Not Even Pickle Chips Can Save This Wendy’s Sandwich

Wendy's hot honey chicken sandwich

Photo: Dennis Lee

Wendy’s is on a hot honey kick. It released two new sandwiches at the same time, including its first new breakfast item in years, the Hot Honey Chicken Biscuit sandwich, which I found needed some serious tweaking. The other new sandwich is for the later hours of lunch and dinner, and it’s the creatively named Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich.

Getting a hold of this new sandwich was quite the journey, too. It took me four times to get the proper order. The first time, they missed a key ingredient on it (the fried pickles, which I’ll get into later), the second time the entire sandwich was missing from my order, and the third time, the make-up sandwich they gave me was the wrong sandwich altogether. Fourth time’s the charm, baby!

I think the employees are a little frazzled right now. On one of my unfortunate visits, there was a customer harassing the staff about his order (don’t fucking do this), and on another, the drive-thru was somehow disabled for some reason. In most cases I’m okay getting a slightly messed up order, but for you, dear readers, I’m in the unique position of having to review the exact item because I love you. So I persevered.

What’s on the Wendy’s Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich?

The Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich Starts with a standard chicken patty of your choice (grilled, classic, spicy), and is topped with pepper jack cheese, bacon, dill pickle chips, and habanero hot honey sauce on a brioche bun.

The two stand-out ingredients on this build are the hot honey and the pickle chips. I analyzed the hot honey in my previous reviewbut here’s a recap: Rather than being a straight spicy honey, it includes vinegar to create more of a hot sauce honey hybrid, employing acid to temper its heat and sweet.

pickle chip

Peep this guy out
Photo: Dennis Lee

The pickle chip

While I don’t have them often, I do love a good fried pickle chip. But as you can see by the picture, this thing isn’t a run-of-the-mill pickle chip. I imagined it’d be a cross-section slice of a pickle, battered, then fried, pretty straightforward. However, after I popped one of these in my mouth, I was puzzled.

The pickle chip had the texture of a potato chip, not a pickle. That chip-like crunch threw me off, big time. It was definitely cucumber-based, I could see the skin, and verified it by looking at its ingredients list. I could taste cucumber, but the vinegar component didn’t seem like it was inside the dehydrated cucumber, but rather in its coating, sort of like a salt-and-vinegar potato chip. Honestly, in larger pieces I think they’d make a pretty fun snack, but most of the chips represented on the sandwich were like the little crumbly bits you’d get at the bottom of a bag.

So, how does Wendy’s Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich taste?

This thing is both underwhelming and overwhelming at the same time. I get the concept, taking a base chicken patty and making it sweet, spicy, and tart, but maybe I’m jaded, because it just doesn’t feel that inspired. Then again, Wendy’s is a fast food restaurant and has to cater to a middle ground, you know? Hot honey might be a bit of a trend right now, but you can’t just slap a new condiment on an old bird and call it the next big thing.

I was overwhelmed by its salt content. The chicken patty is salty. The cheese is salty. The bacon is super salty. It wasn’t the hot honey burning my mouth, it was the salt. It’s just too much. No amount of honey would be enough to rein in the saltiness of this thing. So the whole thing crashes spectacularly and not in an entertaining way.

I realize my own seasoning preferences are a subjective thing. You may have a differing opinion and tolerance of salt, but I’m hoping you’ll be able to trust me on this one. I know the regular Spicy Chicken Sandwich, which is a permanent menu item, doesn’t have any bells and whistles on it, but I think you’re better off sticking to the classics.

Whate you dojust don’t get upset about your lackluster meal and take it out on the Wendy’s workers, okay?

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