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Smokehouse/Chophouse Style Challenge: Reviewing KFC's Smoky Mountain BBQ Chicken Tenders

By Mike Thayer

KFC Smoky Mountain BBQ
KFC Promo Pic

I recently wrote about what to look forward to in 2019 from fast food.  Trending, are smokehouse/steakhouse style burgers and sandwiches and the meat of the year is predicted to be brisket.

Consumers are clamoring for something more, creations beyond the ordinary realm of classic burger and sandwich flavors.  People want smokey, they desire more than just ketchup and mustard, folks are calling for cheeses with deeper flavors and buns with a little more tease than run-of-the-mill sesame seeds.  And it's no different when it comes to other meat on bread options, a.k.a., pizza, consumers are looking for more, something beyond the traditional flavors.

20190221_121131Today for lunch I opted for 'other,' traveling to KFC and ordering their Smoky Mountain BBQ basket, going with the chicken tenders option.

Here's the description from the website:  Our Smoky Mountain BBQ brings the sweet, smoky flavors of Southern BBQ to Kentucky! Available in tenders, Chicken Littles™, and Extra Crispy™ chicken, it’s crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and delicious on every side. Try it in a Smoky Mountain BBQ basket today with your choice of Extra Crispy™ chicken or Extra Crispy™ tenders, mashed potatoes, biscuit, and pickles!

My to-go meal cost me $6.98 for three tenders, a biscuit, pickles, mashed potatoes and gravy along with a medium drink.  I was intrigued by this menu item because the sauce is oil-based, crafted that way to maintain the crispiness of the chicken.  A traditional BBQ sauce would result in soggy breading and who wants soggy fried chicken, right?

20190221_121555Making a little sandwich with one of the tenders, the pickles and the biscuit, I enjoyed all the flavors that were brought together.  The chicken was indeed crispy and the sauce was sweet and smoky as advertised.  The pickle provided the tart you want to offset the sweet and what can you say about the biscuits that hasn't already been said, KFC makes some of the best biscuits in fast food.  Dressing that biscuit with a packet of that KFC butter before slapping it all together, I have to say it was a pretty tasty little sandwich.  When I got to the tenders by themselves though - particularly the one sitting entirely flat on the bottom of the tray - that sauce, without the marriage with the bun and pickles was now too sweet and the grainy-texture of that oil-based sauce became quite noticeable.  It wasn't off-putting enough to put the tenders down, but the grittiness of it did put a bit of a downer on the remainder of the meal.

All-in-all, the flavors are there, but the chicken and sauce definitely needed the bread and pickles to make it more enjoyable and the grainy texture of KFC's "Smoky Mountain BBQ" sauce takes the meal out of the repeat buy column.  I give KFC's offering 3 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars, but only because I don't do half stars.    The price was reasonable, but unless the Colonel can smooth over that sauce, I'd rather get something else off the menu.

3 stars

$pend Wisely My Friends.....



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