Taste Test: KFC's Kentucky Pulled Pork Burger

KFC stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Operative word being "chicken". That's what the fast food chain is known for. But KFC has decided to try its hand at another type of meat: pork. It has brought out a new Kentucky Pulled Pork Burger. We did a Taste Test on this novel burger and here's our verdict.

There's a lot to love about pork. I'm just not sure what it's doing on a KFC menu. In an attempt to get in touch with its 'Southern' roots, KFC Australia has introduced the Kentucky Pulled Pork Burger ($5.95). As the name suggests, the burger's star ingredient is slow-cooked pulled pork that rests on a layer of slaw and drizzled with KFC's special BBQ sauce. All this is enveloped in a brioche bun.

It's only available for four weeks, but this move left those of us at Lifehacker Australia HQ scratching our heads. Next to its original recipe chicken and famous Zinger burgers, the Pulled Pork Burger is glaringly out of place. KFC itself acknowledges that it's something completely different and it wants to give customers a pleasant surprise with this new offering.

Well, it sure did surprise us. Let's take a closer look at the burger first:

Image: Close-up of burger

Image: Dissecting burger This is KFC's second attempt at a gourmet burger with the first being the obscure but tasty Zinger Black. I see where the company is trying to do with this. On paper, the Pulled Pork burger looks like it would be right at home in a trendy café in [insert any hipster suburb in Australia].

Unfortunately, in real life, the burger looks more like something that you'd get from your modest local pub. It's lacklustre and, as many of the tasters we recruited in the office pointed out, the filling to bun ratio is way off. I'm a bread fiend so that doesn't bother me as much but I don't blame people for feeling a bit cheated.

The pulled pork is juicy but the overwhelming BBQ sauce is what I taste when I munch on the burger. It wasn't too bad but it didn't help that the sauce was so thick the shredded meat congealed together to form one makeshift pork patty. I didn't quite get the distinct 'American South' flavour from the burger either. To me, it had more of an Asian taste, reminiscent of kimchi. The brioche bun also didn't have that buttery richness that I would expect from a gourmet burger.

To assist us in rating the KFC Kentucky Pulled Pork Burger, we called in help from the people in our office:

As you probably gathered from the Facebook Live Taste Test video, the burger didn't garner many fans. As one taster puts it:

" Horrible. I am a huge fan of KFC. Love it. It is my guilty pleasure. They have never failed me before like this. Not enough pork on the roll. It was a salad burger with a side of pork and it really wasn’t very nice. I’m sticking with my chicken burger and three piece feed."

Another taster also pointed out that McDonald's experimental café The Corner also does pulled pork burgers that, according to him, craps all over KFC's version both in terms of look and flavour.

We think it's safe to say that the Kentucky Pulled Pork Burger failed to impress. It wasn't exactly repulsive, but for $5.95 you can definitely get a better burger elsewhere. While we give KFC points for trying new things, perhaps it should stick to cooking chooks.

Taste Rating: 4/10


Comments

    When they changed their branding to just KFC instead of the full Kentucky Fried Chicken, the rationale was given that they did more than just chicken, so from that angle there is a slight amount of sense.

    Given that even changing to KFC hasnt changed the public perception that its all about chicken, its still an odd decision, but the intent behind becoming KFC was to expand their range.

    And it wont work. If they go too far they're just another fast food outlet with nothing to differentiate from Mcdonalds, Hungry Jacks, and so forth, but while they focus on the chicken, and specifically the southern style recipe (ie the skin. Oh, the skin...) then they keep a prime place in the cutthroat fast food industry.

    End result, this is a weird decision, and if it points to their future direction where they are serious about moving away from just chicken, a worrying one.

      They changed their name to KFC years ago. I don't think a one off burger for a few weeks is signalling them moving away from chicken.

      That is what you go to KFC for. Wicked wings. Zingers. Original chicken. Those words are worth millions. No way they are going to throw that away.

        I was saying that at the time that was their intent - to put salads, and other options on to their menu. If they didnt go ahead thats one thing, but there was an intent to do it at the time.

        If they still have that at the back of their minds, this could simply be testing the water on the concept. And its a waste of time, they are all about the chicken, nothing else.

          Sorry misread that. I didn't know they were wanting to do that. Do you have a source? Pretty interested to see what sort of stuff they had come up with that didn't end up making it to the store.

            I find it so hard to believe people are so misinformed and confident about their misinformation even with Google at their fingertips.

            A quick Google will tell you that is not at all what they were doing and they wanted to move away from the unhealthy connotations that the word "fried" gives off. Nothing to do with not wanting to cook chicken.

            Even states it very clearly in the wiki for KFC, letalone the other articles i found about it

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KFC

      You realise they didn't change it to KFC to hide the "Chicken" word so they could market other stuff? They changed it to hide the 'Fried' word so they could pretend it's not dripping in oil and unhealthy.

      KFC changed its name from Kentucky Fried Chicken because the debt ridden state of Kentucky trademarked the name "Kentucky" to try and get business inside and outside of the state to pay licensing fees
      http://www.snopes.com/lost/kfc.asp

        My goodness some people are gullible. You do realise that article you reference is a spoof?
        Didn't the references to the Neil Diamond song and the Kentucky Derby give it away to you?
        Obviously not. Everything you read on internet is true.........some people.

          Unfortunately a lot of people, including my wife, believe Snopes to be gospel...

