REVIEW: KFC Georgia Gold Chicken

KFC Georgia Gold Chicken

Recently, I’ve been referring to KFC as Kan’t Figure (out the) Colonel because of its revolving door of portrayals that started off as confusing and is now weirdly entertaining. The latest Colonel Sanders made his debut along with the chicken chain’s new Georgia Gold Honey Mustard BBQ Chicken.

Let me preface by saying I’m a connoisseur of anything honey mustard-flavored. Amongst the fast food landscape there is the full gamut of choices, from Chick-fil-A’s non-creamy offering to Papa John’s liquid euphoria that I would very much like to bathe in.

That’s the thing about honey mustard and its flavor profile, it’s all over the place. As Forrest Gump’s mom would say, “Honey mustard is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Is it cream based? What’s the honey-to-mustard ratio? How seedy is it? Let’s see where Georgia Gold lies.

(Side note – KFC, how bout Tom Hanks as the next colonel? I BET HE WOULD CRUSH IT.)

KFC Georgia Gold Chicken 2

The chicken tenders I got came in an order of three in their own little container with some pickles for good measure. While I do love a good pickle, I’m not a huge fan when they are hot as they lose some of their gratifying crunch. They were marginal at best. I ate them first just so I could move quickly on to the stars of the dish, the tenders themselves, which were fantastic.

KFC Georgia Gold Chicken 3

The meat inside was juicy, like insanely juicy, which I definitely was not expecting. The breading was, as I like to call it, Goldilocks-style. Not too crunchy or too mushy, it was juuuuuussssssst right.

KFC Georgia Gold Chicken 4

With the perfect meat and breading I was excited for some intense flavor. However, it never materialized. It was hard to distinguish any flavor at all actually. As I looked to the bottom of the container, I saw what had happened. It had all pooled to the bottom grooves of the container so I decided to scoop up the concoction with my spork.

Once in my mouth, I got all the flavors I was hoping for. Hints of mustard and honey, a slight BBQ essence, even a little bit of heat towards the end, and all surprisingly well balanced. All notes could have been a bit stronger and I wish it was more of a smooth sauce rather than being slightly clumpy and oily, but regardless it was tasty!

I remedied the rest of my meal by adding the mixture right on top of the remaining tenders. After I was finished, forget my fingers, I wanted to lick those grooves. Yum, this was CONTAINER LICKIN’ GOOD!

(Nutrition Facts – 3 Tenders – 410 calories, 22 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 940 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 29 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Goldilocks-style breading. Insanely juicy white meat chicken. Tom Hanks as the new Colonel. A bathtub full of your favorite condiment.
Cons: Trying out a new honey mustard = taste bud Russian roulette. Georgia Gold sauce fleeing the tenders for the safety of the container grooves.

REVIEW: KFC Nashville Hot Chicken

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken

What I know about Nashville: Mrs. Coach from Friday Night Lights has a show about it and something called “hot chicken” was invented there.

A handful of Food Network shows have signal-boosted the wet-looking fried bird in the past decade and, based on the various hosts’ reactions, it’s amazing. If my hazy memory is correct, most of the purveyors of the Music City specialty are tight lipped about the recipe, but a cursory bit of internet sleuthing reveals some sort of cayenne pepper paste mix as the secret.

Enter KFC. Never mind that Nashville is in Tennessee and the “K” in KFC stands for a state that geographically stifles Tennessee like a big brother sitting on top of you trying to squeeze out a fart.

The Yum! Brands conglomerate will have your local delicacy and good luck trying to trademark something with two words as simple as “hot” and “chicken.” They have the balls to put an exclamation point in the name of their company. They have the balls to do anything. Anyway, KFC serves Nashville Hot Chicken. And it’s okay, if not for the typical KFC pitfalls.

The advertisements for Nashville Hot Chicken promise a good amount of heat, one that builds, based on a “secret” recipe that includes cayenne and smoked paprika. On this, it delivers. I had the two-piece basket, which includes a biscuit, a sprinkling of pickles and a side of cole slaw.

