Wendy’s latest in their line of limited-time premium sandwiches is the Jalapeno Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich. This sandwich comes with choice of Homestyle, Spicy, or Grilled chicken, a ghost pepper sauce, fresh jalapenos, red onions, cheese, and a premium bun. I went with the Homestyle chicken for this review. Also, it appears that this is currently available in test markets only.
Spicy has become increasingly popular in the food chain business, but even after a solid few years of progression, the vast majority of offerings fall short of their spicy promises. Well today, I have finally met a fast food sandwich that delivers on the promise of being spicy (but not too spicy).
I’m glad that Wendy’s didn’t use “ghost pepper” in the name of the Jalapeno Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich, because the ghost pepper sauce was definitely weak given the name. Don’t get me wrong, it did have some heat to it, but nothing on a level that we haven’t seen before from fast food chains. The sauce was deliciously smokey, but in terms of spice, it was probably on the same level as McDonald’s Habanero sauce. I’d estimate that the actual portion of ghost pepper used in this sauce is under 1% (keep in mind a ghost pepper clocks in at around 1 million on the Scoville scale, so 1% would still be around 10,000 Scoville).
It seems that most of the heat came from the generous portion of fresh jalapenos. Speaking of which, it’s such a refreshment to see the use of fresh jalapenos instead of the standard pickled variety. Fresh jalapenos offer both more heat and more flavor without the often disrupting vinegary flavor. I have to give serious kudos to Wendy’s for making this switch, and the benefits really show on this sandwich.
The Homestyle chicken worked extremely well with the sandwich, although I’ve received comments that it’s equally delicious using the spicy chicken as well (no word on the grilled version). The chicken patty was sufficiently thick to where the ratio of chicken flavor to all the other ingredients was kept in balance. Also notable here is the delicious bun, which is a kind of bun Wendy’s has not previously used. I was informed that it is most likely some kind of a jalapeno bun, but I need a confirmation on it.
Overall Wendy’s Jalapeno Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich was a delicious and spicy affair without being over the top spicy. This sandwich easily makes up for that terrible Blue Cheese Burger that they did recently. With the introduction of this sandwich, I think the standard for what is considered “spicy” in the world of fast food is nearing respectable levels. If you like spicy chicken in any way, don’t pass up the chance to try this gem.
Pros: Delivers actual heat without being overbearing, very tasty sandwich, FRESH jalapenos instead of pickled
Cons: A bit messy to eat, using “ghost pepper” in the name of a sauce that is more than tolerable