Nine years ago, along with many other Americans, I had never heard of chipotle. This dried variety of the jalapeño pepper was widely unknown outside Mexico. Then this happened:
It was at that moment that Jack Box catapulted “chipotle” into the American lexicon for good. Jack’s failure to grasp the pronunciation of chi-poht-lay was imitated by pretty much everyone. Nine years later, Jack has finally mastered the word in this really stupid commercial:
So there you have it. Jack in the Box’s latest offering is the largely uninspiring Chipotle Chicken Club, which is described as such:
Spicy crispy chicken breast topped with chipotle sauce, hickory smoked bacon, melting American cheese, lettuce and tomato on toasted sourdough bread.
I dreaded the thought of going to JitB to try this sandwich because my local Jack is one of the worst run fast food joints I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. The most glaring issue is that they frequently run out of items. For example, on a recent visit I attempted to order a sausage croissant and curly fries, only to be informed that they had neither croissants nor curly fries at the time.
The only positive about getting the Chipotle Chicken Club was that I would get to use my BOGO coupon that came in the mail a few days earlier. Unfortunately, neither of my roommates wanted one, and I sure as shit wasn’t about to eat two of these gut bombs, so instead I used the “free upgrade to curly fries with a Chipotle Chicken Club combo” coupon that turned out to be worth a measly 39 cents.
On this day, my local Jack in the Box was particularly busy, and if you’ve ever been to JITB you know that it doesn’t take many cars to create a logjam at the drive thru. I waited roughly 30 minutes behind about 8 cars before finally being released from the high-security prison that is a crowded drive thru. The woman behind me was so frustrated with the wait time and the fact that they were out of whatever she tried to order (I couldn’t hear clearly), she backed up as far as she could and put the pedal to the metal, launching her SUV over the curb, and making my ridiculous wait time worthwhile.
Anyway, I paid $4.99+tax for the combo, which I think is a fair deal. The sandwich itself costs $4.49, so it would seem a waste to not add fries and a drink for 50 cents. You’d better sub curly fries for another 39 cents though, because Jack’s regular fries are a greasy, salty abomination. I wouldn’t eat them for free. But I digress.
When I returned home and dumped out the contents of the grease-spotted brown bag, I was sure they had given me the wrong sandwich. It was much too small to be the one for which they wanted over 4 bucks. But sho ’nuff, it was the Chipotle Chicken Club. I opened it up and tasted a bit of the chipotle sauce. Bacchanalia ensued in my mouth as my taste buds screamed with excitement over the flavor explosion from just a tiny dab of sauce. It was reminiscent of the jalapeño sauce from Taco Bell, except even better. It’s a creamy, spicy, smoky, mayo-based sauce that packs a delightful chipotle punch. Enough about the sauce, though. How did the entire sandwich taste?
I have to say, it was pretty damn good. Although the piece of chicken was disappointingly thin, its crust was wonderfully crispy. The bacon at JITB is not the highest quality as far as thickness and overall texture, but there were four strips so you do get good coverage, and bacon flavor certainly doesn’t hurt a sandwich. Produce was meh; it seemed to be about average quality. I hate tomatoes and iceberg lettuce anyway so I ended up taking them off. The best thing I can say about the cheese is that it was there. It didn’t really affect the sandwich in any way. I would’ve liked to see a bolder, more flavorful choice like pepper-jack. The sourdough bread was toasted perfectly, which added a nice crunch.
All of that equals a very solid sandwich. I would say it deserves a 7.5/10. It was maybe a little salty, and I thought it could’ve benefited from a sweet element like grilled onions. As I mentioned, the chipotle sauce was the star. It definitely added spice, but I wouldn’t say it was hot. It certainly didn’t cause me to reach for my drink. If there’s a next time, I’ll be sure to ask for extra sauce. I like to live on the edge.
Of course, in spite of all that, the Chipotle Chicken Club is in no way worth $4.49. I would say $2.99 would be a good value, and $3.99 would be a little steep but maybe still worth it. So Jack, meet me in the middle, will you? $3.49 would be a perfect price point for this sandwich, in my opinion. I doubt the price will be lowered if it does become a permanent menu item, but that seems to be the norm for chicken products. It’s tough to find a good sized chicken sandwich for under 4 bucks anymore, and don’t even get me started on chicken strips, which generally come out to over a dollar per piece.
I definitely recommend giving the Chipotle Chicken Club a try. The price is steep, but if you make it a combo it’s actually quite fair. Of course, if you have the BOGO coupon and a hungry friend, that will certainly soften the blow. If you love spicy, don’t forget to order with extra sauce, ’cause that shit is crazy delicious.
See you next week, same bat-time, same bat-blog.