A new flavor hits some Kentucky Fried Chicken menus today, straight from the Louisville-based chicken company’s top-secret innovation kitchen.
The new taste of KFC marries two of my personal favorites — fried chicken and pickles — to create its Pickle Fried Chicken offerings.
I tried it Wednesday, ahead of the release, and let me tell you, it’s everything a pickle-lover would want in pickle-y chicken. The simplest way to describe it is to say it’s like eating a piece of chicken coated in fried pickles. It’s crispy, buttery, salty and tangy.
It’s made by covering the extra crispy recipe chicken with a dill pickle-flavored sauce. Although fried chicken wrapped in fried pickles and doused in sauce sounds like it should be a heavy meal, the oil-based sauce is poured lightly on top of the Extra Crispy Chicken (tenders, in my case), making for a refreshing, lighter-than-expected finish to the chicken.
Nigel Benton, a project manager for KFC Restaurants, said that was no accident. The innovation kitchen was careful not to overdo it with this flavor profile, he said.
Halfway through my second tender, Benton gave me a pro tip to eat the chicken on a biscuit to get the full effect of the flavor. It did not disappoint.
Louisville-based KFC’s decision to create a pickle-centric chicken was born out of customers’ requests for more pickles on the chain’s Crispy Colonel sandwich, according to a news release. Instead of just adding more pickles to its chicken sandwiches to satisfy the request, KFC took the pickle request a step further.
“People are crazy about pickles, and pickle-flavored products are becoming today’s trendiest menu item. Pickles and fried chicken are a match made in heaven, with tastemakers everywhere pairing these flavors,” Andrea Zahumensky, KFC U.S. chief marketing officer, said in the release.
Pickle is a hot summer flavor trend. Sonic just released a Pickle Juice Slush, and pickle flavor has been infiltrating chips, popsicles, soda and even beer. Plus the trend has been popping up on appetizer menus everywhere in the form of fried pickle apps.
KFC’s pickle chicken will be available for a limited time only and will be sold as a Crispy Colonel Sandwich, Extra Crispy Tenders, Chicken Littles and Extra Crispy Chicken in participating U.S. restaurants beginning Monday, June 25. At some, it will launch today and throughout the weekend.
It will only be around “until it runs out,” according to the release.
Pickle Fried Chicken is the fourth in KFC’s flavor series, following Nashville Hot, Smoky Mountain BBQ and Georgia Gold honey mustard barbecue.
KFC is owned by Louisville-based Yum Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM), one of Louisville’s largest public companies.