KFC is rolling out a brand new menu item: Smoky Mountain BBQ fried chicken. The sweet and smoky snack blends recipes from Memphis and the Carolinas, joining two other Southern-inspired flavors: spicy Nashville Fried Hot Chicken and tangy Georgia Gold honey mustard barbecue.
“KFC’s take on the Southern mainstay boasts a touch of vinegar to please North Carolinians, a little bit of sweetness for the Kansas City-style faithful and a crispiness that even Memphis dry rub fans will appreciate,” the fast-food giant said in a release.
Smoky Mountain BBQ fried chicken will be available nationwide at the end of this month, but thanks to our friends over at KFC and the chain’s head chef Bob Das, we Daily Meal staffers were able to get our hands on the new style early.
And to our surprise — it didn’t taste much like fast food at all. Although the chicken wasn’t as robust as a traditional barbecue sauce, KFC’s take on the flavor is a definite palate pleaser.
“The oil-based sauce helped them stay crisp,” one editor opined, noting that sauced poultry normally grows soggy over time. “The sauce had an interesting texture, slightly gritty from the spices but not unpleasant.”
“I was pleasantly surprised by how subtle the flavors were. It did not taste like fast food,” another editor said. “I had planned to take one bite and I ate all three chicken tenders.”
All-in-all, we thought the sauce’s flavor was outstanding. The only issue someone might have with this item is its grittiness.
“I really, really liked the flavor of the chicken strips. It was really similar to a mesquite barbecue potato chip but on a chicken finger, which is a truly amazing combination,” an editor reviewed. “I did find the grainy texture to be a little off-putting. I don't love feeling the ‘raw’ spices in my sauce.”
Finger-lickin’ fans can try Smoky Mountain BBQ starting January 29. For more on Colonel Sanders’ empire, check out these 15 things you didn’t know about Kentucky Fried Chicken.