The KFC Double Down sandwich, a gastric curse consisting of two boneless slices of fried chicken serving an unholy union instead of bread, didn’t push me away from my religion. That happened long before the cooks in KFC’s test kitchen either gave up on life and hope or let a joke memo go way too far down the approval line.
It’s the opposite. The KFC Double Down could bring me back to religion, because it’s a good sign that there’s a god of some sort and he really doesn’t like us. I’m talking like god is Joan Crawford and we’re all Bette Davis.
Fortunately, the Double Down went away and the universe made sense again. But now a decade later, it’s back on KFC menus and my moral crisis is back with it. The crisis has nothing to do with the sandwich itself. It’s an abomination that plays on the worst trends and instincts when it comes to mass-produced food. It acts on all of our worst instincts about fast food except the one that it’s cheap.
The Double Down is one of many fast food dishes designed by KFC to capture the internet’s attention because it looks like something a Saturday Night Live graphic designer would Photoshop so someone can make a joke about the nation’s latest obesity rates during Weekend Update.
It started with KFC’s Famous Bowls, which are literally just a giant pile of chicken and side items mixed together in one bowl that comedian Patton Oswalt said he thought “was a Tim and Eric bit” before turning it into one of his funniest stand-up sets. That led to a string of bizarre food creations that ended with the Double Down, a “sandwich” made from cheap bacon, sliced cheese and two deep-fried chicken breasts in place of the bread.
The smell coming out of the foil-lined bag is just oil and vinegar, and something tells me those are two of the chain’s famed 11 herbs and spices. It’s not appetizing or welcoming. Don’t leave one of these unopened in your car for any stretch of time or it’ll smell like 11 herbs and funk for a long time.
Thankfully, the Double Down is served warm, and not the kind of warm that feels like it’s been sitting under a lamp for god knows how long. Unfortunately, it’s not warm enough to melt the Swiss cheese slices that clearly were put on just as it was ordered. At least it would’ve given the whole thing a texture besides damp, flavorless chicken.
Then the whole thing is capped up with the cheapest, flimsiest slices of bacon you’ll ever see. It’s flat, soft and flavorless. The strips look like they were run through the dollar bill terminal of a vending machine.
That’s three ingredients that don’t work on their own, so there’s no chance they work together. They sure as hell don’t. The whole thing is so overprocessed and made for speed without much thought for taste.
The final insult is the price. The Double Down, just as a sandwich, costs almost $9. For two bucks more, you could eat a decent sandwich that makes you feel satisfied with fresher ingredients instead of just full bordering on sick almost anywhere else with a drive-thru window. That’s insulting for a dish that looks like it was made by a stoner at 2 in the morning when all the grocery stores are closed.