How I Pulled A Bird On The Way Home
Sometimes artists make great sacrifices in the pursuit of creation and perfection. Here is a transcript of a conversation that led me on one such journey through hardship to enlightenment:
*Editor sends Dan link*
“Yeah, I almost got one the other night, looks alright. Wish I had now.”
“Boo, I want a review.”
“Ok, I’ll get one on my way home?”
Such heroic selflessness, I know.
Of course, I am talking about KFC’s new “Pulled Chicken” range. What? You thought I was talking about something else? How strange…
Yes, KFC have launched a range of products featuring Pulled Chicken. I won’t debate the validity of “Pulling” a lean meat like chicken, as The Guardian have kindly done that for me
As they quote, Louise Direito, KFC’s innovation manager: “If pulled pork was the dish of 2014, then 2015 will become the year of pulled chicken.” Now I personally don’t see this being the case, but who am I to argue with someone who possibly has one of the world’s top five jobs? Top 10? 50? What does she do? All they do is reshape chicken into different pieces and put new sauces on it?
Anyway, this post is getting completely derailed, and was originally to tell you simply what this latest “innovation” is like. Don’t get me wrong, I like a bit of fried chicken (as my waist line proclaims), but pulled chicken? Really?
I ordered the Pulled Chicken Ultimate Burger Meal. Generally I am a sucker for anything that has “mega”, “gigantic”, “super” or indeed “ultimate” in the name so this seemed right up my street (you should see the ice creams I ordered when I was a kid. Oh ok, I still do…). From KFC themselves:
To create something special like our new Ultimate Burger takes time. Now you can delight in slow-cooked, BBQ Pulled Chicken, draped over 2 crispy Mini Fillets on a bed of Southern-style paprika slaw. All topped off with lettuce, cheese and a softly toasted Brioche bun and served with a drink and fries. Make the most of every mouthful.
Yes that’s pretty pretentious. My Pulled Chicken was certainly not “draped”…
Now the first thing that I noticed both from the menu pictures and when I opened the box was the slightly too glossy brioche-style bun. It looked rather plastic and not that appetizing. However, the filling itself looked pretty good. I was however pleasantly surprised, and would go so far to say that the bun was probably the best bit.
The mini fillets were as to be expected, but having two of them in the bun made it a little difficult to eat, one is always sliding out the other side. This is helped along the way by the “Southern-style paprika slaw” on the base and the sauce covered Pulled Chicken on the top.
To deal with the former first, the slaw was rather bland on its own, lacking any real paprika flavour, but it was at least relatively light on the mayo.
The pulled chicken on the other hand did have a good flavour, the BBQ sauce was sweet and tangy and pretty much what you would expect on a mass produced pulled pork product. I was pleased there wasn’t too much sauce, as this would have been overpowering and made the burger even harder to eat.
After picking a few pieces of the pulled chicken off individually (there are several large chunks, it isn’t all properly shredded/pulled) I was struck by a similarity of flavour. After a few moments of contemplation I realised it was chicken doner kebab – you know the bright red stuff you persuade yourself isn’t quite as bad as a lamb doner at 3am? This is more an indication of the brown meat that they’ve used to make the product more than anything else, but the rather negative connotations of the taste put me off a little.
But, let’s be honest, the whizz kids in innovation didn’t design this to be picked apart, but instead eaten as a whole. Well, not whole, even I don’t have a mouth that big. One bite into the burger proper, and my cynicism was rather brushed aside.
The pulled chicken and slaw worked very well together, and the overall effect was actually relatively delicate, which is an odd thing to say about a KFC burger I know. As I said, the brioche-style bun was actually very good: tasty, soft and not too sweet (which is always my biggest fear of brioche. That and being attacked by 100 brioche sized lions…).
Caveat to all of the above is that I was bloody starving, halfway through a long drive home. But then when else would you eat KFC?