Julia Barton ® Staff Writer |
The debate between which fast food chain carries the best chicken sandwich is on-going as McDonalds joins the conversation having hatched a pair of new sandwiches Tuesday — regular and spicy.
Other honorable fast food chains such as Chick-fil-A, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Burger King and Wendy’s have been a part of the chicken sandwich debate for years as they seem to improve their recipes each year. And to be clear, McDonald’s has offered some version of a chicken sandwich for years.
With the release of McDonald’s new sandwiches, many food bloggers and critics are also ranking it on the scale of best fast food chicken sandwiches. Daym Drops, a food critic with more than 1.4 million YouTube subscribers, ranks McDonald’s new chicken sandwich at four of five (he ranks the spicy version a little higher than the regular one).
Being from Minnesota, I can only judge fast food places common in my area which include Chick-fil-A, McDonalds, Popeyes, Wendy’s, and Burger King, although other fast food chains such as Jack in the Box, Jollibee and Hardee’s are mentioned to have chicken sandwiches as well.
Now the real question is: Which chicken sandwich is best?
For me it comes down to three aspects that determine the ranking of a fast food chicken sandwich: chicken-to-bun ratio, crispness of the fried chicken, and overall flavor/sauce.
Starting off in the tie for last place is Burger King and Wendy’s. Judging by their chicken to bun ratio they both lack the height and real chicken breast texture. Both give off more of a large chicken nugget vibe with a flimsy, soggy bun.
Burger King and Wendy’s would be the last place I would visit for this delectable meal and only is palatable if it were to be dipped in a bucket of ranch or hot sauce. Looking at the prices of each, Wendy’s stands at $4.69 and Burger King at $4.99 per sandwich.
Coming in third place is Popeyes. Not only is Popeyes less common in Minnesota, especially in my area, but it is also out of the way and not worth the drive. Located only near the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs, Popeyes is known for its crispy deep fried chicken.
Starting with the chicken to bun ratio, the chicken on the Popeyes sandwich is huge compared to the bun. Texture wise it does taste like a real chicken breast but is almost too meaty for me and lacks sauce. Coming in at $3.99 it is a good deal for the amount of chicken you get, but I would rather spend a $1 extra for a better sandwich closer to home.
McDonald’s new chicken sandwich, which I tried the day it came out, takes second place.
Although the new sandwich is a big upgrade from their McChicken texture and size wise, the blandness of the chicken itself does not meet my expectations. Most fast food places toast their buns and put some sort of sauce on it, but this new sandwich only comes with two measly pickles and the signature flat buns.
For the taste it actually is really good despite the lack of sauce. One notable thing is that the sauce put on the spicy sandwich will be sure to have you reaching for a drink. The spicy version is better than the regular as the sauce really adds a nice flavor and juiciness to the sandwich.
McDonald’s is selling this for $3.39 which is noticeably cheaper than most places, and is very accessible as McDonalds is in almost any town you visit in Minnesota.
Finally, the winner: Chick-fil-A has the best chicken sandwich. The ratio of chicken to bun is perfect; it has the best quality of buns out of all the fast food places.
Chick-fil-A’s chicken by far is the freshest and most authentic while also being crispy, filling and tasty. Having simple and limited items but doing them right is something Chick-fil-A prides itself on. All they do is chicken.
Another aspect is that the spiciness of Chick-fil-A’s sandwich doesn’t come from the sauce. It’s in the breading on the chicken. That aspect alone is a game changer as most places just slap hot sauce on their sandwiches and call it spicy.
The pickles are thick and crispy when you bite into it, which doesn’t compare to other fast food chains. Coming in at $3.75 per sandwich, it is well worth the extra few cents and choose Chick-fil-A.
Try one. Try all of them, in fact. Decide for yourself which is best.