Chick-fil-A, which says it invented the chicken sandwich, came out with a new dish on Monday: the honey pepper pimento chicken sandwich. The Georgia-based chicken business added pimento cheese, honey, and jalapeos to their classic chicken sandwich. It is the first time Chick-fil-A has made a seasonal variation of their iconic sandwich, and it is available in both classic and spicy variants.
All of those things on their own sound delicious. For those who don’t know, pimento cheese is a spread made of shredded cheese, mayonnaise, and pimentos (cherry peppers) that is very famous in the South. It makes sense to put it on a chicken sandwich, just like honey and jalapeos do. The best fast food money can buy is Chick-fil-A’s classic fried chicken sandwich, which is juicy and tender. This seems like an obvious thing to do.
The new sandwich from Chick-fil-A looks better on paper than it does on your plate.
If Chick-fil-A’s classic sandwich is already so good, how could adding three things that everyone agrees are delicious make it worse? The honey pepper pimento chicken sandwich is, quite simply, too good. This sandwich has too many things going on, so much so that honey from the chicken might make your hands sticky.
It’s too bad, because this sandwich should work. Some of the best meals in New Jersey have different flavors. On a Taylor ham, egg, and cheese sandwich, would you put sweet grape jelly on it? Don’t judge until you’ve tried it! This Chick-fil-A creation has sweet, spicy, creamy, and salty flavors all on one bun. But because they try to do so much, they lose track of all the different parts. Even though each filling is great on its own, especially the pimento cheese, the whole is not better than the sum of its chicken parts.
I got both the classic and the spicy form of this sandwich. In the classic version, the toppings just overpower the chicken. It tastes more like a honey pimento sandwich than a chicken sandwich. The spicy chicken goes better with all the different flavors in this sandwich. The spice cuts through the creamy cheese and sweet honey to smooth out the bite. Still, everything just turns into a sweet, cheesy, sticky mess.
Everyone knows how much I like Chick-fil-A. In 2019, when Popeyes sold out of its chicken sandwich, I was still sure that Chick-fil-A’s version of the sandwich was better. That made me want to learn more, so I tried 15 different fast food chicken sandwiches and decided that Chick-fil-A was still the best.
It’s ease is part of what makes it the best chicken sandwich in the fast food world. Yes, you can put whatever sauce you want on the chicken sandwich. Chick-fil-A sauce has never been beaten. But even if you don’t put anything on it, the chicken Chick-fil-A uses in its sandwiches is so tasty, juicy, and tender that it doesn’t need anything else. When you pile on too many toppings, like pimento cheese and honey, that simple beauty gets lost.
When I heard that Chick-fil-A was making changes to its classic sandwich, I was over the moon. But this is definitely not what I was hoping for. It’s worth trying, but the original is just better.
If something is working, Chick-fil-A shouldn’t change it. It turns out that the saying is also true for chicken sandwiches.
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