Double Down: How Many Can One Man Eat?
My vision is blurred, I am sweating and on the verge of vomiting. I have just experienced KFC’s Double Down. Not just one (or is that two?) But more. Many more. I begged to ask the question, how many times can you double down? My nose is running, the smell of anything at all is too much to bear and there are black dots in my line of sight.
KFC has decided to unleash upon the world their Double Down, which comes both fried and grilled. As you’ve doubtless heard, the Double Down features two boneless white meat chicken fillets, which surround two microwaved pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and the Colonel’s Sauce. The chicken when fried is dried and mangled beyond recognition and when grilled is seasoned and wet, a less daunting and seemingly healthier option for this culinary roller coaster ride. Fried comes in at a meager 540 calories while grilled weighs in at 460 calories. These numbers seem low, but when you factor in the sodium (1,380 and 1,430 respectively), it’s a modern marvel sure to bloat us all beyond recognition.
And just in time for summer to boot.
The women at KFC assured me that these were manageable sandwiches and ten shouldn’t be hard for me to finish, but these hulking sandwiches came in cardboard boxes big enough to fit Big Macs or Whoppers. The original giddiness of trying to swallow ten of these was immediately smashed when the price tag rang out at over $60. I ordered eleven so I could pass ten and have one victory sandwich.
Excitement was squashed a second time when I was handed two large shopping bags filled with sandwiches. With that and my large Diet Coke (because I have to watch my figure) I walked back up the hill to my house and spread the concoctions out on the kitchen table. The sandwich did indeed keep one promise: “This product is so meaty, there’s no room for a bun.”
I started with a fried sandwich. Perfect to hold in two hands and slash into like a proper carnivore. Elation was the first reaction, I am really doing this and the pepper jack cheese, melted, processed and sticky runs down the gullet slowly, crawling down the sides as it is chased by dry fried chicken and then elastic bacon in some drunken noir from the early fifties.
I knew right away that ten was too many, but I stayed optimistic. Something in the final bite of the first sandwich told me that nothing good could come from this experiment. Once the first one was down my spirits were still high. I went straight for a grilled DD and the moist chicken combined with melted cheese and bacon-y deliciousness was much better than the fried version. I told my spectators that if I were eating these I could do ten. The second sandwich was simple, plowed through it, savored the smoky cheese, and the lightly seasoned meat.
On the third sandwich I decided to stay with grilled. But the experience wasn’t nearly as fun. The meat was wet and dripping with sauce, cheese, seasoning and the nauseating smoky taste of the bacon. By the end I was noticeably sweating, my eyes had filled with tears and my heart was racing uncontrollably. I began to laugh hysterically at the situation and myself. I swallowed two big gulps of Diet Coke and finished the slimy white meat slab.
Announcing that I was done at three my two spectators refused to let me off the hook. “You have to get to five.” I dug into a second fried DD and halfway through, the proverbial wall of defeat came up to meet me and shake my stuttering hands. Refusing to stop halfway, I continued to work my through the complete unpleasantness of, and let me just list this again, two pieces of fried chicken fillets, two slices of Monterrey and two of pepper jack cheese melted and enveloping bacon, which is then smothered in the Colonel’s sauce. I finished number four and stared at the unholy stack of seven DD’s that still lay before me.
I was finished. But, ten was the original goal and I wanted to at lease half that number. I started on my fifth, the grilled variety and after one bite my body gave out and I almost threw up. I stopped, surrounded by laughter, sipped diet coke, stared at the sandwich and tried to will myself another bite. I wanted to make it to five, I felt that anything less would be a failure, but alas, “Every failure teaches a man something, if he will learn,” as Dickens would say.
What did I learn? While the Double Down is a funny idea, it’s a terrible reality. If you must buy one, buy just one, taste it and then throw it away. A man cannot sustain on such endeavors, he must move back toward the fresh foods and the portions that were beset upon him by the harvest. Or at least not be a total schmuck and try to eat ten Double Downs from KFC.
Photography by DJ Goldberg, Tara Smyth and Craig A. Platt