A definitive ranking of fast-food chicken tenders _ first we feast

If fried chicken is proof of God’s Love, the chicken tender is communion. Recipe for cooking steak in the oven Though maybe not the superior form of golden bird, The Tender™ is one of the most convenient. Recipe for flank steak in the oven Like its cousin, the nugget, the tender only requires one hand for eating and dipping—a major perk that allows people to concentrate on more important things like holding a beer.


Recipe for skirt steak in the oven (And let’s be honest, you can’t walk around at a respectable tailgate with a mound of nuggets in your palm and not be roasted on someone’s Snapchat feed with the caption: “???????? NUGS BABY???????? .”) Tenders strike a middle-ground—not bite-sized, but not requiring a fork or knife either. Side dishes for steak fajitas They’re a snack that sustains you, delivering the perfect combo of crispy breading, grease, and moisture.

Because of their convenience, tenders have become a staple at fast-food chains across the nation, breeding a deep sense of nostalgia. Easy steak fajitas crock pot And no surprise—everyone is a self-proclaimed tenders expert. Easy recipe for steak fajitas This cockiness was on full display last week when a tender bracket surfaced on Twitter, setting the Internet aflame. Recipe for salmon steaks baked in oven Though it was absolutely blasphemous (Buffalo Wild Wings? Tyson isn’t even a restaurant; it’s a slaughterhouse! Zaxby’s ranked lower than Dairy Queen?!), it proves that everyone buys into the myth that their favorite chicken spot is the best chicken spot. Steak and cheese pie recipe nz We’ve seen family members fist-fight each other at reunions over the “wrong” chicken. Steak and cheese pie recipe That type of unwavering loyalty can blind people to the reality of what a great tender should be.

We are interested in the truth. Cooking steak kabobs on the grill And in the pursuit of that chicken tender truth, we want to compare apples to apples. Recipe for pork steak in crock pot So we are evaluating larger fast-food chains because it would be silly to compare regional heavyweights like Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles or Publix with KFC. Recipe for salisbury steak in crock pot We’re also excluding any restaurant whose menu is not a majority of fried items, because lumping in McDonald’s and Dairy Queen just to fill some space for a bracket is disingenuous. Recipe for round steak in crock pot Restaurants hanging their hats on wings are also excluded.

Without further ado, here is the definitive ranking of fast-food chicken tenders.

While KFC’s invention of the Mashed Potato Bowl changed the entire concept of what fast food could be, and their innovations in the field of poultry buns should be lauded, their tenders are typically dry. Recipe for swiss steak in crock pot Due largely to their lack of consistency, the non-uniform sizing causes irregular cook times among skinny and thick tenders. Recipe for cube steak in crock pot The Ol’ Colonel’s secret eleven herbs (ft. Recipe for flank steak in crock pot spices) recipe never translated well over to tenders. Recipe for round steak and mushrooms But, for background, KFC used to have the Extra Crispy™ Strips, then replaced them with the Original Recipe® Strips. Recipe for steak and mushroom pie The difference, other than the texture, is that the Extra Crispy™ Strips are only seasoned with salt and pepper, and are intended to be paired with a dipping sauce. Recipe for steak and mushroom sauce They never had a chance. Recipe for steak and mushroom pie with puff pastry KFC? More like Kentucky Fail Chicken. Recipes for pork steaks cooked in the oven (And with that, please be sure to like and share this article.)

It’s amazing how phenomenal Chick-fil-A’s nuggets are, but how poor their tenders are. Steak taco recipe crock pot It’s like when they decided to expand their menu, S. Recipes for baking steak in the oven Truett Cathy, in his genius senility, suggested “What if we took what we did best and then did the opposite?” They have revamped the recipe a few times since they first introduced them, with the most recent version actually making them a viable option if you were starving to death, and that particular Chick-fil-A restaurant you were at happened to be sold out of everything else. Recipe ideas for steak pieces That signature CFA crunchiness is nowhere to be found, resulting in a scalene mush-clump that is—technically—a chicken tender. Recipe for steak and kidney pie with puff pastry No amount of 100% peanut oil can save it.

One day, we’ll need to have a discussion about how Long John Silver’s is one of the most underrated fast-food restaurants to ever exist. Recipe for scottish steak pie with puff pastry We know what you’re thinking: “LJS is seafood.” Except they aren’t. Recipe for steak and guinness pie with puff pastry Two words: Chicken Plank. Philly cheesesteak egg rolls bopngrill The reason they belong on this list is that tempura batter, designed for seafood but adapts to poultry with grace and finesse. Steak sandwich jamie oliver 30 minute meals There are no less than 500 imitation recipes for it on the World Wide Web. Recipe for steak and kidney pie gordon ramsay Airy, crispy, the batter insulates their Chicken Plank like a culinary FUPA. Recipe for pepper steak pie filling Its flaw, however, is that it requires a sauce accoutrement and cannot stand on its own. Recipe for steak and ale pie jamie oliver We might have been able to rank them higher on the list if they hadn’t started charging for extra loose crispies a few years back.

