Thursday, September 19, 2013

Beyond the Beef: A clucking good sandwich at Big Orange

Posted By on Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 6:10 PM

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When you are traveling in Italy, you eat pasta. When in Mexico, tacos. When in Japan, sushi. You're dining in a land that houses the finest the world has to offer, there's really no reason or excuse to do otherwise.

When you are at Big Orange, you eat burgers. Or at least that was my general attitude about the place until only recently. Sure, you accent your beef-and-bun with their exemplary fries, sweet shakes, creative cocktails, etc.—but it always comes back to burgers.

Well that's not exactly true, it turns out, as I recently discovered on a recent return visit to one of Arkansas's most acclaimed restaurants. My colleague, Michael Roberts, once touted the merits of Big Orange's "Southern Chicken Sandwich," but I brushed that little tip away to back of my mind. "Who in their right mind passes up an all-natural burger of Creekstone Premium Black Angus beef?" Not I. It had been done before, I assumed, but not by this burger boy. I stuck with what I trusted and loved.

That is, until I recently ventured out and braved the perilous poultry. Quickly, I realized what I had been missing, and I humbly, silently repented of my misgivings.

The Southern Chicken sandwich is a behemoth of beautiful, boneless, breaded chicken. It starts with a few of their plump, juicy, white meat chicken strips—some of the most sizable strips I've ever seen. They come out crispy and blisteringly fresh-from-the-fryer they should probably come with a disclaimer addressing their excessive temperature. I wouldn't have it any other way, but perhaps you should preceed cautiously when digging in to avoid scalding the roof of your mouth.

They utilize their signature bun, which I've always approved of, but it is rather soft and is best eaten quickly to avoid excessive sogginess and fall-apart. Dill pickle, butter leaf lettuce, and sliced tomato join the party. Dill pickle, I've always felt, is essential to any fried chicken sandwich, offering a nice sharp briny counterpoint to the salty, meaty chicken. They finish with their signature "BOB sauce," a creamy concotion that offers a bit more spice and tang than your average mayo. It complements each of the inner components perfectly.

Now that I realize what I've been missing by venturing outside of my personal fortress of beef, I may have to go completely bonkers and sample some of their other non-cow combinations. Turkey? Or (gasp!) veggie burger? My future is full of exciting opportunites. Thank you, once again, Big Orange.

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