Being a fan of KFC from the States has been something of a trial ever since I moved to Canada, as so much is different here, and so little overlaps. From the ongoing Kentucky Grilled Chicken and the more recent Nashville Hot and Georgia Gold chicken (which Canadian viewers of the WWE Network get to be tortured with via advertising on a regular basis) to the wider variety of side dishes and even the chain’s signature buttermilk biscuits, the two versions of the restaurant are almost like night and day when you cross the border.
I had thought that KFC Canada’s latest addition, their Boneless Original Recipe Tenders, were a new thing that the States didn’t have, but apparently the product goes all the way back to 2008, though they don’t seem to have them now. Sigh.
Interestingly enough, one difference is the presence of the Colonel’s Extra Crispy recipe chicken. It used to be an item on the menu here, but at some point ceased to be, with the exception of their Big Crunch sandwiches and Crispy Strips. That is, until recently.
While those crispy sandwiches are still available, KFC Canada has now introduced Boneless Original Recipe Tenders. They don’t appear to simply be a limited-time offering, either, as the location I visited seemed to have revamped their entire menu board to now feature the new product where appropriate.
Before we go on, a quick aside: I normally try to photograph the actual food I’ve received from the restaurant for comparison, but I didn’t get to do that this time. That said, I did look over some of their official pictures, and I feel confident saying that the image above closely reflects what came in my order, which had eight tenders, a medium Popcorn Chicken, medium fries, and three dipping sauces (I went all-in on Honey Mustard). I also added a medium gravy for good measure, because that’s how we do things around here.
Incidentally, there was no bucket as in the pictures, so there was a slight sadness at that.
Personally speaking, while I do like Extra Crispy to spice things up on occasion, my preference has always been Original Recipe. Not only do I enjoy the softer batter, but I feel like the seasoning really pops more with a bolder presence in the Original Recipe. Naturally, that made these a must-try.
This might be kind of a deep cut for fans of South Park, but there was one episode in which Stan’s mother brought home KFC (or an obvious expy). While the other kids helped her bring in the groceries, Cartman stayed behind to eat the skin and batter off of all the pieces of chicken, leaving Kenny to weep (rightfully so) as a result. Basically, the implication was that the skin/breading was the best part — or at the very least, the most memorable.
With the Boneless Original Recipe Tenders, I feel like KFC has managed to capture that appeal in a product which better balances the meat with the batter. I’m not really sure if there is any skin to speak of with these, but it manages to provide the best part of KFC’s Original Recipe chicken with an amount of meat that satisfies without providing that issue where you’ve pulled the skin/batter off and are left to eat the meat underneath by itself. And if anything, the taste of the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices might even be just a little bolder here.
Put simply, I love these, and even as I write this, I want more. They’ve effectively taken one of my favorite KFC products and essentially perfected it. They went well with the Honey Mustard dip and gravy I got with them, but they work just fine on their own as well. You know you’ve got a good chicken tender (or nugget, or what have you) when it not only works well without anything to dip it in, but when those dips almost seem detrimental. If you get the meal I did, save that stuff for the fries and Popcorn Chicken.
So if it wasn’t clear, I highly recommend these to anyone who is a fan of KFC’s Original Recipe chicken. And there’s no shortage of ways to get them, as they’re included in variety of different combos, boxes, and meals. As it stands, I’m now trying to figure out if it’s possible to just get an entire bucket filled with tenders.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.