Over the course of this here blessed lifetime, I have come to consider myself quite worldly in the grand scheme of most things barbeque. I’ve sampled and enjoyed the various takes and numerous styles of this homegrown culinary tradition throughout this sticky-fingered country, leaving a long trail of broken hearts and used wet wipes along the way. With that little preamble said and done, I have to admit the new KFC Smokey Mountain BBQ chicken has left me a little more perplexed than usual.
While it claims to be something of a mixture of the various “sweet, smoky flavors of Southern BBQ” — interpret that however you will — the vague drenching of this supposed sauce on my two-piece seems to have more in comparison with the off-putting artificial flavoring of BBQ-seasoning dusted on a bag of cheap store-brand potato chips than any tried and true ‘que creation I’ve ever come in contact with. It’s really the only thing found in nature that, after numerous unlikable bites, I can honestly compare it to.
Having been a moderate fan of KFC’s attempt at Georgia Gold honey mustard barbeque (and, to a somewhat lesser extent, its moderately gentrified take on Nashville Hot Chicken), this generalized take on what it consider to be Smokey Mountain flavors, seemed half-hearted at best, right down to the chintzy drizzle over my extra crispy pieces. They resembled nothing like the glorious coating on every photogenic cut of poultry in every piece of promotional material.
Of course, like most KFC products, the chicken itself was right on, juicy and tender, hot and crispy and served with a kitchen fresh smile. The problem here is totally with the Smokey Mountain sauce, which is comically salty and overly sweet to a fault, necessitating more than the daily recommended allowance of trips to the soda fountain to swish and spit that mouth-binding fraudulent Southern sass that the Colonel wrongfully thinks represents said mountainous regions.
Now, with all that being said in regards to both the two-piece bone-in or three-piece tenders meal, I will casually admit that the sauce does work better when you order it as part of its totes adorbs Chicken Littles menu, the plump sesame seed buns, pickles, and mayonnaise working together as an excellent buffer, bringing out the more flavorful qualities of the Smokey Mountain sauce as a probable condiment while religiously oppressing the glaring flaws of its main reason for being.
Even though I’m always eager to see whatever concoctions the flavor wizards deep in the Dixieland Laboratories of the KFC Sassafrassin’ Sauce Studios come up with next, this is definitely one that should’ve gone back for a little more quality control testing, honey. Until then, I’ll just keep sneaking in my pocket-sized flask of Cholula Green Pepper hot sauce to pro-actively blanket that two-piece extra crispy myself. Ya’ heard, KFC?
(Nutrition Facts – 2-piece chicken only – 260 calories, 150 calories from fat, 16 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 110 milligrams of cholesterol, 810 milligrams of sodium, 7 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 22 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: 2-piece (drumstick and wing)
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Makes a good condiment for a sandwich. Chicken Little fits in a pocket.br />
Cons: Too salty. Tastes like cheap BBQ chips. Skimps on sauce.