Arby's has managed to create major buzz for its limited-time-only Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich, and apparently the menu item is having a major effect on the brisket economy. TMBBQ's Daniel Vaughn estimates the fast-food chain's 3,300 stores use up "a half million pounds of raw brisket per week" to meet demand for the sandwich, causing a major spike in brisket prices: from roughly $2.50 per pound in early March 2014 to $3.15 per pound by mid-April.
Although beef prices have been rising steadily of late — up four percent since last year — Vaughn and market analyst Gary Morrison note "the level that briskets have risen to are unlike any other beef cut."
Back in February of this year, some Texas barbecue restaurants and butcher's counters reported paying 50 cents more per pound to keep their meat cases stocked with brisket; a few raised their prices as a result. Arby's, meanwhile, continues to hoard briskets from its supplier Sadler's Smokehouse, and currently charges $5.29 for its sandwich. Will the price spike soon turn into a full-on shortage (a la the Velveeta and Pumpkin Spice Latte crises of the past)? Stay tuned.