While everyone was busy fighting over fried chicken sandwiches, KFC was busy working on fried chicken wings. The ubiquitous chicken chain jumped into the wings game this week, with the launch of all-new bone-in flats in drums in four flavors: honey BBQ, Nashville hot, buffalo, and sauce-less plain.
This isn't the first time KFC has brought wings to the menu, but it's the first time the wings arrive in these highly-specified sauces, each with a drastically different flavor. We decided to try out all four of the crunchy, well-seasoned wings to see which of them is the best, and which -- if any -- shouldn’t have made it to a permanent spot on the chain's menu. Here are KFC’s new wings, in order from worst to best:
I ranked buffalo last not because they were bad, but because they were simply my least favorite. I mean I guess that’s how rankings work. Despite this, these buffalo wings are a solid option if you’re looking for that tang and heat that Buffalo sauce delivers. I found these wings to be the slightly too vinegar-y and tart; the sauce definitely has the ability to sting your eyes simply by lifting a wing up to your lips for a taste -- that’s how acidic they were. That being said, several bites in I really savored the tang and gentle heat of the buffalo wings and would opt for them again if I was craving the buttery and jolting flavors of buffalo sauce.
3. Honey BBQ
I’m not typically a huge fan of sauced-up BBQ wings, only because I find them to be overly sweet and lacking the crunch I crave from a fried chicken wing. These KFC ones were neither of those things! While the wings were all tossed in bbq sauce and the sauce coated each wing pretty evenly, I didn’t feel like the wings were left to bathe in a pool of BBQ. They were still able to retain some of the crunch from the initial frying and the salty flavors of the batter pleasantly intermingled with the smoky sweet nature of the sauce. For those like me who aren’t huge BBQ sauce fans, I’d recommend trying it -- you may be pleasantly surprised.
2. Original (plain)
These KFC Original wings embody the fundamentals of a good chicken wing. There was plenty of meat; a nice, even, and well-seasoned coating of batter; and good, simple flavor. This wing was salty and juicy and, though it was plain, it exhibited all the things I want out of a wing. Dunking the wing in some ranch dressing and hot sauce was delicious, but honestly eating it entirely on its own was good, too. If you’re seeking out simple but well-done wings and an affordable price, then you can find them at KFC.
1. Nashville Hot
The Nashville Hot wings from KFC aren’t overwhelmingly spicy, but are completely submerged in smoky and salty heat. Because Nashville hot chicken isn’t smothered in a typically thick sauce -- like Buffalo wings or BBQ wings -- these wings won out in all categories. The batter was hot, fresh, and crunchy while the chile oil doused over the wings brought strong, bold flavors. I wish the wing was slightly spicier, and one could say that this variation was a bit too oily, but overall the Nashville Hots were my favorite of KFC’s four new chicken wings and definitely worth trying out if you’re a fan of spice.