Taste Test: KFC’s Cola BBQ Wicked Wings

KFC’s Wicked Wings have their fair share of fans, and now KFC is trying to reinvent them, presumably to convert even more people to the wing side. The result: the Cola BBQ Wicked Wings, which are deep fried, crispy chicken wings smothered in a sticky cola bbq sauce.

No at this point you’re probably in one of two camps — either you’re wondering what kind of psycho makes a cola sauce for chicken, or you’ve made (or eaten) said cola sauce at home yourself, and you think it’s a perfectly rational idea. In case you’re one of the former: no, cola BBQ sauce isn’t some fast-food abomination that’s been cooked up just by KFC, it’s actually a fairly popular side for ribs or chicken (at least in some parts of the world).

Now, down to the actual chicken. The pieces are actually quite good-looking, a crispy golden brown smothered in thick, dark sauce. You can smell the sweetness from the moment the box is opened, and it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to tasting.

The cola sauce is, appropriately, very thick and very sweet. Despite being drenched in it, the wings stayed nice and crunchy, and the texture was one of the highlights. The sauce is what carries this dish, with nothing too special being done to the wings themselves. In fact while they carry the Wicked Wings name, they’re anything but wicked, lacking any sort of spice.

While the wings as they are now are definitely tasty, even a little bit moreish, they’re missing something. As a lot of the people who tasted it pointed out, the spice really would have balanced out the sticky sweetness of the cola sauce. Without that, they might as well be a dessert.

Here’s what some of the people around the office think of the wings:

Mark Serrels, Managing Editor:

The chicken was definitely KFC chicken. This is a compliment. KFC chicken is great and I love it.

The chicken was definitely wings. Wings are hard work, but worth it.

The cola thing: I definitely tasted it, and wasn’t averse to it. I actually quite enjoyed the sweetness of it, to the point where I’m investigating how I can get that flavour on my own chicken when I cook it.

So yes, great success. I enjoyed it. Would definitely eat more.

Amanda Yeo, Early Morning Sub Editor:

I was sceptical going in, because my previous experience with cola-sauced chicken wings left me searching for the cola, and my feelings toward sweet meats are often ambivalent at best. However, I was happy to find that the taste of Coke was immediately apparent in the sauce on these wings. I’m not sure I liked the sweetness, but I could definitely identify that it was cola.
My major gripe was with the wings themselves. They’re touted as Wicked, but they are at the best Mildly Offensive. Though they had the crunch, the wings lacked the heat and spice that I associate with Wicked Wings, and were visibly paler than their tastier elder sibling. Not to say that they weren’t tasty – they were crispy on the outside and moist on the inside and I still ate them up. They just weren’t as tasty as proper Wicked Wings. I also felt that the sauce was almost entirely separate from the wings – they didn’t complement each other. It felt like the sauce belonged to a different dish altogether. Given the choice, I’d just go with regular ol’ Wicked Wings over their cola-covered counterparts.

Rae Johnston, Gizmodo Journalist

These wings aren’t very wicked, but they sure are sweet. The cola sauce is actually really nice, and the flavour of the crumb is your stock-standard familiar KFC secret spice mix deal. After the pulled pork incident, I was concerned – but these wings are great. They have the comforting satisfaction of eating something you know is awful for you, with all the greasy regret. Solid 5/7.

Simon Thomsen, Executive Life Editor, Business Insider:

If you think fried chicken should be a dessert, KFC has answered your prayers.

Quang Tran, Account Manager:

I have not touched KFC for years so can’t really recall exactly what the original is like. The wings I tried today were pretty good especially the batter, it was crunchy without being too greasy. The sauce however was too sweet for my liking and I would have preferred a chili sauce to compliment it.

Joshua Casemore, Sales Executive:

The additional of BBQ sauce really bring out a new flavour to KFC chicken… And it’s definitely a good one!

Tegan Jones, Commercial Editor:

I was apprehensive about having cola on my wings, but I found the taste to be quite nice! However, as a self-professed Wicked Wing aficionado, I was a bit disappointed by the lack of spice. In my opinion, the Cola BBQ are dessert wings – something sweet to use as a chaser after smashing about 10 of the originals.

Bianca Heuvel, Finance And HR Manager:

My initial reaction was “oh no this does not look good”. The first bite was not what I expected and initially I did not like it. However, I took another bite and actually enjoyed it. I suppose I was expecting spicy which disappointed me. The crunchiness was great.

Nat Sussman, Account Manager:

They were nice… but I feel like the ‘Cola’ flavour could have been stronger. I’m also very much an advocate of the traditional devil wing, with a kick of spice. Not for me.

Overall the wings were nice, but not a standout. Unlike KFC’s recent, disastrous pulled pork burgers, however, I could see myself actually ordering these if I was in the right mood. If you’re not a fan of the spice of regular Wicked Wings, these may be for you. KFC’s Cola BBQ Wicked Wings are available for a limited time only.

Taste Rating: 7/10

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