KFC’s Double Down: Extreme Cheeseburger WannabeBy Todd • Aug 27th, 2009 • Category: Burger Blog
Man, THAT reached a fever pitch in a hurry, didn’t it? If you’ve been anywhere in cyberspace this week, you’ve no doubt been inundated with stories about the latest Sign of the American Culture Apocalypse, being cooked up in a few select KFC kitchens in Omaha and Providence. I’m talking about the new sandwich they’re test-driving called the Double Down. I first read about it on Monday. By Thursday night, typing “kfc double down” into Google brought up 56 pages of results.
So why am I adding to the deafening roar here on a site dedicated to cheeseburgers? If you ask me, this gut bomb is a direct descendant of the extreme cheeseburger phenomenon we’ve seen lately. I mean, think about it. Would anybody over at KFC ever have come up with a sandwich that uses fried chicken breasts as “buns” if it weren’t for this? Or this? Or this?
Let’s be honest. Many of these new menu items are about nothing more than shock value. If people actually enjoy it, so much the better. But mainly, it’s about generating hype and buzz, getting butts through the door, and putting bills in the cashbox. And nothing does that quite like a horrifically-decadent, bordering-on-grotesque culinary Frankenstein that people are at once disgusted and fascinated by. So kudos to KFC for getting on board with this theory, because when was the last time anybody said, “Have you seen what KFC is doing?!?”
But look past the faux-horror media blitzkrieg for a second and actually dissect this sandwich for what it is. Two fried chicken filets, a slice of pepper jack cheese, a slice of Swiss, two strips of bacon, and some sauce. Is that really a shocking amount of food? A pretty basic chicken filet sandwich might have a slice of cheese and 2 strips of bacon on it. So this is 2 sandwiches, which is not uncommon for one person to put away. Order it as the Double Down, and now it has less bacon. And no buns instead of 4 buns. Suddenly sounds kinda tame, doesn’t it?
Thanks to the buzz machine, all you hear is, “They’re using pieces of fried chicken as buns!” uttered in mock disgust with a tsk-tsk-tsk shake of the head. But think about it like a double chicken sandwich turned inside out. Sounds pretty good, but not exactly the end of the world as we know it. If these filets are buns, they’re buns with nothing in between. Cheese and bacon? Those are toppings, not the meat of a sandwich. Where’s the beef?
(Ooh. Put an actual freakin’ burger in there. Now that’s an idea. I smell another DIY project cooking.)
In the meantime, I wish KFC well with the new venture. I hope the Double Down turns out to be a good gamble. I hope to see it added to the KFC menu everywhere. Because for the first time in ages, this burger fan sees a reason to pay the Colonel a visit.