My Guide to Fast Food Chicken
Let's get straight to it—here are my reviews of several fast-food chicken offerings at some popular national chains.*
* Prices and selection are current as of this writing.
Ratings of the Contenders
Jack in the Box
Price: About $7.00 for a Meal With Fries and a Drink, $4.00 a la Carte
When most people think of a chicken restaurant, at least today, they say Chick-fil-A. I've been a big fan of this place since the early '90s and perhaps before. It kind of sounds odd to say that—it's been almost 30 years.
I think they were a lot better when they started out—I have noticed the quality slowly subsiding. They are still one of my favorites though.
Instead of batter, there seems to be a flavorful breading that soaks into the meat and creates one of the tastiest chicken nugget samples around. I believe they are prepared in one of those special convection ovens that simulates frying, although I believe they were fried at one time.
A chicken sandwich is a nice option too, and I've only tried the grilled nuggets once. I prefer the original.
Chick-fil-A has expanded its market locations in the past few years, so I am certain there is probably one near you, and not just in a mall food court.
Give them a try and let me know what you think.
Price: $6 to $8
Everyone probably has experienced McDonald's in some fashion at one time in their lives. McDonald's and fast food are so synonymous that it's often easier to say McDonald's when you just mean eating out.
Their nuggets are honestly not my favorite—other than the thin, honey-flavored batter that encases the pieces. The nuggets are definitely processed pieces, pressed into various shapes. Recently, they've gone all white meat, but that still hasn't really improved the quality of the product.
They've created a product I believe they refer to as "Homestyle Tenders," which is supposed to emulate the flavor of good old-fashioned cooking. I don't know how often people cook up tenders at home—deep fried—but this menu offering is supposed to be reminiscent of that process.
The tenders—although seemingly real pieces of white meat chicken (tenderloins)—are not that much better. Everything at McDonald's tastes basically the same. There is that underlying fry taste that kind of lingers and fills the air with that familiar aroma.
Don't get me wrong, they are not bad, but they don't really have that much of a unique taste. Even with the barbecue sauce, which is heavy and sweet, the tenderloins are not that filling and get boring pretty quickly.
Not bad for a quick snack if you're on the go and have few options, but they're not my favorite either.
Price: $7 to $9 for a Small Sample With Fries and a Drink
Sonic is a great place for a nice quick bite. In addition to the popcorn chicken, you can choose from a variety of refreshing desserts.
They have a nice selection of chicken products and I chose the spicy popcorn chicken. They are delicious full chicken cuts—not processed or pressed. The chicken is tender and the batter is delicious too. These are probably my favorite so far of all the fast food places.
The batter is not too spicy or doughy, and just thick enough to add a nice texture, but it's thin enough not to override the meat. The chicken itself is flavorful with the spices adding a nice jolt.
You can get these with a side of fries or tater tots or by themselves. They make a great mini-meal or a snack to get you through a busy afternoon.
Price: $7 to $9 for the Meal
Much better than I previously recall them to be, these nuggets were piping hot and tasted like they just came from the fryer.
The chicken is made of real breast slices and the meat is tasty with those spices that I'm sure most of you are familiar with.
There was a generous sampling in the meal deal as well; not what I expected. One of those small boxes was almost filled to the top with the golden brown specimens.
They're definitely a deal and good when you want to know what you get. Probably not the very best of all the restaurants out there, but definitely a plus choice.
Do you agree?
Current Price: $8 to $12 for a Small Plate
Well, this is my first time trying Wingstop and it wasn't that bad. I chose the chicken tenders—three pieces—with a side of fries. The potatoes taste like the frozen, fresh-cut variety and were not that bad. They also offer a vegetable option.
The chicken comes in varieties such as tenders, boneless wings, or bone-in wings. I probably should have tried the latter because it is always nice to eat the meat off the bones.
The wings were pretty good. Tender meat, a nice crisp coating, and they dip it in a sauce for you. There are many options of flavors to choose from that range from a basic barbecue to a spicy hot type.
Overall, it was satisfying, but I found the fries a bit boring. The chicken was tender and juicy but I felt that it lacked a little flavor. The coating had a nice zip to it and even the barbecue sauce had a nice mild zing to it.
Will I go back? Probably not for the tenders.
Jack in the Box (And Perhaps Burger King)
Price: $1.50 to $2 for Five Nuggets
I probably should review Jack in the Box and Burger King together since they actually seem to provide the same product.
They're actually pretty tasty and worth the price you pay. Both establishments provide their product for the same price.
It's definitely a processed chicken—white meat—that resembles the kind of nugget you can buy frozen in the supermarket.
With a little bit of sauce, they are quite filling and great if you're on the go or looking for an inexpensive snack to tie you over.
Like Mashed Potatoes With Your Chicken? See My Review:
- The Best Fast Food Restaurant Mashed Potatoes
I'll look at a few restaurants that offer mashed potatoes as a side dish and give you my opinions about them. Many will be chicken restaurants. I'll expand on this as I discover new cuisines.
Questions & Answers
Question: How was KFCs cold slaw? It used to be good.
Answer: The last time I had it I didn't mind it. Not a big slaw person because I don't care for mayo. But as I get older I get less and less picky.
© 2018 Finn