Unless you’ve been living under a bun, by now you’ve heard about KFC’s new Double Down sandwich. I hesitate to use the word “sandwich,” because the Double Down lacks an essential characteristic shared by all sandwiches: bread. Instead of a bun, the Double Down features two fried chicken fillets. In between these fillets is bacon and cheese. Essentially, it’s a fast food version of chicken cordon bleu that you eat with your hands.
KFC tested the Double Down during the summer of 2009 in Omaha, Nebraska and Providence, Rhode Island and it was wildly successful. There were reports of people driving hundreds of miles to get a taste of the greasy goodness. The sandwich available nationwide as of last week and, in order to celebrate its debut, KFC will be donated the “unneeded” buns to food banks across the country.
More Bunless Wonders
The Double Down may be the first major fast food sandwich to replace bread with meat, but it’s certainly not the first to do away with buns. Several restaurants (and a few enterprising amateurs) have experimented with bunless sandwiches in recent years.
Starting with the Atkins diet craze of the early 2000s, several major fast food chains, including Burger King, began offering customers the ability to customize their burger orders by forgoing the bun in favor of an ingredient with fewer carbs. West coast burger chain In N Out claimed it had been doing this since the 1970s. In N Out allows customers to order their burgers “protein style,” meaning the bun is replaced with iceberg lettuce.
(Photo via golfhos.com)
Things get even crazier on the other side of the planet. In Singapore, McDonalds sells a product called the Fan-tastic (it comes in both beef and chicken varieties), which is a play on the Chinese word for rice (fan). It’s not the meat patty that’s made of rice, though — it’s the bun. If this sounds sticky to hold and somewhat gross, you’re probably right. Reports are that the rice in the Fan-tastic is kind of bland, soggy and not at all golden crisp (like the product photo makes it look).
(Photo via flickr.com/photos/selva/)
Back home, a few smaller restaurants have introduced burgers that use bread products (but not buns) to hold the meat. Mulligan’s, a restaurant in Decatur, Georgia, served a product it called the “Luther Burger” (so-named because it’s rumored to have killed singer Luther Vandross). Instead of a bun, the meat and cheese were bracketed by two Krispy Kreme donuts. HELL. YES. Mulligan’s is now closed, but Luther Burgers are available at some fairs across the country.
(Photo via docwalk.wordpress.com)
The blog A Hamburger Today posted a few years ago about a concoction it called the “Fatty Melt,” which is a burger with two grilled cheese sandwiches in place of the bun. The Fatty Melt was inspired by a very similar item on the menu of the Mossy Creek Cafe in Fisherville, Virginia called the Chubby Melt.
(Photo via aht.seriouseats.com)
And, finally, we turn to This Is Why You’re Fat for the most extreme example of a burger with an unconventional bun. This case, it’s a giant burger between two large pizzas. Suck on that, KFC Double Down.
(Photo via thisiswhyyourefat.com)