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken 2

The breading on the chicken was nice and chunky, crispy. The initial heat factor was low but as the meal went on it chugged into a nice hum. It’s a dull, pleasant spice that is never overwhelming and contrasts well with the smoother tastes of the buttermilk breading and dark meat.

Since it’s being sold with sides as a package, I’ll go into those. The cole slaw is KFC cole slaw. It’s a bit too sweet but the coolness really acts well against the chicken, and basically serves as a palate cleanser whenever you need a respite from the spice.

The flimsy pickles, which are thrown onto the chicken, are an afterthought and do not possess any value whatsoever. They have no bite or any flavor and have wilted onto the greasy bird.

The biscuit touches the chicken and, through magical biscuit powers, absorbs some of the hot chicken oil, which makes an awesome hot oil-dipped biscuit, improving the already-great side.

KFC Nashville Hot Chicken 3

This does, however, bring up the oil situation. KFC calls the entire thing a “two-piece basket” but it came in a plastic container. It traps in all the oil that was on the chicken, KFC-style, but this is hella oil. Hot chicken already looks wet and saturated, but this is for real the most oily chicken I have ever had. Two dozen napkins later, I had dripped the red-colored oil on my sleeves and my notepad, which was on an adjacent table.

Sure, chalk it up to me being a disaster, but this stuff got everywhere. I quit eating the thigh three-fourths the way through because it got too gross. The breading was slipping off like a cummerbund after prom and it was making a gigantic mess.

I had hot chicken once before (in Los Angeles, go figure). It was served on a slice of white bread, to soak up all the oil. Nothing was done like this here, and it was unbearable. The previous experience also had nice homemade vinegar to go along with the chicken, which made me lament the pickle situation even more.

The taste is fine, but the oil is harsh. Yum! Brands, what hast thou wrought?

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on website.)

Item: KFC Nashville Hot Chicken
Purchased Price: $5.49 (includes cole slaw and biscuit)
Size: 2 pieces basket
Purchased at: KFC
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Nice amount of heat, a low simmer of spice. Good breading.
Cons: Unbearably oily. Pickles were flimsy, not bright.

REVIEW: KFC Loaded Potato Bowl

KFC Loaded Potato Bowl

If movies, like Spider-Man, can be rebooted, then I guess it’s possible to reboot a fast food menu item. That’s what I believe KFC’s Loaded Potato Bowl is. It’s a reboot of their Cheesy Bacon Bowl from 2011.

The Loaded Potato Bowl is made up of mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, diced crispy chicken tenders, a three cheese blend, green onions, and a bacon cheese sauce. The Cheesy Bacon Bowl featured mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, crispy chicken, cheese, and bacon.

Of course, like most reboots there are differences from the original, like in The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter uses mechanical webshooters, but in Spider-Man he shoots webs out of his wrists. The KFC Loaded Potato Bowl’s mechanical webshooters are green onions. And the bacon cheese sauce is the bowl’s Gwen Stacy.

As you can see in the photo above, my Loaded Potato Bowl did not come with mechanical webshooters.

Much like previous KFC bowls, the Loaded Potato Bowl looks like the result of a KFC meal placed in the trunk of a car that’s been doing donuts in a parking lot for 15 minutes. It’s not pretty, but as the other KFC bowls have taught me, never judge a KFC bowl by it looking like something that came out of a mouth, instead of something that should go into a mouth.?
KFC Loaded Potato Bowl Closeup

There’s a lot of mashed potatoes. So perhaps it gets its name not because it’s supposed to taste like a loaded potato skin or loaded baked potato, but because it’s loaded with potatoes. Mine also came with a lot of gravy, a decent amount of corn, a layer of diced crispy chicken tenders, a smidge of the three cheese blend, a smothering of cheesy bacon sauce, and, as I mentioned earlier, no green onions.

In my Cheesy Bacon Bowl review, I noted that the bacon bits made the whole thing super salty. But that wasn’t the case with this bowl since the cheesy bacon sauce has 75 percent less bacon bits than what was on the Cheesy Bacon Bowl. If you think that’ll equate to a significant decrease in pork flavor, let me assure you there’s enough salty, smoky bacon bits so that you’ll have some in every sporkful. The sauce also wasn’t very cheesy. It tasted more like a mild gravy than a cheesy sauce.

