With an adorable new Colonel mascot in the form of a sweet ol’ honeybear, the indubitably fine, mostly Southern kinfolk at Kentucky Fried Chicken (or Kitchen Fresh Chicken, if you do so prefer) continue their sauce-filled fried chicken domination of America with the tasty-enough Honey Hot flavor now on the KFC dinner table.
Ordering a three-piece Extra Crispy Tenders Meal complete with mashed potatoes, a biscuit, and one lonesome lil’ pickle slice, the Honey Hot variety is the stickiest mess of a sauce yet, soaking everything in its vicinity with a mouth-watering, eye-stinging clarity. The red-staining bit of generic honey was drenched all over the chicken tenders, seeping to a peppery puddle underneath them, creating a delicious dipping sauce as that famous KFC crust stayed undoubtedly firm and harmonically crunchy.
By the second try, I twirled my chicken tender in the settled sauce to get a little more of that Hot Honey taste. Like a Kentucky Fried shock to the system, the sweetness is almost immediate, cooling your taste buds with the much-loved taste of nothin’ but honey. Give it a few seconds though, because that hot comes rushing down the track like a peppery freight train, doing itself a grand service of providing a nice little burn that goes down easy enough.
But, even better, even with more sauce to soak it in, the extra crunchy skin continues to stay remarkably extra crunchy while the sauce manages to get deep into the tasty sinews and musculature of the beast, making almost an edible massage oil that, greasy bite by greasy bite, holds up with a tightly tangy fervor.
With plenty of the Honey Hot drainage left on my plate — even though the delicious Extra Crispy Tenders were a thing of dusty memory now — I used my remaining biscuit to selfishly sop up the sauce, to great effect. The pepper had made a suspended section unto itself in the sweet goop, giving me a nice headrush as I ate a thick, sticky sliver on my breadstuff. You’ve got to sell this stuff as a dipper, KFC!
Feel free to take a sip or two of water, just in case though, but not because of the heat, mind you. Once the sweet has passed and the hot is long gone, you better prepare to get a mildly weird aftertaste that is best described as taking a shot of soy sauce, swishing it around and swallowing it deep. It’s not a bad thing, just generally surprising and a little off-putting. Though great if you love soy sauce shooters.
Aftertaste aside, this might be KFC’s best chicken experiment yet, finally finding the perfect balance of one thing that people routinely screw up so often and so royally: the sweetness of the honey and the heat of the pepper. Cómpralo ya!
(Nutrition Facts – 570 calories, 36 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 1460 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 30 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $5.49
Size: 3 Extra Crispy Chicken Tenders
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Perfect balance of sweet and heat. Doesn’t make the chicken crust soggy.
Cons: Alarming “soy sauce” aftertaste.