Review: KFC’s Double Down

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Somewhere in heaven, clad head-to-toe in his trademarked white suit, the Colonel is grabbing his junk, flicking the bird, and telling Michelle Obama and Jaime Oliver to “SUCK IT!”

By now, I’d be a little surprised if you have not heard about the Double Down, the latest atrocity/crowning achievement of the American fast food industry. The marketing guys at KFC that thought this “sandwich” up had better be in the middle of a celebratory bender in Vegas right now, because those guys KILLED it.

We may never know exactly how the brainstorming (see also: pot-smoking) session that gave birth to the Double Down went. But I’d bet you it included some time on TIWYF and the phrase: “Dude….you know what would be HILARIOUS?!”

This monster swaps the bun for fried chicken patties which hold two slices of bacon, two slices of cheese (pepper jack and Monterey jack), and the Colonel’s (mayonnaise based) sauce.

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May God have mercy on our souls.

Because my voracious love of for fast-food breakfasts has caught up with me a little these days, and because now that spring has sprung in Atlanta I might have to actually let my torso see the sun again, I have started a diet. Ok, well….”diet” may not be the best word for it. I’m just taking a break from fast food. Considering that I’ve gradually worked my way up to 4-5 breakfasts and the occasional lunch in a drive-thru, it was time to rein it in. But, if you think that I’m going to stop eating bacon, ribeyes, or duck fat, you’d better get yo’ mind right, son. I’m just trying to cut down on the crap.

And I figured, what better way to start a fast food hiatus than to go out on the White Whale of expeditious dining?

According to the KFC website, the Double Down only has 540 calories, 32 g of fat, and 1380 mgs of sodium. 540 CALORIES MY ASS! I’m not buying that for a second. I’ve seen 3rd party estimates that call it at around 1200 calories. It may not be THAT high, but I’m pretty sure we are at least north of 800 here.

Yeah, yeah…there is a grilled Double Down option, for those of you that won’t sack up and indulge properly. But, what the hell is the point of that? If you are going to Double Down, do it right, or don’t do it at all.

I know that I’m not going to sway you in your decision to double down, or not to double down. Unless this is the first time that you’ve heard of it, your mind is already made up. Most of you are probably either repulsed or amused by it, and a few of you have probably already had one. God knows that wild horses could not have kept me away from KFC that day.

Though I almost exclusively write about food from REAL restaurants, don’t go thinking that I’m scared to slum it. I slum it and I enjoy it. If you have ever been to a Krystal with me in tow, you would know that I have nothing against fast food. I was literally GIDDY about going to eat my Double Down, and not in the ironic “I can’t believe I’m actually doing this” sort of way. The Double Down made my mouth water. 

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DAMN I wanted this to be better than it was.

On paper, I couldn’t see how this would be anything short of incredible. Think about it… fried chicken, cheese, BACON, and mayo(ness)….how could that go wrong?

Well, in case you had built this up in your head as a orgy of fatty transcendence, allow me to burst your bubble and bring you back down from the heavens: If you have ever tasted a piece of KFC’s Original Recipe chicken before, then you already know exactly what a Double Down tastes like.  

The fried chicken patties completely overwhelm all of the other parts of the sandwich. I actually peeled mine open because I thought they had forgotten the bacon. But it was in there- pale, lifeless, and buried under the disappointingly bland white cheese.

The only component that occasionally stood up to the salty blend of 11 herbs and spices was the Thousand Island-ish Colonel’s Sauce. Though those bites where the sauce came through did flirt with excellence, it still wasn’t enough to make this stand out.

Don’t get me wrong…this is isn’t unpleasant, but only because KFC is decent fried chicken; it just isn’t anything special. (For the record, Bojangles’ can whip the Colonel’s ass any day of the week. There, I said it.) If the cheese and the bacon hadn’t been a complete afterthought, this could have been great. Or maybe if the cheese and bacon had looked anything like in the commercials, they would have actually contributed to the flavor. Alas, this just tasted like two pieces of slightly dry KFC with some mayonnaise on it.

As far as I can tell, the Double Down is still nothing more than some rebellious and clever novelty marketing. In a world plagued with anti-obesity crusaders, PETA, and rampant veganism, KFC has chosen to buck the trend and remind America that, no matter how self-righteous we become, there will always be a market for self-destruction. We will line up to line our arteries, and do it with guilty smiles on our faces.

That ballsiness had me really rooting for the Double Down to be all that it could be. But I honestly don’t think that it’s worth it. I am all for eating a meal that will shave a few hours off your life as long as it is amazing. This just wasn’t one of those meals.

Hmmm…I wonder what a homemade double down might be like? That wouldn’t qualify as fast food, right?

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2 Comments

  1. Posted April 20, 2010 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    ZOMG!!! Jon!!!!

    You *have to* do a homemade double down!!!! I demand it!!!!!!!

    ZOMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    =P

  2. Posted April 20, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Bravo. I agree with you on so many levels in this post:

    1) I have no time for Jaime Oliver (okay, I agree with the Colonel on that).
    2) Eating the grilled version of this is like getting whole wheat pizza crust (a terrible idea, always).
    3) Fast food is awesome, and loving it does not diminish the credibility of a food blogger. Those who disagree get lumped in with Michelle Obama and Jaime Oliver.
    4) KFC making something that is underwhelming does not surprise me.
    5) Bojangles destroys KFC. I’d actually put Mrs. Winner’s, Church’s, and Popeye’s ahead of KFC, too.

    Would like to see Chick-Fil-A take a crack at this monster…

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