The chicken, surprisingly, was able to maintain some crispiness sitting in a pool of what is essentially Thanksgiving sides after my 15 minute drive home. There were a few pieces that were almost all breading, there were mostly meaty pieces. Those pieces that had meat were tender, but the double dose of gravy chokes the chicken’s flavor.

As I ate my way through the bowl, all I could think about was how I’ve had this before. It’s a slight variation of KFC’s Famous Bowl and an even slighter variation of the Cheesy Bacon Bowl. Maybe the green onions would’ve made a huge difference, but I think the difference still would’ve been slight.

KFC Spork

To be honest, I was more fascinated with the spork that came with my Loaded Potato Bowl than the meal itself. When did KFC update their sporks?

With all that said, KFC’s Loaded Potato Bowl is fine if you like to eat your KFC food out of a mini trough. It’s filling and it has all the KFC flavors you know and love. But if you’re hoping for something different, you should wait for KFC’s next showing.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on KFC’s website.)

Item: KFC Loaded Potato Bowl
Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: KFC
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Lots of mashed potatoes. Good amount of chicken. Filling. Chicken was able to maintain crispiness even after sitting in a pool of gravy and mashed potatoes.
Cons: Tastes too similar to previous KFC bowls. Some chicken pieces were mostly breading. Double dose of gravy chokes the chicken’s flavor.

REVIEW: KFC Sweet Chili Crunch Chicken (Canada)

KFC Sweet Chili Crunch (Canada) 1

You’ll have to forgive me if this is a particularly short review; KFC’s Sweet Chili Crunch Chicken is essentially just their Hot & Spicy Chicken, but with a drizzling of sauce on top.

However, KFC’s promotional materials seemed to indicate that the chicken itself is different, which didn’t quite jive with what I was tasting.

I decided to call my local KFC to figure this out, which made me feel very reportery (reporter-esque? Reporter-like? Yeah, I’m gonna go with reporter-like. That sounds legit). I’m like Woodward and Bernstein, only instead of rooting out deep-seeded political corruption in the highest government offices, I’m finding out about fried chicken. That’s about the same, right?

Anyway, what I was told is that it actually is slightly different from the standard Hot & Spicy Chicken. The guy I spoke with said very similar, but that the chicken in the Sweet Chili Crunch is actually a little less spicy — I guess because of the presence of the chili sauce?

Either way, it’s similar enough that I doubt you’d be able to tell the difference unless you ate the two side-by-side. I know I couldn’t.

This basically leaves the Sweet Chili sauce as the differentiator. It’s fairly standard-issue stuff, and pretty much tastes like any number of similar Thai-style sauces you can get at the supermarket. It’s very sweet, with a mild garlicky bite, and an even milder hint of spice. If the prospect of spicy fried chicken is what’s drawing you to this item, look elsewhere. The heat level here registers at more of a mild tingle than anything else.

Though the drizzling of sauce initially comes off as odd and a bit stingy, it’s definitely for the best. If the pieces of chicken had been dunked in the sweet sauce, it probably would have overwhelmingly cloying; in the quantity provided, it adds some vague sweetness and a tiny bit of heat, but definitely doesn’t overwhelm the chicken.

KFC Sweet Chili Crunch (Canada) 2

Anyway, it’s good, because KFC’s standard-issue Hot & Spicy Chicken is good, and that’s basically what it tastes like. It’s nice and crunchy, with that distinctive KFC flavour. I know a lot of people don’t like KFC for various reasons, but I’m generally a fan, despite what my last couple of reviews might lead you to believe. This particular batch of chicken was overcooked and a bit on the dry side, but that’s pretty much the luck of the draw.

For six bucks the meal comes with three pieces of dark meat (a drumstick and two thighs) and an order of fries, so it’s not a bad deal, though I’m not a big fan of KFC’s fries. I’m not crazy about battered fries in general -– I like battering and deep-frying things as much as the next guy, but fries are already delicious as they are. No batter necessary.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 thigh piece – 390 calories, 29 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 20 grams of protein.)

