Food and Drink

Taste test: Are Bojangles’ and Starbucks’ new barbecue sandwiches any good?

Barbecue borders on a religion around here. Folks have their favorite styles and restaurants, usually shacks in the middle of nowhere with plumes of smoke rising from out back.

Now a couple of chains want in on the barbecue game — Bojangles’ with its pulled pork barbecue sandwich and Starbucks with a beef brisket sandwich.

Are they any good?

I sat down a panel of tasters to see. Joining me: Andrew Dunn, Helen Schwab, Kathleen Purvis and Madysan Foltz.

//><!--Pull a seat up to the table and let’s eat.//--><!

Bojangles’ pulled pork BBQ sandwich

– Cost: $2.99

I came into this expecting to hate this sandwich. I didn’t. It didn’t taste nearly as bad as I expected it to. Would I get it again? Not unless I was desperate.



The tasters:

HS: “There’s a decent bit of meat on the Bo one … and if you don’t like it, you can pop open the accompanying container of thick, sweet sauce and drown it in that.”

KP: “Bun like a week-old hamburger bun. The meat does have some smokiness and a little vinageryness, and the cole slaw is a stab at authenticity. But the meat is also too soft, too wet, very bland. Sort of a wet-cardboard quality.”

AD: “Without the bun, the meat itself could probably hold its own against the type of barbecue you had in a styrofoam tray before your high school football team played. But if this was your first experience with Bojangles’, then man, you might get the wrong idea.”

We tried the new Bojangles barbecue sandwich today. Check out @cltfive tomorrow to see what we thought

A photo posted by Andrew Dunn (@andrewmdunn) on Jul 23, 2015 at 10:22am PDT

MF: “I was born and raised in Lancaster, Pa., and I attend college in upstate New York. I wouldn’t know good barbecue if it bit me in the *ss. … So, to me, a pulled pork barbecue sandwich from Bojangles’ makes all the sense in the world.

“But dear God almighty, that sandwich was not so bueno. … It mostly tasted like a cold, wet slop of rubber.”

Starbucks’ BBQ beef brisket sandwich on toasted sourdough

– Cost: $6.45.

Let me show you Starbucks’ picture of the sandwich:


And now a couple of pictures I snapped of one we got:



‘Nuff said.

Also: Why in the world did they put cheese on it?!?

To the tasters:

HS: “The Starbucks sandwich I got had about one tablespoon of recognizable meat on in it (others had more) … and it added cheese.”

KP: “Outrageously high priced. Like barbecue imagined by people who live in Seattle. … Apparently the cheese (which she called an abomination) only fills the role of gluing the sandwich together. …

“The meat: minced beyond all recognition, sort of a pre-chewed quality.”

AD: “I would never pay for this. … It tasted like imitation brisket, like somebody in a lab was tasked with coming up with a flavor that is supposed to taste like brisket.”

Final thoughts?

HS: “Barbecue being a religion here, I’m going to use a religion-based analogy: The Bojangles sandwich is a venial sin (essentially: forgivable), while the Starbucks sandwich is a mortal sin (essentially: unforgivable).

“Final reason that they’re both sins: This made our girl Madysan, who’s from New York and Pennsylvania, think she’d now tried barbecue. Chilling.”

Corey Inscoe @CoreyInscoe