          Still - maybe i shouldnt have had my huge rant and just taken the high road like yourself LMAO

            Tell you wife to read the author's byline at the bottom. If claiming to have invented the iphone and the lightbulb doesn't give that game away that it all a joke, then I don't know what will.

              Oh lawdy! I hadnt noticed that - barely looked at the site!

          Huh, when did snopes turn into shit? Back in the day that was sort of the go to place to check random rumours and stuff.

          Interestingly such is the point of the page - clicking on "Additional information" takes you to http://www.snopes.com/lost/false.asp - it's set up to demonstrate the problem of over-reliance on the internet as an authority.

          Outside TRoLL (http://www.snopes.com/category/facts/fact-legends/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snopes.com#Lost_Legends) articles, Snopes is a legitimate fact check website and is usually pretty good about linking to primary sources. The point of TRoLL is to get people to check those sources for themselves.

          As an aside, the authors tag line is just a joke and is present on even their serious pages - it's playing off the kind of folklore they usually debunk.

        Snopes is full of shit half the time mate - The fact there is nothing ever mentioned anywhere about the settlement apparently made, and that they in fact HAVEN'T changed their name back to Kentucky Fried Chicken in 2006 tells me this is just conspiracy theory shite.

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/1991-02-17/and-now-finger-lickin-good-for-ya

        Ok so this supports the half of the story where Snopes suggest it is simply a PR campaign as Kyle Craig (President of US Business in the 90s) states the following:
        Craig and Cranor are planning a gradual replacement of the original name with just the initials KFC. "The key is to reduce dependence on the word `fried,' " says Craig. Some marketing analysts question the wisdom of shedding a well-known name. "Initials are a passport to anonymity," says Clive Chajet, chairman of Lippincott & Margulies Inc., a New York corporate identity consultant. "It's very hard to fashion a restaurant's identity based on initials." But Craig and his franchisees disagree. "The name KFC got over 99% recognition when shown with the Colonel's mug,"

        But apart from Snopes what source do you have for this settlement surrounding the name of Kentucky??

        Even looking into the Kentucky Derby which KFC is likened to in the Snopes factually flawed article:

        1925 – The first network radio broadcast of the Kentucky Derby takes place on May 16th, with about 5 to 6 million listeners tuning in to hear Flying Ebony win the Derby. Also, notable in the year, the phrase “Run for the Roses” is coined by Bill Corum, a sports columnist for the New York Evening Journal and the New York Journal - American.

        And fancy that... It is still and always has been called the Kentucky Derby. The Run for the roses refers to the winner and the horse being draped in roses... Nothing to do with Kentucky!

        The Derby is frequently referred to as "The Run for the Roses," because a lush blanket of 554 red roses is awarded to the Kentucky Derby winner each year. The tradition originated in 1883 when New York socialite E. Berry Wall presented roses to ladies at a post-Derby party that was attended by Churchill Downs founder and president, Col. M. Lewis Clark. This gesture is believed to have led Clark to the idea of making the rose the race's official flower. However, it was not until 1896 that any recorded account referred to roses being draped on the Derby winner. The Governor of Kentucky awards the garland and the Kentucky Derby Trophy. Pop vocalist Dan Fogelberg composed the song "Run for the Roses" which was released in time for the 1980 running of the race.

        TL;DR?! Don't believe an article with no references - do your own research. its not hard to find reputable sources. The four sources listed in Snopes dont mention anything as it is phrased in their article. In fact I have referenced one of them here which supports it is about marketing.
        The other issue i have with Snopes is they dont link their sources, just list them, but if I google KFC Tweaks Colonel Sanders Logo ABC News, it actually comes up with the snopes article at the top of google search... Go figure. Anyone can make up a source. Try not to believe things on face value, believing there is always a conspiracy behind EVERYTHING!

          thanks for the info, the more you know

    This looks pretty bad and has confirmed my thoughts on this.

    We often have pulled pork and coleslaw at home - in tortillas. Great meal. Get some of that decent bourbon and brown sugar flavoured bbq sauce and you're in heaven.

    We went to a KFC in San Francisco in 2012 and it was nigh on impossible to have a meal that was just chicken! They had heaps of beef burgers etc, but very little chicken on the menu!

    I'm all for them trying something new, but the photos make this look very unappealing.

    KFC's burgers are pretty poor at the best of times, the filling is usually just pathetic. This, however, really takes it to a new level. That looks like a cheeseburger from McDonalds, not a "premium" burger from anywhere!

    Such a rip-off.Nothing like their ad on TV.Should be reported to the ACCC,but by the time the ACCC look at it this will be history .I agree with Cameron (above) Send KFC back to Kentucky.

    Yeesh. I have an amazing pulled pork recipe that blows any store version outta the water. So no thanks, KFC!

      Care to share?

        http://www.isavea2z.com/pulled-pork-crockpot-recipes/

        I made it with ginger ale, might try Coke next time :)

    One thing that's always annoyed me about their burgers is the horrible mayo they use. I like the idea of a Zinger but the mayo just kills it for me. Honestly, if they just used proper egg mayo (that's not horribly sweet) then their burgers would be so much better.

      Swap the terrible mayo for supercharged sauceand the zinger burger will be greatly improved.

      Ask then to sub the gross Mayo for their pepper Mayo. Delicious and peppery!

    Makes you wonder why KFC hasn't done Buffalo Wings. Seems like they are the perfect company to do it.

    Lifehacker, I can never understand you. Your all for a better life in many good aspects - but you keep reviewing/writing/regurgitating articles on JUNK food. I mean really??

    Last edited 20/06/16 9:10 pm

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