The Crispy History of KFC

Tom Blank of Weird History Food looks at the crispy history of KFC, the American fast-food giant formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Weird History Food is going out for some KFC facts. Who hasn’t fallen in love with the unique and mouthwatering flavor of KFC’s deep-fried chicken? At the very least, you might recognize the colonel and his famous red bucket of chicken.

The franchise began at a humble gas station in Corbin, Kentucky. Once owner Harland Sanders gained recognition and an honorary title, he hit the road, eventually turning his famous fried chicken and its accompanying iconic bucket into a nationwide hit.

KFC was catching on quickly becoming the McDonald’s of chicken. Across the Nation as restaurants agreed to become licensed to KFC establishments.  …

Even with the booming popularity of franchises, Sanders still kept his special recipe a well-guarded secret.

Even the most open of kitchens can still find plenty of places to keep secrets. Few though are as well hidden as that of Colonel Sanders’ 11 herbs and spices. It’s a mystery so big KFC hired two different companies to split production of the recipe so that neither one would know the complete formula.

KFC History

Blank also talks about KFC’s international expansion, particularly in China and Japan. He also addresses a popular menu item once considered a prank.

The Double Down consists of bacon, melted cheese, and barbecue sauce smashed between two pieces of deep fried chicken it is not for the faint of heart. Or for anyone trying to maintain a healthy diet but let’s be honest nobody horking down one of these babies is counting calories the Double Down was first announced on April Fool’s Day in 2010 leading many to believe it was a prank. 

Despite this false start, the “Double Down” went viral. It was, however, pulled from the permanent US menu in 2014, although it is making a limited 6-week reappearance in March 2023.

Double Down was supposed to be a limited time deal but only one month after its release KFC announced it would be putting obesity back on the menu for good after enjoying its 15 minutes of fame thanks to a spot on The Colbert Report …. The sandwich was ultimately discontinued in 2014 which is probably for the best. Our hearts may be broken but at least they’re still beating for now.

Blank provides more info about this over-the-top famous sandwich.

KFC’s viral offering flipped the sandwich and instead of offering bread, used two breaded chicken patties. This over-the-top menu item created reactions from both fans of KFC as well as critics. Check your cholesterol levels for this one, because we’re going to get decadent with the Double Down.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.