Apr 6, 2015

Review: Popeyes - Red Stick Chicken

Popeyes Red Stick Chicken features chicken tenderloin strips marinated in Tabasco sauce and cayenne before being battered and deep-fried in typical Popeyes' fashion.

A four-piece order with a side, biscuit, and new Smok'n Pepper Ranch sauce cost me $3.99. I scored an extra bonus piece by luck though.

The chicken strips were shorter but fatter than Popeye's regular chicken strips, which tend to be thin and long. Chicken tenderloins are typically cut from the inner side of the chicken breast close to the spine. Popeyes' regular strips are cut from the whole chicken breast. That might explain the size and shape difference. Also, these types of specials usually come with three strips so it looks like they accounted for the size difference with an extra piece.

The chicken was juicy and pretty tender. Each piece had that distinctive Tabasco vinegary, tangy spiciness to it. Interestingly, these packed more heat than the recent Ghost Pepper Wings. It didn't rise to sniffling level but lit a low fire that lingered a good while.

The breading was the same as the rest of Popeyes chicken with that flaky, crispy texture.

The Smok'n Pepper Ranch wasn't very smoky. Maybe the "smok'n" refers to the heat, as the sauce echoed the heat and tang of the chicken and paired it with some creaminess. The flavor was a little too similar to the Red Stick Chicken for me; I would have preferred a little more contrast or just plain Ranch for more of a cooling effect.

Overall, I enjoyed Popeyes Red Stick Chicken quite a bit. Popeyes' limited time specials can sometimes be a little too similar to their regular menu items, and I liked that Red Stick Chicken was more distinguished but still tasty.

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