This week, I reached out for a new Hot Honey Chicken Tenders Basket from KFC, the poultry kingpins with 21,000 restaurants in 123 countries 'round the world.
Hot Honey is the latest addition to KFC's cache of Southern-inspired flavors: Nashville Hot, Georgia Gold, and Smoky Mountain BBQ. Think of Hot Honey as Nashville Hot cranked up hotter and honey-er. As soon as you open the bag, and that aroma fills the car, you know you're onto something mighty potent.
Here's the Hot Honey Tenders blueprint: white-meat chicken tenders, covered with extra crispy breading and deep-fried, served with a pickle slice on top, plus a biscuit and one side. Smart play says coleslaw. KFC's coleslaw is a fast food legend.
Total calories: 190 (per tender). Fat grams: 12. Sodium: 490 mg. Carbs: 11 g. Dietary fiber: 1 g. Protein: 10 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $5.99 for a three-tender basket.
KFC isn't playing games with Hot Honey. We're talking legit sweet heat. The honey hits you first, like a soft lullabye, then the spice rocks your senses like a 5 am wakeup call.
Hot Honey sauce is a viscous blend of peppers and honey, and KFC lays it on thick. The breading is dripping in sauce and it sticks to your fingers and lips (and steering wheel). We're talking five napkins and one sleeve minimum. Sauce runoff coats the bottom of the basket, perfect for sopping up with the biscuit.
Hot Honey is available on tenders, the Colonel's Sandwich, Extra Crispy Chicken, and Chicken Littles sliders. The Colonel's Sandwich comes with pickles on top and a slather of mayo on the bottom. What KFC is thinking by adding mayo is beyond me. Mayo adds nothing, except a whole lot of calories and fat.
The pickles are a nice touch, though, adding cool 'n' crispy to the hot 'n' saucy.
KFC's tenders are bigger than shrimpy pieces from the burger drive-through boys. Chicken is KFC's thing, and the Colonel knows what he's doing. But he won't be doing Hot Honey for long, it's a limited time only deal.
Ken Hoffman reviews a new fast food restaurant item every Wednesday. Have a suggestion or a drive-thru favorite? Let Ken know in the comments or on Twitter.