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Zaxby’s wins best spicy chicken sandwich


     Over the last year, many different fast food restaurants have been coming out with a new addition to their menu: chicken sandwiches. Chick Fil-A being the originator of the fast food chicken sandwich, other big name fast food restaurants such as Zaxby’s, McDonalds, Popeyes and many others have included their own spicy chicken sandwich. After reading many reviews, I decided to set out on my own quest to find the best spicy chicken sandwich out of the big four: Chick Fil-A, Zaxby’s, McDonalds and Popeyes. Although many young adults prefer the regular chicken sandwich to the spicy, I have recently been on my own personal journey to raise my spice tolerance, and the spicy chicken sandwich quest has only helped me towards that goal.

     For my Great Chicken Sandwich Race, to get to the best, I had to start at the worst part of the sandwich: the bun. I would have to say that Zaxby’s had the best bun, with Chick Fil-A coming in at a close second. Popeyes and McDonalds were not bad buns, but they definitely could not keep up with the overall quality of Zaxby’s and Chick Fil-A. What makes the quality of a bun is simple: toastiness and sauceability. Sauceability is a term I have coined with a simple definition: does the sauce spread easily and does it seep into the bun? All the buns had an overall high sauceability level, but the toastiness is what affected the ratings so heavily. McDonalds, Popeyes and Chick Fil-A all had buns that were barely toasted, with Zaxby’s being the only bun that you could tell had been toasted to the proper crispiness.

     Next comes the most important part: the chicken. Obviously in eating the spicy sandwich, I had to judge off color. Chick Fil-A and McDonalds had the best colored 

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Graphic by Davis Harz

sandwiches: a lighter orangey brown. This is the ideal color you want your spicy chicken sandwich to be, with Zaxby’s and Popeyes colors coming in at just the normal light brown shade. But after the taste test, it was obvious which sandwich had the best chicken. Zaxby’s by far had the best chicken, because of its better flavor and texture than the rest of the sandwiches. Chick Fil-A and McDonalds follow up, with Popeyes last in this category.

     The final judging category is an obvious one for the sandwiches: spiciness. This category came with an unexpected ending. Chick Fil-A was an obvious favorite for the spicy chicken sandwich race, but I had never found their sandwich all that spicy, but this quest led me to my match. Overall, McDonalds actually ended up having the spiciest sandwich of them all, as I had to refill my water several times while eating the sandwich. I was not sure if it was the sauce on the sandwich or the sandwich itself,but after doing my research, the sauce and pickle gives it the massive kick. Zaxby’s and Popeyes were the runner ups in this category, with Chick Fil-A falling behind in the spice category.

     So, after careful consideration, tasting and re-tasting, I have come to my conclusion in the Great Spicy Chicken Sandwich Race for 2021. Zaxby’s takes home first place, as it has become my new favorite meal to eat when on the go; I actually ordered it twice over spring break. In a close call between second and third, McDonalds comes in second and Chick Fil-A with a close third. I guess after all these years of thinking the spicy chicken sandwich from Chick Fil-A was the best of the best, Zaxby’s and McDonalds exceeded my expectations. Popeyes brings up the rear in fourth place, yet overall still not a bad option. Nothing could compare to the quality of Zaxby’s, with the sauce on top, it was the obvious choice for the winner of the Great Spicy Chicken Sandwich Race.

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