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KFC Hot & Spicy Wings Review: Where's The Heat?

dipped wing
dipped wing - Michael Palan / Static Media

When it comes to spicy fried chicken, KFC has mainly kept to the sidelines, leaving Popeyes alone to be the MVP hot stepper in the league of all things juicy and crunchy. As football season is upon us, KFC is ready to take the field, specifically taking aim at its Louisiana-based rival and its new Sweet 'N Spicy Wings. After being gobbled up everywhere else the world round, KFC is releasing its own Hot & Spicy Wings in the United States for the first time.

This isn't actually KFC's first flight with spicy wings in America. In 1990, the last year the franchise went by the full name of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Hot Wings debuted. The spiced-up wings were such an immediate success that it couldn't keep up with demand, even prompting a suspension of advertising them.

Those Hot Wings didn't last, and since then, other options have come and gone. Will KFC's new Hot & Spicy have just the right kick to score a permanent touchdown in stores, or will they be ejected by halftime of the NFL season? We threw on our Colonel Sanders mascot costume and made a 40-yard dash to our local KFC just in time for the wings opening day's kickoff. What's the final score? Here is our chew and review...

Read more: Ranking 12 Fast Food Hot Dogs From Worst To Best

What Do KFC Hot & Spicy Wings Taste Like?

eaten wing
eaten wing - Michael Palan / Static Media

As we approached the counter, a photo of KFC's Hot & Spicy wings sat in front of the register, showing us how eight super fat and crispy pieces are intended to look. After we ordered, sat down, opened our box, and peered into it, we immediately wanted to say, "Where's the beef?," except this is chicken, and saying "Where's the chicken?" just doesn't have the same cache.

The meager-looking flats and drumettes were orangish-brown in complexion and smelled like Chinese food take-out wings. Although some were lucky to have some excess fried skin, most of the wings were underwhelming in appearance on the outside and did not have a ton of meat on the inside. Mostly warm in temperature, the wings' spice was at a happy medium level, sure not to destroy any mouth. The suggested side ranch dipping sauce always makes for a good compliment to wings but is not necessary here.

We actually ordered a second 8-count box for later testing. Instead of reheating it, we decided to try it at room temperature, and to our surprise, the wings tasted much better than when they were warm. The spice had a bit of an extra kick, and with the skin cooled off, they were more in a solid form, which provided an additional and needed crunch.

What Are KFC Hot & Spicy Wings Made Of?

KFC wings
KFC wings - Michael Palan / Static Media

As of this writing, very little is known about the ingredients and nutritional value of KFC's Hot & Spicy Wings. The chicken wings are marinated in unspecified spices, and twice breaded in a signature "Extra Crispy" breading of KFC's.

Each order of Hot & Spicy Wings comes with a sauce. An 8-count has 770 to 850 calories, and if you turn it into a combo with a drink and fries you're looking at 1,090 to 1,460 calories.

When And Where To Order KFC Hot & Spicy Wings

KFC sign
KFC sign - Michael Palan / Static Media

The Hot & Spicy Wings are available at KFC locations nationwide, for a limited time only. Since KFC doesn't serve breakfast, all of its menu items can be ordered during regular business hours. Most KFCs open anytime between 10 and 10:30 a.m., with closing hours differing by location.

The Spicy Wings can be ordered in-store at the counter or at self-service kiosks, and at drive-thrus where available. A great way to order in advance of a "Quick Pick-up" arrival is to use KFC's app or website, which also allows for complete and easy customization of menu items.

The wings are listed under several submenus — "Special Offers," "Combos," and naturally "Fried Chicken." One can also use the app or website to schedule an order for a later time or even day. Delivery is also an option, depending on your proximity to a KFC, and orders can be placed on DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats.

How To Order KFC Hot & Spicy Wings

KFC wings sign
KFC wings sign - Michael Palan / Static Media

An 8-piece box of KFC's Hot & Spicy Wings retails for $4.99. There is also an option to turn an 8-piece order into a combo meal for $3 more. The combo includes the choice of a single side, like Secret Recipe fries, mac & cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, or a few other common options, and a cup of a Pepsi product such as its out-of-this-world lemon-lime soda Starry.

Each order comes with a side sauce. The default and recommended sauce by KFC is Classic Rach, although allowed alternatives include Buffalo Ranch, KFC Sauce, Honey BBQ, Honey Mustard, or no sauce whatsoever. There are a few other sauces available, depending on the location, but have to be ordered separately and at an extra cost. They include honey sauce, hot sauce, and ketchup.

The Final Verdict

KFC box
KFC box - Michael Palan / Static Media

KFC's new wings are called Hot & Spicy, which are two words essentially meaning the same thing, but when we took a bite of them, it was hard to discern if either fiery adjective was truly applicable when brought to the table. Perhaps a more apt name would be Maybe Hot & Not Too Spicy Teeny Tiny Wings.

As wings in general, the Hot & Spicy menu item is serviceable, certainly affordable, but probably not something that will conquer hunger. While these were a game attempt to take on Popeyes' Sweet 'N Spicy, KFC proves once again that if they can't stand the heat, or even provide it, perhaps they should get out of that kitchen. For fans of KFC who seek to ratchet up the temperature of its chicken, as well as their mouths, and get a whole lot more meat to work with, a better bet is its Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.