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The Official Ranking of Spicy Chicken Sandwiches

My dad is in great shape for a guy in his mid-seventies. He eats well and exercises constantly, and lives a very active lifestyle. In fact, when other old guys go get their annual physicals, their doctors hold up pictures of my dad and say "be more like this guy."

This is why no one believed my dad when he told them something was wrong. He was tiring quickly and too short of breath after taking walks. His primary doctor told him he was fine, that he was a picture of health. But something wasn't right. So dad went to an expert, a cardiologist, who promptly found massive arterial problems and in a shocking turn of events, heart bypass surgery was quickly scheduled. Now a couple of years later, and dad's better than ever. Genetics, man.

The point is, when you need a real solution to a real problem, you seek out an expert. You wouldn't call a plumber when you think you're having heart problems, would you? No, you'd go see a cardiologist. While they're both experts at moving liquids through a closed system of tubes, one is clearly the better choice when you're clutching your chest.

It's in that spirit that I am here to bestow upon you the official ranking of spicy chicken sandwiches. You've probably heard about this on the news lately, definitely so if you're anywhere near social media. Popeye's burst onto the chicken sandwich scene recently with a big splash, a brilliant marketing strategy, and oddly....a lack of chicken sandwiches. (That may be part of the marketing strategy, though.) People are now storming Popeye’s with guns trying to get their hands on this sandwich. So let’s jump into that fray.

Ground Rules for the Rankings

I’m sticking to fast food chicken sandwiches. We all know some hole-in-the-wall place that has the best chicken sandwich. And any of those sandwiches could easily take down these fast-food versions, but I have to be mindful of this blog’s global audience. I want everyone to be able to eat the same sandwiches.

I’m limiting this to what I’ll call the Big 3: Wendy’s, Popeye’s and Chick-Fil-a. Two reasons. I don't want to end up in the same cardiac lab as my dad. And come on, what I am going to do, throw a McChicken in here? This is the big leagues, son.

They were eaten the way they are prepared. This seemed like the fairest way.

Do you want to make a case for a sandwich being left off? I’d love to have that debate with you, get in touch. But until then, this Mt. Rushmore has no fourth.

So before I unveil my ranking, I will break down the pros and cons of each sandwich in reverse alphabetical order.

Wendy’s

Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Pros: The spiciest of them all. Great mix of heat and crunch.

Cons: No pickles. Mayonnaise plus lettuce and tomato make this one the messiest. Overall it’s solid, if unremarkable. It just does it’s job, and does it well, with no frills. This is not con per se, but it’s definitely not a pro, either, so it goes here. It's also right in the middle on the calorie count, too, right at 510.

Popeye’s

Pros: It’s thicc. The best breading of the bunch, making it by far the crunchiest. Also, the best pickles. And that chipotle sauce is really, really good.

Cons: It’s thicc, with the most calories out of the bunch, at 690. Also, they ran out of them. I find the Popeye’s customer experience stands in stark, stark contrast to Chick-fil-A’s. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean.

Chick-fil-A

chick-fil-a spicy chicken sandwhich

Pros: Elegance in simplicity. 440 calories. 

Cons: Questionable corporate politics. Yep, I had to go there. There are no other cons, the sandwich is basically perfect. Plus those politics are really hard to wrap your head around. For now, if Mayor Pete will eat there, so will I.

"I do not approve of their politics,” said Buttigieg, “but I kind of approve of their chicken.”

…And the winner is:

  1. Chick-fil-A 
  2. Popeye’s
  3. Wendy's

Come at me, bruh.


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