Cafe Reviews

Carl's Jr. New Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders Are The Hottest Things You'll Ever Wait Forever For

Here's a fun 10 minutes for Fry Girl: Camped out in my car at the drive-thru window at Carl's Jr. waiting for my order of hand-breaded chicken tenders with cars piling up behind me (one honking its horn) and the Carl's Jr. staff sneaking peeks every minute or so until I'm handed a bag so friggin' hot it nearly chars the classy synthetic upholstering of my passenger seat on the way home.

What the hell was going on in there?

Regarding CJ's debut of its chicken tenders, executive vice president of marketing Brad Haley said, "We love to be able to give Carl's Jr. customers a 'wow' experience, as in, 'Wow, I can't believe I can get something that good at a fast-food place.'"

Wow, I can't believe I didn't suffer third-degree burns and a tire iron through my back windshield. So is CJ's new chicken chow worth it? Let's find out.

Previously using pre-cooked frozen chicken strips, Carl's claim is that its new chicken tenders are freshly prepared and hand-breaded, using all-white meat dipped in a buttermilk-and-egg batter then rolled in seasoned flour and fried. A three-piece will run you around three bucks (a five-piece is $4.50) and is served with the option of buttermilk ranch, honey-mustard, or barbecue dipping sauce

I got the five-piece and all three dippin' sauces. Can't be too careful on the new stuff.

I was pleased to see the chicken strips were not too small, but when they finally cooled down enough for me to take a bite (seriously, way too hot) the breading was slimy, greasy, and slipped off the meat. And though the taste may beat the pre-cooked frozen fowl, it's average at best -- requiring a dippin' sauce (go with the honey-mustard) to add flavor.

The surprise? The sodium. Holy cluck, these tenders are loaded with it. How does 1,930 milligrams for a five-piece grab ya? Ouch.

Would I have Carl's Jr. New Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders again? Nice try, Carl's, but probably not. I'll stick with Popeye's Louisiana Tenders as my choice for chicken strip chow.

What say you, my fast-food friends? Have you had the new chicken tenders from Carl's Jr.? What did you think?