Here’s your winner of Serious Eats’ chain burger tourney.
On Tuesday, KFC rolled out its Double Down chicken sandwich — I really ought to put quotes around the word “sandwich” for this bun-less creation — and the food media immediately tore into it. Today, cardiologists everywhere are celebrating.
More on that in a moment — the Double Down, that is, not the celebrating cardiologists.
First up: The winner of A Hamburger Today‘s Chain Burger Tournament. It’s none other than Five Guys, the Lorton-based chain that has more than 550 outlets in more than 35 states. That kind of volume (plus its lack of Mickey D’s-like baggage) has to be the reason why Five Guys trounced Whataburger in the finals and even, in an earlier round, got the better of the iconic, seemingly unbeatable In-N-Out Burger. It has to be. Right? Right?
Whatever the explanation and regardless of whether we think the chain deserves the honor, Y&H sends out his congratulations to Five Guys on its victory. I’m trying not to make that sound like a back-handed compliment.
Meanwhile over on the chicken front, KFC’s Double Down has drawn the attention of some lofty palates, including Sam Sifton‘s at the New York Times who bit into the monstrosity that features two fried slabs of white-meat pressing against two strips of bacon, slices of Monterey Jack and pepper Jack cheeses, and the Colonel’s special sauce. The “sandwich” clocks in at 540 calories, 32 grams of fat, and 1380 milligrams of sodium.
Sifton pronounced it a “slimy and unnaturally moist thing, with flavor ginned up in a lab.”
Serious Eats’ Erin Zimmer wasn’t much kinder in her review:
We wanted this to be one of those bad-good foods that’s not good but an I-hope-nobody-sees-me-ordering-this pleasure foods. It’s not, really. It’s just some overly-seasoned chicken with an odd-tasting sauce and too much cheese inside, and the bacon was definitely not hanging over the sides as the ad portrayed. We practically had to pull out tweezers to find it.
Even more reviews:
- Chicago Tribune‘s: “When you were a kid, did you ever dare yourself to lick one of those big salt bricks near the grocery store checkout?”
- The Village Voice‘s: “It’s probably not the worst $5 meal in town.”
- Broward/Palm Beach New Times‘: “In summation, it wasn’t the worst piece of fast food I’ve ever eaten. Nor was it the best.”