Doesn’t seem like chicken tenders would be such a big deal. Lots of fast food places have them. I’m actually surprised Carl’s Jr. has waited so long to introduce them to the menu.
You’d think such an addition would go gentle into that good night, but no. According to Carl’s, these are not just any chicken tenders. These are hand-breaded chicken tenders, and that is a big deal. There have been an onslaught of commercials: one going the fear route, with nothing but video of “Box 1457 B partially cooked frozen chicken strips” slowly panning out while the ominous voice-over informs you that they’ve been sitting there for 12 days, trying to convince you that even though you’ve been eating these crappy chicken strips for years, if you do it just one more time YOU WILL DIE. Okay, maybe not that bad, but close.
Another takes quite a different spin. Two receptionists stuff their faces with the hand-breaded chicken tenders; one asks the other why she stopped working at Carl’s, and she says it was too much work, with all the dipping and the hand-breading and the frying and the hey lady! Then the phone rings, and the first girl says, “That phone is soooo annoying.” Continue with face-stuffing.
As a female and a former career receptionist/secretary/office bitch, I should be offended, if I was the type of person to be offended by such things. But hey, if it gets the point across and Carl’s Jr.’s marketing department doesn’t mind being accosted by angry feminists and secretaries for portraying all of them as completely vapid bitches, have at it.
The Spanish-speaking contingent gets the best commercial. Isn’t that always the way? Obviously meant as a parody of telenovelas, some dude ogles the hot Latina maid dressed up in a “Sexy French Maid” Halloween outfit. Another hot Latina chick, presumably his wife, catches him in the act and starts screaming, wiping the table clean with a dramatic sweep of her arm and the breakage of several pieces of delicate flatware. The maid then sexily brings the man a tray of chicken tenders, the wife and the man sexily eat the chicken tenders, and the maid looks at them both sexily. I have no idea what is going on, but it is obviously the best of the bunch.
Carl’s description of the chicken tenders is “Freshly prepared hand-breaded chicken tenders. Premium, all-white meat chicken hand dipped in buttermilk, lightly breaded and fried to a golden brown. Served with a choice of honey mustard, buttermilk ranch or sweet & bold BBQ dipping sauces.”
Some of these things are true. Some of them are indeterminate. I have to say, I thought the chicken definitely tasted fresher, or perhaps more chicken-like, than I’ve experienced with other fast food chicken strips. It both looks and tastes like an authentic piece of chicken breast. The meat is juicy and fairly tender.
As for the breading, I wouldn’t call it “lightly breaded,” but I also wouldn’t call it “smothered in two inches of crunchy breading,” which is how I would describe KFC’s chicken. Not that that’s a bad thing. Unfortunately, my tenders were fried to a little more than golden brown. I might go so far as to say they were over-fried. They didn’t taste burnt, but they could have been a little more on the golden side. That’s just the vagaries of fast food though; the next order could have been fried perfectly. The breading was crunchy and a little greasy, and didn’t really seem to contain any special spices.
I enjoyed Carl’s Jr.’s Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders, but they didn’t exactly blow my mind. Yeah, the chicken tastes fresh, and the breading is pretty good, but to be honest, if I hadn’t been beaten over the head by Carl’s with the idea that these were “freshly prepared” and “hand-breaded,” I wouldn’t have known the difference. The breading is a little bit of a different texture, but doesn’t scream groundbreaking. The Chicken Tenders came with some buttermilk ranch dip, but it too didn’t blow my mind. It would really help if a hot Latina served them to me in a French Maid outfit, though.
(Nutrition Facts â€“ 5 chicken tenders (246 grams) – 560 calories, 280 calories from fat, 31 grams of total fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 120 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,930 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugars and 47 grams of protein.)
Item: Carl’s Jr. Hand-Breaded Chicken Tendersâ€¨
Size: 5 tenders (246 grams)â€¨
Purchased at: Carl’s Jr.â€¨
Rating: 6 out of 10â€¨
Pros: Chicken was juicy. Hot Latina chicks. Meat seemed like real breast meat. Breading had a good texture. “Box 1457 B.”â€¨
Cons: Tenders were over-fried, but that could just be bad luck. Stereotypes that receptionists are dumb and lazy. Breading had no spices or special flavoring. Fear of ever eating pre-breaded chicken strips again. Couldn’t tell if they were hand-breaded or not anyway.