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Drive-Thru Gourmet

The Colonel plays chicken with the big boys with this crispy new sandwich

The Colonel plays chicken with the big boys with this new sandwich

Drive-Thru Gourmet - Classic Crispy Colonel KFC
KFC has employed an equally crispy Colonel to pitch this sandwich.  Courtesy photo

This week, I reached out for a Classic Crispy Colonel Sandwich, one of four  new Crispy Colonels at the world's No. 1 chicken plucker, KFC, with 21,000 restaurants dotting this crazy blue marble.

That's four new Crispy Colonel sandwiches — as opposed to the 12 B-list celebrities (except for you, Reba) that KFC has hired to portray Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, who's surely spinning in his grave in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville. (Road trip!)

This time around, KFC has exhumed George Hamilton as the crispy, golden-brown Colonel to match these new crispy, deep-fried sandwiches. Not sure who's getting the better end of the bargain here.

Here's the Classic Crispy Colonel Sandwich breakdown: a big hunk of whole white meat breast, dunked in KFC's extra crispy breading, and plunked in the deep-fryer — topped with mayonnaise and pickles then plopped on a toasted bun.

Total calories: 460. Fat grams: 25. Sodium: 1,170 mg. Carbs: 37 g. Dietary fiber: 2 g. Protein: 24 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $3.99. Also available as part of KFC's "$5 Fill Up Box" with potato wedges, a cookie, and medium soft drink. That's a nifty bargain.

The Classic Crispy Colonel Sandwich is the stripped-down, no-frills model. For a mere 50 cents extra, you can get this sandwich dripping in KFC's Smoky Mountain BBQ sauce, Nashville Hot sauce, or Georgia Gold sauce. I recommend Nashville Hot, since there's a swath of restaurants across America jumping on the Nashville Hot train.

KFC promises yet another flavor of Crispy Colonel Sandwiches coming this summer. Whatever it is, please don't bring back Ray Liotta as the Colonel — too creepy.

The Crispy Colonel line marks KFC's 334th attempt at establishing itself as a serious chicken sandwich player, slamming the brakes on that runaway rocket called Chick-fil-A, which is breaking the bank in America's food court. Even the burger boys like McDonald's, Burger King, and especially Wendy's are playing chicken with KFC and winning.

Last year, KFC introduced Zingers, a certainty to get KFC cooking in the sandwich wars. Nope. Zingers were gone faster than McDonald's can flash freeze its chicken patties.

That's KFC's drumstick up on the competition. KFC hand-breads and hand-sauces its breasts in each restaurant and cooks to order. The burger guys merely toss pre-everything breasts in the fryer and slap them on boring burger buns.

One thing: If KFC wants to beat Chick-fil-A, or at least gain poultry parity, why the mayonnaise? Chick-fil-A's classic sandwich comes bare bones, with only two slices of pickle. KFC adds mayo, and mayo adds 90 calories, both unnecessary add-ons.

Bottom line grade: These Crispy Colonel Sandwiches are terrific and audibly crunchy, thick, and meaty and served glistening hot with your choice of sauce. They're here to stay on the menu...but we've heard that before from KFC. Here's hoping for a nice long chicken run.

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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