The Verdict on the Double Down


Of course you know about the Kentucky Fried Chicken “double down” sandwich. I’m not politic; I’m not going to say that “I don’t pay attention to things like this,” because in truth I pay attention to the fast food industry, especially the way in which new dishes are tested and marketed. Last April when the Louisville, Kentucky-based chain unleashed this so-called “bunless” sandwich of two fried chicken breasts bound together with “special sauce,” cheese, and bacon, I was disgusted but I couldn’t look away. So last Friday the 13th, when I found myself on a family roadtrip pulled off the highway at a gas station that shared a parking lot with a KFC, I realized it was now or never.

Now, I’ve been following the debut of the double down since it hit the market. It captivated the attention of my favorite male eaters, including one I live with and one very prominent food writer, both of whom were unabashedly excited by the double down despite the fact that one bite could potentially kill you. The chief dining critic at the New York Times was intrigued enough to taste it, but panned the thing by calling it “slimy and unnaturally moist….a must-to avoid.” The reviewer at The Onion’s “AV Club” was more charitable, saying that at first he found the sandwich beguiling, with its readily apparent “herbs and spices,” but after a few bites his gastrointestinal tract felt like Georgia after Sherman burned it down.

Despite this, I came with an open mind. I don’t like fast food, but I like weird things. Odd is not enough here, though: The act of tearing through two large fried chicken breasts with one’s teeth creates an ugly mechanical problem. Then there’s the “sauce,” which is mayonnaise-based and impossibly greasy. The texture is not aided by super gelatinous slices of processed cheese.

In search of a guilty pleasure? Press on, and elsewhere.

(Note: I love fried chicken, and have learned to make a decent oven-fried version. I also love my kids, and have learned to make very good homemade chicken nuggets. Food writer Brooke McLay makes her own spicy chicken sandwiches.)

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