Hoffman's Houston
Drive-Thru Gourmet

New chicken sandwich at Carl's Jr. throws a nice Hawaiian punch

New chicken sandwich at Carl's Jr. throws a nice Hawaiian punch

Houston, Carl's Jr and Hardees, Hawaiian Charbroiled Chicken Sandwich, August 2017
Drive-Thru Gourmet Ken Hoffman reaches out for a Hawaiian Charbroiled Chicken Sandwich, new from Carl's Jr. and Hardee's.  Courtesy photo

This week I reached out for a Hawaiian Charbroiled Chicken Sandwich, new from buddy-buddies Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, with 3,330 restaurants divvied up across the U.S.

The Hawaiian is one of three debuting charbroiled chicken sandwiches starring 100-percent antibiotic-free white meat breast filets. The others are the Charbroiled Chicken Club and the BBQ Charbroiled Chicken Sandwich.

All three have been around the block with Carl's Jr. and Hardee's in some configuration, but the news here is antibiotic-free chicken breasts.

Here's the Hawaiian Charbroiled Chicken Sandwich breakdown

A solid plank of breast filet, a slice of grilled pineapple, Swiss cheese, teriyaki sauce, mayonnaise, red onions, lettuce, and tomato on a honey wheat bun.

Total calories: 530. Fat grams: 22. Sodium: 1,530 mg. Carbs: 53 g. Dietary fiber: 3 g. Protein: 30 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $5.69 (give or take a .69).

First, there's a whole of action going on here

Between the pineapple, Swiss, veggies, and condiments, you might not notice there's a hunk of chicken in there. That's called burying the lede ... under a pile of toppings.

When Hawaiian pizza - with pineapple and ham - was introduced, as recently as 1962, it caused a rampage of controversy and debate. What is pineapple doing on a pizza? Ugh. Yuck. Politicians even got into the fray, one country's leader saying he would ban pineapple on a pizza if he had the authority. And yes, the wounds are still open, the controversy still rages.

I'm with the ughs and yucks.

Now here's Carl's Jr. and Hardee's throwing a Hawaiian punch with pineapple and teriyaki on a grilled chicken sandwich. It's a different flavor and texture, all right. At least the pineapple is from Dole, and we love recognizable brand names in the drive-through.

Pineapple is a funny thing

In Great Britain and Australia, it's a top 5 favorite pizza topping. In the U.S., it's down at the bottom, topping only anchovies and mushrooms. Hey, I like mushrooms on my pie!

Teriyaki, all by itself, makes this a salt lick sandwich - 1,530 mg of sodium is too much. But you know me, I'm a problem-solver. You might ask the friendly sandwich artist to leave off the teriyaki ... and hold the mayo, too. Mayo is pure fat. OK, now we've cut back the sodium and fat, and there's still enough juiciness from the pineapple and tomato to put this sandwich across the finish line.

You know, I sort of liked the pineapple slice on this sandwich.