KFC is introducing its third sauced fried chicken item in two years with the nationwide rollout on Jan. 29 of Smoky Mountain BBQ chicken.
KFC corporate chef Bob Das said the product is the result of a “food safari” that took him and his team through Memphis, the Carolinas, Alabama and elsewhere in the nation’s barbecue belt to try different regional specialties.
“We kind of borrowed from everybody,” he said.
After about 60 iterations, they came up with a blend that expressed the sweetness of Kansas City-style barbecue, the vinegary notes of the Carolinas and the dry rub of Memphis, “to kind of give it that texture and crunch that you get.”
The sauce is used on extra crispy tenders and bone-in chicken and will start out being offered for a suggested price of $4.99 for three tenders or two bone-in chicken pieces, mashed potatoes with gravy and a biscuit.
The item was tested last summer throughout Indianapolis and at participating restaurants in Chicago and Pittsburgh.
Das said the sauce would be available for the foreseeable future. The Georgia Gold tangy honey-mustard sauce launched nationwide last January and the spicy Nashville Hot chicken that was released across the country in January of 2016 are still available as well.
Das said some of those flavors might rotate off the menu to give way to new sauces in the future.
“We’re working on new flavors as we speak,” he said.
Louisville, Ky.-based KFC is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands Inc. with more than 21,000 restaurants worldwide, including more than 4,100 in the United States.
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