Why Are Arby's Sauces So Good?

They have the meats, and the sauces. Are you team Horsey Sauce or Arby's Sauce?

Arby's Sauce and Horsey Sauce
Photo: Shutterstock/Allrecipes

Arby's may be known for having the meats, but we can't forget about the irresistible sauces that go along with them. We are, of course, talking about the game-changing Horsey Sauce and Arby's Sauce.

It's nearly impossible to enjoy a juicy roast beef sandwich from Arby's without topping it with one of the iconic sauces. And which one you choose is about as important as the Coke or Pepsi debate.

Horsey Sauce is essentially just horseradish sauce and Arby's Sauce is a vinegar and tomato-based sauce. So what makes Arby's unique sauces so delicious that they have withstood the test of time since joining the menu in the 1970s?

The Origin of Arby's Famous Sauces

To understand the quality of the sauces, you first need to understand the two men behind Arby's: the Raffel brothers, Leroy and Forrest. The Raffel brothers wanted to open a fast food restaurant that was a little more upscale than its competitors — like McDonald's.

Arby's was designed to be a western-themed restaurant that originally only sold roast beef sandwiches, potato chips, soft drinks, and milkshakes (including the fan-favorite Jamocha shake that's still available today).

With that small menu, the first Arby's opened in 1964 at a restaurant shaped like a chuck wagon donning a 10-gallon hat-shaped sign. And, fun fact, even though many people believe Arby's stands for "America's roast beef, yes sir," it actually is a nod to the Raffel brothers (or RBs).

However, by the 1970s, the Raffel brothers were in hot water as Arby's went bankrupt. So, to pull themselves out of debt, they did a complete menu revamp. They added a slew of new menu items, including curly fries, the Beef 'N Cheddar sandwich, and the two new sauces.

Horsey Sauce and Arby's Sauce were an innovation created by Forrest and were unlike anything fast food restaurants had seen before.

What Makes Arby's Sauces Taste So Good?

Horseradish was always known to accompany beef dishes. However, it was usually something that you would see in an upscale restaurant. But Forrest added mayo and sugar to the horseradish sauce to fast food-ify it. Now, you have this tasty, tangy, hint of spicy sauce that can easily be squeezed out of a package on the go, which made Horsey Sauce a hit on the roast beef sandwiches.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have Arby's Sauce. This one is a tomato and vinegar-based sauce — almost like a cross between ketchup and barbecue. Arby's Sauce has a signature taste without being too far removed from what customers already know and love, making it unique and craveable. It's a great sauce for any of the sandwiches — but it's an especially great dipping sauce for the curly fries and chicken, which hit the menu later on.

Over the years Arby's has added more sauces, but none are as iconic as the two menu staples. So whether you top your sandwich with one and dip your fries in the other, or layer your roast beef with both, you have the RBs to thank for your favorite Arby's sauces.

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