The Secret To Why Popeyes' Chicken Sandwich Is So Delicious
- Published: 09 November 2019
- Make no mistake about it, Popeyes' chicken sandwich has already achieved cult status and seems to be the biggest fast food news story of 2019. An all-out fast food war has broken out between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A, with both McDonald's and Wendy's trying to get in on the action. Stores were forced to turn customers away when they ran out of the popular sandwich upon its initial release in August, which lead one unhappy customer to file a lawsuit for "deceptive business practices."
With it's re-release on November 3, the hype hasn't died down. If you haven't tried one yet, you may be wondering what makes this particular chicken sandwich so special. Well, Popeyes has taken a few steps to make their chicken sandwich a standout from the competition, and judging from all the buzz, their efforts are most definitely paying off.
The chicken on this sandwich is definitely the star of the show, but more on that in a second. Let's discuss the bun that cradles this lovely chunk of bird. Not content to keep things simple, Popeyes uses what it calls a "buttery brioche bun" for its sandwich. This goes against the standard bun of most fast food chicken sandwiches and helps to give the bread a slightly sweeter flavor. Some fast food restaurants will charge extra for using a brioche bun, and while Chick-fil-A butters their bun, neither their sandwich nor Wendy's chicken sandwich mention any use of a brioche bun. Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference.
Now for that chicken between those buns. For starters, the piece of chicken itself is larger than most other chicken sandwiches or at least it used to be, there's some concern it may have shrunk upon its return, though Popeyes denies this. The chicken cutlet is also, according to numerous reviews, juicer than its biggest competition, Chick-fil-A. Perhaps because Popeyes' chicken sandwich has a crispier breading that helps seal in the chicken's juices?
So we've pointed out that the bun and that big, crunchy, juicy chicken breast really help this chicken sandwich stand out, but that's not all the flavor magic at play here. The biggest criticism in a taste test of Chick-fil-A's sandwich compared to Popeyes' seems to be that the former is too dry due to its lack of sauce. Popeyes avoided that mistake right out of the gate.
Popeyes' chicken sandwich comes with a spicy mayo that complements the chicken cutlet's moisture without overpowering the sandwich to the point that it becomes soggy. Popeyes also reportedly uses thicker pickles than the competition. Chick-fil-A is known for always including pickles on their chicken sandwich, but most reviewers seem to think that the pickles are a little too thin and don't deliver the briny goodness in each bite the way that Popeyes does. The number of pickles could also be a factor. The Kitchn reports that Popeyes' chicken sandwich includes three pickle slices. As for Chick-fil-A? Well, they only put two slices of pickle on a sandwich. Clear advantage, there.
What's particularly interesting about this chicken sandwich is that Popeyes didn't uncover some secret mystery to making the ultimate chicken sandwich. Upon the sandwich's return, they had a press conference for it, and a lot of what makes it so good has already been at play in their kitchen.
Head Chef Amy Alarcon told Thrillist that the butter on the bun is the same butter the restaurant chain uses on its biscuits. The spices in the mayo sauce are the same spices that are used in their spicy fried chicken. Finally, the seasoning in the fried chicken on the sandwich is the same seasoning mixture used for the fried chicken that Popeyes has been serving in buckets for years.
None of these things may seem revolutionary, but all the ingredients together clearly made all the difference in the world. Considering how popular the sandwich is, it's no surprise that recipes abound on the internet for people who want to try to recreate their own version of this chicken sandwich at home. For the real deal, though, buying one from Popeyes is your best bet... assuming you can manage to get your hands on one.
Watch the video to find out the secret to why Popeyes' chicken sandwich is so delicious!
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