Dairy Queen Introduces New Kansas City BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

The soft serve chain sells food, apparently.

Dairy Queen Kansas City Pulled Pork Sandwich

Dairy Queen has recently added a new “sandwich” to its “DQ Bakes!” lineup of “Artisan-style” Sandwiches. The new “Kansas City BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich” is assembled with slow cooked pulled pork topped with Kansas City style BBQ sauce, sliced onions, and pickles because holy shit we keep forgetting that DQ sells food.

A few things:

1. Is anyone on planet Earth eating the hot food that comes from a Dairy Queen? We’ve always understood it as a place to spend a few dollars to get a Butterfinger candy bar ground into some mediocre soft serve, but are there people who are legit standing in line to get one of those $5 burger combos? Our only frame of reference for what’s going on in that kitchen comes from an ex-employee, who alleged that the franchise owner where she worked smoked cigarettes in the kitchen and let the ashes fall onto the flattop, reused scraps from the garbage can, and sent her super-molesty text messages when she was sixteen years old. That doesn’t mean that’s what’s happening in all DQ kitchens, except we kind of already assumed it was because rural America is terrifying.

2. The phrase “Artisan-style” is completely meaningless. Oh, you mean the bun LOOKS as though it was actually crafted by someone who has perfected the art of baking sandwich rolls, someone who has made it her life’s work to perfectly balance texture, crumb, and elasticity in a harmonious, golden-hued boule, carefully selected to enclose Dairy Queen’s acres of wet, microwaved pulled pork? You’re saying it LOOKS like that, but it ISN’T that at all? Actually, maybe that seems about right.

You’re saying it LOOKS like that, but it ISN’T that at all? Actually, maybe that seems about right.

3. Similarly, there’s nothing on this sandwich that has anything to do with Kansas City, except where “Kansas City” is marketing-speak for “sugary, too-sweet bottled barbecue sauce shellacked onto the outside of some steamed meat.” Using the phrase “Kansas City” over and over in the description of this product is supposed to make you think that you’re standing in some rough-and-tumble juke joint down south, about to wrap your lips around a pile of barbecue that was slaved over all night by an experienced 400 pound pitmaster who calls you “princess” and is wearing a sweat-stained too-small t-shirt, instead of, we dunno, “standing outside a hospital waiting for your tuberculosis skin test to get read” or “wandering around the parking lot next to the mall that no one goes to anymore.” It doesn’t work.

Photo: Flickr/thomashawk

4. There are so, so many places that sell food, that seem more appealing than anything you’d find at Dairy Queen. Is the only requirement for food proximity? Have we found ourselves living in a world where consumers are standing around, saying, “Well, I did need to get a discount oil change, and there is a DQ across the street, and even though I already had a double pancake sausage sandwich for breakfast, I couldn’t possibly also have a “Peanut Buster Parfait” for lunch, but OH SNAP DQ’S GOT CRISPY CHICKEN STRIP BASKETS AND I ALSO HAPPEN TO BE STANDING HERE AND WHAT ARE THE ODDS? How low does the bar have to go, when it comes to incidental eating? Because there’s no way anyone can be getting in the car to intentionally and on-purpose end up at a DQ for lunch.

5. Can you imagine, for a moment, what this actual product looks like? Sure, the highly stylized photo above is what the food scientists at the DQ Test Kitchen are hoping you’ll end up with, but our guess is that by the time all of the various components get microwaved into submission by a vaguely disgruntled teenager and piled onto an “Artisan-style” bun with what can only be described as “barely-contained seething hostility,” the resulting sandwich looks nothing like that picture. It won’t even look like the same species.

6. Does all of this make it seem like we hate Dairy Queen? We don’t. The world needs a place where you can get something called a “Royal New York Cheesecake Blizzard,” complete with a thick piping of cherry pie filling unceremoniously shoehorned into the center of some factory-made soft serve, and served to you upside down the way the commercial said or godamnit, you get it free at LEAST but should also reasonably consider driving your truck through the front window because soft serve is delicious and life must always deliver on its promises.

We’re just saying: Go to DQ. It’s fine. Grab a “Dilly Bar” and get on with your life. But it’s enough already with the potato skins and the “Chicken Bacon Snack Melts” and the “Artisan-style” pretzel buns. The criteria for whether or not something should be eaten should sometimes be more than “because it exists and so do I and one of us isn’t getting out of here alive.”

Written by Malcolm Bedell

Malcolm is the author of "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as a frequent contributor to Serious Eats,, Eat Rockland, Down East Magazine, The L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and more. When not poisoning his body with garbage and then posting sardonic commentary about it on the Internet, he also owns and operates the 'Wich, Please food truck, named's "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015.


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  1. Wow. After reading that, I wonder if the writer hates everyone and everyTHING.
    I admit, a lot of sandwiches look nothing like the picture, once you get it to the table or, get it opened at home.
    However… The Kansas City BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich is great! AND… it looks just like the picture!! *GASP*
    For someone who is just burnt out on Burgers and Chicken sandwiches, this sandwich is a great substitute!
    I have had this sandwich 3 x’s now and, each time it was appealing and delicious! I love it! And, I hope they never take it off the menu! Kudos to DQ for not only This sandwich but, for all of the other great food that is available at this home of factory-made soft serve ice cream.

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