes out either dark brown or dark gray? Well, this vegetarian-friendly sausage has a weird dark green to it, and when you look at it up-close, it ALMOST looks like the fucker has fur growing on it. I didn’t think it at the time, but in hindsight, it sorta’ reminds me of the character Stephen King played in Creepshow — you know, the motherfucker that played around with the asteroid and ended up turning into Moss-Man from Masters of the Universe.

We’ll get to the taste of the sandwich in just a sec, but first, I want to talk about the rest of the ingredients in the bugger. Beyond the Beyond Sausage, uh, sausage, the thing comes with a fairly large egg disc, which by circumference, is about 80 percent yolk and 20 percent white. Naturally, I can’t really see that gelling too well with the health nuts out there, but what the fuck ever. There’s also a pretty hearty serving of hot, sticky, gelatinous cheddar cheese atop the egg patty, which makes this even trashier, visually and conceptually. The muffin is just a goddamn muffin, although I do recall it being quite flaky on the inside and rather crispy on the outside; I mean, I’m a professional writer and all, but let’s face it, you really can’t spend anything more than sentence describing the characteristics of a biscuit, can you?

Alright, we’re only 1,000 words or so into this fucker, so I might as well finally tell you my thoughts on the sandwich. Well, to begin with, I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about the size of the sausage patty. In addition to being shaped like a turd-colored dodecagon, it was also considerably smaller than most fast food sausage patties. I mean, granted, I wasn’t expecting to get one as big as the kind at Hardee’s or McDonald’s or anything like that, but I was nonetheless underwhelmed by the overall volume, especially considering that damn near five dollar price point. 

BUT beyond that, I have no beef (get it?) with Dunkin’ Donuts’ Beyond Sausage Sandwich. Indeed, it’s tasty, flavorful and fairly filling breakfast option that was quite a bit more nuanced than I anticipated, although I’m still not entirely sure it’s worth the relatively steep price tag.

The obvious question, I might as well address first. No, the Beyond Sausage Sandwich does not taste anything remotely like sausage. In fact, the flavor, texture AND mouthfeel of the product is distinctly un-meatlike, with an overall gustatory experience that I’d consider more comparable to a falafel ball than a sausage ball.

Oh, you’re getting a lot of sage in this motherfucker, because otherwise, I don’t think you’d be able to guess that the pseudo-meat product was trying to imitate sausage. There’s a bit of toughness to the exterior, a certain crispiness of sorts, but once you start gnashing your teeth into the inner pink “meat” the stuff starts turning into bean paste almost automatically. It tastes a lot like a tofu cube, or at least it has the same geometry and provokes the same sensations when your chewing on it. Indeed, it would be a rather unremarkable little experience, save for one VERY special ingredient: Curry, and whole shit-ton it. 

Of course, who knows what DD is really putting in this stuff. Obviously, it’s got a ton of onion powder in it, but my well-trained taste buds KNOW when somebody is trying to curry my favor with actual curry, and this thing is just swimmin’ in all kinds of Indian subcontinent flavorings. Again, I don’t know for sure what spices are getting lobbed in the mixture, but I’m guessing there’s more than enough tumeric and coriander in there to make a mighty mean tikka masala sauce, if Dunkin’ is ever so inclined

So yeah, you might make the upfront investment over the whole vegan-sausage gimmick, but that pseudo-Indian breakfast sandwich hook is the real reason worth going out of your way to try this one. I mean, it’s not world changing or anything like that — let’s just say it’s closer to being a 7 out of 10 experience than an 8 out of 10 — but it’s definitely something different and a product that tastes totally unlike anything else all of those big name fast food chains are hawking for breakfast nowadays. 

Of course, the sandwich could’ve been way better. A mozzarella blend would’ve been more inviting than the lazy American cheese mixture, and instead of the eggs, this thing probably would’ve worked better with something a little outside DD’s comfort zoom — like, say, grilled mushrooms or onions, or even jalapeno peppers. And the big sin, naturally, is the lack of any kind of proprietary sauce whatsoever. Come on, guys, a product like this is just begging for a nice, complementary sriracha aioli or chipotle mayo dressing, and you fuckers ought to be ashamed for not even trying to go the extra mile here. 

But like I’ve been saying all article long, as is, the Beyond Sausage Sandwich ain’t too shabby. It has a unique and enjoyable taste, and I guess it is a moderately healthier option than getting a bag of hash browns or a plate of syrup-soaked pancakes for breakfast. It’s undeniably overpriced and I can’t imagine anybody developing too much of an affinity for it, but it’s certainly a better item than I anticipated, and for a limited-time-only gimmick-sandwich, we’ve definitely seen FAR worse over the years. 

We’ll see how much longer this whole “beyond beef” and “impossible meat” trend lasts, but for the time being, those of you with proclivities for more esoteric fast food offerings might be wise to give this sandwich a try before it’s abruptly discontinued. It ain’t a game change by any stretch, but in a world where EVERYTHING in the fast food cosmos is starting to feel painfully homogenized, an item like the Beyond Sausage Sandwich at least tries to treat your tastebuds to something different.

And for that, Dunkin' Donuts ought to be applaude. I mean, not a lot, but certainly some.


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