It sounds too gut-busting to be true, but it is: A glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut, split open and stuffed with savory sloppy joe, doused in a tomato-based sauce and sprinkled with cheese. It's not a response to Dunkin' Donut's new bacon-and-egg-on-a-donut breakfast sandwich, though. The Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe is the brainchild of Charlie Boghosian, owner of Chicken Charlie's, which has been providing food to county fairs in Southern California for 17 years.
Boghosian is no stranger to outlandish menu offerings. He is, after all, the same guy who perfected deep-fried Kool Aid and Oreos. This year he's also serving deep-fried bacon-wrapped pickles, cookie dough bites, and waffle dogs (think corn dogs, but with waffles).
Still, the Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe sandwich is something new, even for him.
"We're known for crazy fried foods, so this is a little bit different," Boghosian told Yahoo! Shine in a telephone interview. "It's crazy, but it's not fried."
Boghosian said that he came up with the idea after one too many of his wife's sloppy joe dinners.
"I've eaten so much sloppy joe the traditional way," he said. "I thought, 'We've got to change it up.' "
Chicken Charlie's already has a Krispy Kreme sandwich on its menu — it's a chicken breast drizzled with honey and layered between two glazed doughnuts, and it's a customer favorite. So stuffing a doughnut with sloppy joe meat wasn't too much of a stretch. It looked a little strange, Boghosian admitted, but the flavors totally worked.
"I took that first bite, and I swear to you... my brains stopped, I couldn't even think," he told Yahoo! Shine. "Then I realized, the sweet and salty was unbelievable. Then I kept on eating and eating… I couldn't put it down. I got addicted. It was so darn good."
He and his wife perfected the recipe, and swapped out the run-of-the-mill doughnut for a top-of-the-line glazed Krispy Kreme — an "empty shell," the kind they fill with jelly. "I think it holds the meat better," Boghosian told Yahoo! Shine. He added the sandwich to the Chicken Charlie's menu, and served it up for the first time on Saturday at the San Diego County Fair.
"It's been a huge hit," Boghosian said of the $7.95 sandwich. "We make it fresh there in house, every day, and the doughnuts are freshly picked up, every day."
News outlets have reported that the sandwich was launched by Krispy Kreme itself, possibly in response to Dunkin' Donut's new bacon-and-egg doughnut breakfast sandwich. However, Brian Little, director of corporate communications for Krispy Kreme, told Yahoo! Shine over the phone that the Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe was not created, endorsed, or marketed by the company.
"The Krispy Kreme doughnut corporation, the corporate entity, has absolutely nothing to do with a Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe sandwich," Little told Yahoo! Shine. He confirmed that Boghosian does buy his doughnuts from a local Krispy Kreme store, and credited him with the idea for the sandwich.
"Krispy Kreme fans have always found unique and interesting ways to use our doughnut products," he added. "However, it's not likely that you're ever going to see us introduce a sloppy joe sandwich in our shops."
There's no official nutritional data for Boghosian's creation, of course. But according to Krispy Kreme's website, a single glazed yeast doughnut has 200 calories and 12 grams of fat, and nutrition calculators like Myfitnesspal.com put a home-made Hunt's Manwich-type sloppy joe at about 300 calories and 7 grams of fat. So the Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe hybrid probably clocks in at about 500 calories, and 19 or so grams of fat; the sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top would add another 28 calories.
State fairs are known for having foods that make Boghosian's Krispy Kreme creation seem tame. Deep-fried bubblegum, which made its debut at a Texas fair recently, is really made of marshmallows steeped in bubblegum flavor, but deep-fried butter — an entire stick of butter, batter-dipped and fried — really is a thing in Iowa. In 2006, Abel Gonzales Jr. introduced deep-fried Coca-Cola (strings of Coke-flavored batter topped with powdered sugar and Coke-flavored syrup), and in 2010 Mark Zable came up with deep-fried beer (ravioli-like pockets filled with Guinness). State fairs can make even healthy foods into an indulgence: witness the deep-fried salad, which features lettuce, tomato, ham, chicken, cheddar cheese, and bacon rolled in a spinach wrap and fried.
For now, the only place you can find the Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe is at the Chicken Charlie's outpost at the San Diego County Fair, which runs through July 4. But after more than 30 years in the fair industry (17 of them as Chicken Charlie's), Boghosian told Yahoo! Shine that he hopes to open a permanent home in the San Diego area soon.
Fair-goers may be willing to consume deep-fried treats, but regular diners might not want to indulge all the time, Boghosian acknowledged. "We would make the heart of the menu healthy," he said, "and decorate it with all of our fun fried foods."
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