Panera Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Sandwich & Salad

The new Panera Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Sandwich and BBQ Chicken Salad are the next new Panera offerings we tried out recently.

Similar to the Panera Chipotle Bacon Melt reviewed earlier, the Panera Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Sandwich bread reminds me of Texas toast. Described as “smoked, pulled chicken raised without antibiotics, BBQ sauce, red onions, Vermont white cheddar, and frizzled onions on Classic White Bread” on Panera’s site.

Panera Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Toasted Classic White Bread, we meet again

There’s lots of pulled chicken and BBQ sauce on the inside. Along with the frizzled onions, it reminds me of a healthier BK rodeo burger. But with chicken instead and 380 calories for a half sandwich. Particularly enjoyed the extra interest the red onions added, and I’m typically not a big raw red onion fan. Overall, a very tasty option.

Panera Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Sandwich Inside
Not the prettiest picture on the inside, but very tasty

Next, we have the Panera BBQ Chicken Salad. Surprisingly, the salad dressing didn’t look like the dark dressing shown in the Panera photo when I ordered. Panera’s description is “chicken raised without antibiotics, romaine, black bean and corn salsa, tossed in BBQ ranch dressing, topped with frizzled onions, and drizzled with apple cider vinegar BBQ sauce.” Seems like they just showed the apple cider vinegar BBQ sauce in a side cup and not the actual dressing.

Panera BBQ Chicken Salad
Never again

How did it taste? A bit spicy and underwhelming. I thought the dressing overpowered everything. To be honest, I didn’t even finish this small salad (it’s only 260 calories). Generally, I do like their frizzled onions; they’re like French fried onions with some extra Southwestern seasoning. Maybe the chicken with just the BBQ drizzle would have been nice? But I made the mistake of pouring the dressing on everything, and I was not a fan.

If I had to pick from their new sandwiches, I’d pick either the Panera Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Sandwich or Panera Chipotle Bacon Melt. Next time, I’ll stick with a soup and salad, or maybe a lighter sandwich.

Lastly, what your thoughts are on the new Panera foods? I really appreciate you taking the time to read this. I’ll post every Wednesday and Friday at noon EST to try and keep myself on a schedule. We’ll see how things go.

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