Bojangles’ suffers from the same flaw as KFC—the delicious breading recipe for their bone-in and cajun filet doesn’t translate to their tenders. Recipes for steak pieces Both versions—the seasoned Supremes and the mild Homestyle—come out too dry. Recipe for steak and kidney pie with shortcrust pastry Combine that with a heavy batter, and it’ll have you reaching for the honey mustard. Recipe for steak and ale pie with shortcrust pastry There is a reason their sauces are 2 oz. Recipe steak pie jamie oliver whereas other fast-food restaurant sauces offer 1 oz. Recipe for steak and ale pie with puff pastry It’s because they know you’ll need it to get through your meal. Easy recipes with steak pieces It hurts our clogged heart to put Bojangles’ here because they produce the superior chicken biscuit, but their tenders bring shame to an otherwise stellar franchise.

Raising Cane’s tenders are supposed to be dunked in their Cane’s Sauce—of which the ingredients are so secret only store managers know it and make it. Chili recipe with steak pieces Because of this, they are largely, and intentionally, under-seasoned. How to cut skirt steak for tacos They take the fourth spot here because while the breading is lackluster, the tenders themselves are actually tender due to their marinade. Skirt steak tacos marinade A tendie should stand on its own because sometimes you’ll run out of a dipping sauce, and that scenario shouldn’t have you contemplating throwing the un-sauced portions in the garbage.

P.S.—Cane’s charges $0.35 for extra sauce, which I have to imagine is a 600% markup of their actual costs. Recipe for braising steak in slow cooker The chicken is a loss leader. Recipe for chuck steak in slow cooker The real money is in the additional sauce add-ons. Recipe for swiss steak in slow cooker Make chicken that requires a sauce, ration out that sauce sparingly, profit big time. How to make steak pie gravy That’s just genius capitalism.

The oft-overlooked franchise, Church’s Chicken, is a wildcard. How to make steak pie with puff pastry They had, objectively, the best fast-food chicken nuggets, but only offered them for six months before discontinuing them. How to make steak pie in slow cooker They also have, objectively, the best fast-food dipping sauce thanks to their Purple Pepper Sauce, but only offer it as a limited time item every three to five years. How to make steak pieces tender It’s almost like they don’t want to prosper. How to make steak pie with sausage and puff pastry Consistent sizing makes for an always-juicy tender. How to cook steak pieces in a pan The skinnier strips also create an incredible crunch that does not require a sauce to enjoy, especially if you order the spicy variant—which, if you didn’t, congratulations on being police. How to cook steak pieces While we have never received a 100% correct order, nor had to wait less than 20 minutes to receive it, Church’s Chicken tenders are always hot and delicious.

For the sake of analysis, we have to review their standard tenders and not its evolved waffle form or its naked, healthy brethren, the Blackened Tender. How to cook steak pieces in the oven Popeyes is what Church’s Chicken could be if Church’s moved out of its parents’ basement. How to cook steak pieces in slow cooker Popeye’s Handcrafted Tenders are twice as crispy as KFC’s Extra Crispy Strips, and more flavorful than Church’s. How to cook steak pieces in gravy Their marinade keeps the poultry moist so you don’t need to keep a drink or sauce nearby. Homemade steak pie with puff pastry Popeyes’ tenders can be enjoyed solo, and we would argue dipping them actually mars it.

Popeyes’ marinade and its patented Louisiana spices work in tandem to bring actual taste to its mild offering, though the spicy version is really the de facto choice. How to make steak and mushroom pie with puff pastry Now that Burger King has purchased Popeyes, we may have to update this thread in a few months. How to make scottish steak pie with puff pastry Some fear the quality may decrease, but we are more optimistic. How to make steak and kidney pie with puff pastry Perhaps Burger King can share some of its patented poultry technology, and actually improve the quality. How to make scottish steak pie in slow cooker Here’s to hoping we see Waffle Chicken Fries as a permanent menu staple.

Zaxby’s Chicken Fingerz™ are the only ones on this list that are slightly greasy, which should, you know, be a staple of fried food. Recipe steak and kidney pie with puff pastry Whereas Popeyes and Church’s opt for a skinnier strip, Zaxby’s Fingerz are hefty, with a generous meat-to-breading ratio. Steak pie with puff pastry top and bottom They’re crispy but not overtly crunchy. Steak pie with puff pastry Some people believe Zaxby’s tenders to be too salty, and we would say that those people need to grow up. How to cook steak pieces tender It’s just the right amount. Meat and potatoes steakhouse And, when you add the hints of garlic and onion, it’s all subtle enough to bolster the tender as a solo star, but not be overpowering if you did decide to dip it in a sauce. Crab meat and steak recipes The meat itself is juicy and tender. Steak and shake meat They are the embodiment of what a tender should be. Steak and shake meat quality Strap a damn feedbag to our eager maw, and load it up with Fingerz™. Steak and meat delivery Now, if they would only expand breakfast beyond their Athens, GA store so we can really kick this premature heart disease up a notch and get to dying fat and happy.

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