By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Back in 2019 Popeyes vs. Chick Fil A was one of the biggest stories of the year.
Then we got distracted by something in 2020 that placed the “Great Chicken Sandwich War” on the back burner. Fast forward to 2021 and the participants in this battle have grown and the interest of poultry on a bun has exploded again.
In addition to Popeyes and Chick Fil A, several restaurants including burger chains have placed their chicken sandwich offerings on the table.
In the Memphis area we’re missing out on a few eateries’ version of the chicken sandwich. Despite that fact, I’ve eaten 10 different chicken sandwiches since February. Now it is time for The Best Sellers’ List to rank the best.
10. KFC’s Chicken Sandwich
The well-known chicken establishment finally decided to join in the fun with the simple recipe of bun, chicken and pickles. Oh, and don’t forget the sauce.
My verdict on the KFC sandwich, it’s a piece of Kentucky Fried Chicken on a bun. It was smaller that I thought and the flavor it lacking.
The positive, if you love the flavor of KFC, you’ll love this sandwich. But surprisingly that taste don’t work very well in this form.
9. Zaxby’s Chicken Sandwich
OK, Zaxby’s offering to the War is a freshly prepared, double hand-breaded, premium chicken breast fillet accompanied by three thick-sliced pickle chips. The stage for this quartet is a buttery toasted potato bun – with your choice of Zax Sauce® or Spicy Zax Sauce™.
If you ask me what I think about the sandwich, I don’t remember. It was very underwhelming.
It looked good and was pleasing to the eye. But the flavor wasn’t memorable. You’re left in neutral after eating this chicken sandwich.
8. Chick Fil A Grilled Spicy Chicken Deluxe Sandwich
The only non-fried offering on this countdown, i like the spicy grilled breast from Chick Fil A. Fresh toppings and great service you’ve come to expect from Chick Fli A.
But what hurt the sandwich was the slice of cheese. It was just too much taking away from the bun, sauce and other ingredients.
The sandwich is a healthier choice in the midst of this greasy battlefield.
I recommend you avoid the waffle fries to maximize your selection of the Grilled Spicy Chicken Sandwich.
7. Church’s Chicken Sandwich
I like the taste of Church’s Chicken. And you run into the same dynamic with the KFC Chicken Sandwich. Somebody basically took a piece of Church’s Chicken and placed it on a bun. But this one works much better.
It’s crispy and boneless bites of the chicken I’ve grown to love over the year. And the all-star in this selection, like many of the other sandwiches on this list, are the pickles.
The pickles assist the sauce and add more flavor to the chicken. And the sandwich has a nice size on it for the price.
6. Sonic Chicken Slinger
You would rank higher if I had more sandwich. It is a slinger and I have to respect the niche’. But I’m left wanting more of this delicious offering. The slogan used by Sonic is “The flavor you crave…” I’ll add “even more after eating one.”
Sauce is awesome and those pickles are a tangy compliment.
5. Burger King Spicy Chicken Sandwich
These Burger King chicken sandwiches almost made me want to regurgitate. With the new Hand-Breaded Crispy and Spicy chicken sandwiches on the 2 for $5 menu, I could afford to try them over and over again.
Things were not off to a good start with under cooked versions in my bag. I even purchased one WITHOUT PICKLES. That is a crime.
But one day after leaving a signing at Munford High School, I made a stop by the Burger King in Atoka.
I was going to clever about my lunch. I ordered off the 2 for $5 menu picking the spicy chicken sandwich and a Big Fish. I wasn’t going to eat two nasty chicken sandwiches again.
As I headed down Highway 51 I grabbed the chicken sandwich out of the bag. After one bite, I turned around and got back into the drive-thru line just to tell the women the wonderful job they did and how they restored my faith in the Burger King sandwich.
The breast was hanging out of the bun. The flavor and seasoning was well balanced. And the pickles were all over the bun with the perfect amount of sauce. Excellent preparation of the sandwich.
4. Hardee’s Chicken Sandwich
Although Hardee’s had not officially joined the battle, they have a secret weapon in this War.
For several years, the restaurant has offered a crispy chicken fillet topped with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise on a toasted potato bun.
Now the establishment does offer other chicken sandwiches like the Charbroiled BBQ Grilled version but the hand-breaded fillet is a show-stopper. It’s a great change of pace for lunch or dinner one day.
It’s hard to standout in a land of monster burgers. But this tangy classic does. Once you bite into it, you won’t forget it.
3. Wendy’s Chicken Sandwich
The Wendy’s website builds its sandwich as a flawless blend of nostalgia and excitement. When it was 2 for $5, I was going down memory lane very often.
This is how good this sandwich is, it doesn’t need the pickles.
Wendy’s has about a dozen chicken sandwich offerings.
But you can’t beat the original. The spicy version comes close but a great cheap lunch these past four months has been the Wendy’s Chicken Sandwich.
The flavorful breast with the right amount of mayo is so smooth to the taste buds.
2. McDonald’s Chicken Sandwiches
I hope I am not the only one who remembers McDonald’s having a premium chicken sandwich since 2005. The McExperts at McDonald’s have revamped the southern style fried chicken sandwich.
And the king of variety had given us three versions of this crispy, juicy and tender slice of meat.
Like the others, you get the chicken along with crinkle-cut pickles and served on a new toasted, buttered potato roll with sauce. Then there is a spicy edition of the sandwich.
Then the ultimate is the deluxe with fresh toppings. Although they are not the largest sandwiches on this list, they pack awesome flavor. I love these sandwiches and if they were cheaper, I would buy them at least once a week.
1. Popeyes Chicken Sandwich
And still champion… the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich. Is it the brioche bun?
The pickles are the most crucial ingredient? Naw, it has to the flavor of the breast with the Cajun sauce. No, I got it. It is the size of that overwhelming breast on that bun.
It is all of the above. Often imitated but it has not been truly duplicated yet.
I love this sandwich from first bit two years ago. And each time I eat one is like the first time. From Frayser to Millington to Bartlett, the sandwich is bulletproof.
Being bulletproof in a full-out war comes in handy. It allows you to be the last sandwich standing when the smoke clears.
THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.