We are in a spicy fast food renaissance. Pizza Hut has released a Spicy Lover’s Pizza, Arby’s debuted a pair of hot Diablo Dare sandwiches, and Taco Bell’s in the process of launching a new Cool Ranch Flamin’ Hot Doritos Locos Taco. The hot, hot trend appears to be ramping up across the board, which I’ve been enjoying. It’s been nice to see that the fast food industry is finally coming to realize that genuinely spicy food is what many people crave. Now, Wendy’s new Hot Honey Chicken Biscuit is the latest entree to jump on the bandwagon.
Wendy’s has always flirted with some spicy stuff: the long-time fan favorite Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Spicy Nuggets, and even Ghost Pepper Ranch Sauce. The chain has also added jalapeños to sandwiches and salads, to mixed success. So it makes sense that the well-thought-out Wendy’s breakfast menu has added a new heat-laced item.
The Hot Honey Chicken Biscuit is Wendy’s first new breakfast sandwich in two years, since the debut of the entire breakfast menu. I haven’t quite found anything I enjoy on the breakfast menu yet, aside from the seasoned potato wedges, which I wish I could order all day. This new buttermilk biscuit comes with a crispy chicken filet and a generous amount of habanero hot honey sauce on top—and that’s it.
Like crispy chicken itself, hot honey has been a trending ingredient for years now. Back when I worked at Paulie Gee’s Logan Square, Mike’s Hot Honey was our restaurant kitchen staple (full disclosure, I know Mike personally, because we used his honey). It was the finisher for one of our signature pizzas, the Hellboy, a spicy soppressata pie finished with Mike’s spicy honey. We used it to top sundaes, and I used it in a mustard vinaigrette for a finisher on a coney island pie for a special one month. At home, I top fried chicken with it and use it in sauces and dressings. You can indeed make it yourself too.
Wendy’s hot honey sauce includes habanero peppers for kick, but it’s different from both regular and hot honey in that it employs vinegar in the mixture, too. So it’s sort of a hybrid of hot sauce and honey. As a condiment alone—there was so much sauce, I could swipe some off the sandwich wrapper to taste on its own—the hot honey sauce has a little bite, but nothing I’d consider spicy, per se. I’d prefer the hot honey sans the vinegar, though I get the idea of tempering the sweet heat with acid.
The main issue is, the components of the sandwich itself are just a nondescript biscuit and a dry piece of fried chicken. If the base sandwich itself just sort of sucks, then nothing can rescue it, no matter what kind of exciting condiment you put on top. So overall, the Hot Honey Chicken Biscuit fails for me by whiffing the fundamentals.
Despite how lackluster I found this new menu item to be, I do think the sandwich can be saved. Here’s how:
Wendy’s serves a regular Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit as well, which comes with a thicker, fluffier maple honey butter. Order that biscuit sandwich and add hot honey as an extra condiment, which is an extra charge. If you go that route, the result is way better than the Hot Honey Chicken Biscuit, which is a dud. This modification solves the problem of the dry biscuit and chicken, since the combined butter and sauce will lend a velvety finish on top.
Wendy’s, are you listening? The ball’s in your court.