Item: KFC Sweet Chili Crunch Chicken (Canada)
Purchased Price: $5.99 (CAN)
Size: 3 pieces and fries
Purchased at: KFC
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Crunchy, tasty chicken. Sweet chili sauce isn’t over-applied.
Cons: Not very spicy. Not much reason to order this over the standard Hot & Spicy chicken.

REVIEW: KFC Chicken Marinara Filler Sub (Canada)

KFC Chicken Marinara Filler Sub

I don’t know how authentic they are, but Italian sandwiches as we know them in North America are pretty much the best. Tender veal — deep-fried to perfection — slathered in a tasty tomato sauce, possibly topped with melty cheese and hot peppers, all on a crusty Italian roll? The best. They’re pretty much the definition of comfort food.

So when I found out that KFC had their own take on one of these sandwiches, I was intrigued. Maybe a little nervous too, coming off my last KFC experience, which was fairly disastrous. But mostly intrigued.

It’s part of their Filler line of subs, which basically consist of two chicken strips laid end-to-end on a nine inch bun, topped with various condiments. This particular one comes with sliced mozzarella and “savoury marinara sauce.”

The woman behind the counter asked if I wanted it spicy, and of course I said yes, because that is always the correct answer to that question. “Do you want this sandwich spicy?” “Yes.” “Do you want these chips spicy?” “Yes.” “Do you want your car wash spicy?” “I… don’t know what that could mean, but… yes. Yes, I do want that car wash spicy.”

Spice tends to improve things is what I’m saying.

KFC Chicken Marinara Filler Sub 2

The bread was weird. Though it appears to be crusty, almost like a baguette, in actuality it was as pillowy soft as a hot dog bun. It wasn’t bad — it suited the sandwich well enough — but the discrepancy between how it looked and how it tasted was pretty jarring.

The two chicken strips in my sandwich were, sadly, radically different in quality. The first half of the sandwich featured chicken that had been ravaged by time; the meat was dried out and had been drained of all heat. If you had measured it, I’m pretty sure it would have been precisely at room temperature. The breading wasn’t quite soggy, but it wasn’t crispy, either.

The chicken strip in the second half, however, was fresh, juicy, and tasty, with a satisfyingly crispy exterior. Its quality differential was a little bit off-putting, but at least one half was good I guess?

KFC Chicken Marinara Filler Sub 3

The marinara sauce was awful. I know that the flavours of food are technically subjective, but this was objectively, mathematically horrible. It had the acrid tang of the absolute bottom of the bottom of the barrel. You could practically taste the can it came out of.

I’m pretty sure it’s the result of a KFC exec commanding his underlings to find the absolute cheapest tomato sauce on the market, and then being like “This still tastes vaguely like real tomato sauce. CHEAPER.”

It tastes like a potent mix of tomato paste, onion powder, garlic powder, and sawdust. I suspect it also contains the tears of orphaned children, but that’s just conjecture on my part. If it’s possible for marinara sauce to be worse than this, I haven’t tasted it.

The mozzarella was fine, at least. It tasted like real cheese and not like the waxy, processed cheese food you might expect given the caliber of the tomato sauce. The heat of the sandwich wasn’t even close to enough to melt it, however. The cheese on the fresh side of the sandwich had softened a bit; on the other side, it was fresh-from-the-fridge cold.

As for the so-called spice, it was negligible. I think it was the least amount of heat you can apply to something and still in good conscience call it spicy.

I think KFC’s heart was in the right place when they created this — in theory, it should have been quite good. But the execution is just way off. Particularly that sauce… Yikes, that sauce.

(Nutrition Facts – 910 calories, 37 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, zero grams of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 930 milligrams of sodium, 97 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fibre, 13 grams of sugar, and 48 grams of protein.)

Item: KFC Chicken Marinara Filler Sub (Canada)
Purchased Price: $6.79 CAN
Size: N/A
Purchased at: KFC
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Freshly cooked chicken is pretty tasty. Real cheese.
Cons: Stale chicken is not so tasty. Weirdly soft bun. Unmelted cheese. Worst tomato sauce of all time.