Burger King announced a new line of fried-chicken sandwiches on May 19.
McDonald's announced its new line on January 4.
I compared all six sandwiches and found Burger King to be the overall winner.
Visually there was a huge difference between the two chains' sandwiches.
The first difference I noticed was the coating on the chicken itself. Burger King's had a ripple effect that looked crunchy and decadent, while McDonald's was more understated and looked like it had more of a thin, crisp bite.
Both chains' chicken had fairly minimal sogging as a result of the wet toppings. I was impressed by that.
The other standout feature was the pickle usage. Burger King's pickle chips were large enough to cover most of the surface area of the bun. They also were strategically placed so that I was able to get some briny goodness in each bite of the sandwich. The pickles on McDonald's sandwiches were small and thin. They barely delivered any flavor on the spicy sandwich, and they were so small that I had to take three bites of the original-recipe sandwich before I got a taste.
When it came to the classic option from each chain, Burger King's was the clear winner.
First off, let's talk about the buns. While Burger King's was light, fluffy, slightly chewy, and somewhat sweet, McDonald's was slightly wet, denser, and offered little flavor. This was constant across all three sandwiches.
If I were given the two in a blind taste test, I would have guessed that the sandwich on the right in the photo above belonged to McDonald's. It had the signature flavor of the chain's other breaded chicken products.
I also think "crispy" is the perfect word for the McDonald's sandwich, but "fried chicken" makes me think of the ripples you can see in Burger King's sandwich.
The lack of sauce on McDonald's sandwich was a deciding factor for me.
Burger King's Ch'King had two pickle chips and a sauce that tasted like a cross between honey mustard and mayo spread across both the top and bottom buns. The sauce was a welcome addition that complemented the flavorful chicken, briny pickles, and sweet bun.
Unfortunately, there was no sauce on McDonald's crispy-chicken sandwich at all. That was a big disappointment for me, especially since I do think the chain has a great lineup of sauces in its repertoire.
Burger King's spicy sandwich beat out its competitor as well.
After tasting both carefully, I was able to see that Burger King did a better job integrating the spice into the sandwich. In tasting a piece of McDonald's chicken that was hanging outside of the bun, I was able to see that the chain simply put spicy sauce on its original-recipe sandwich.
This competition also came down to the sauce.
The Spicy Ch'King was glazed in a spicy sauce, which allowed each bite to offer some peppery flavors. It was evenly coated and not too messy for an on-the-go lunch.
The Spicy Crispy Chicken, though, was built identically to the original version, just with the addition of a pepper sauce on top and bottom of the protein.
On the first bite, I was able to taste a bit of the acid from the pickles in McDonald's sandwich, but the heat from the sauce completely took over the flavor profile. I wasn't able to taste anything else. It was pepper flake heavy with barely any additional flavor. There was an identifiable mayonnaise texture and a slight sweetness at first, but then a stinging heat took over my whole mouth and throat for several minutes.
Burger King's flavor profile was more muted and highlighted the black pepper that was in the chicken dredge. Though I thought a bit more salt would have evened out the flavor profile and brought the fruitiness of the chilis to the forefront.
While McDonald's deluxe sandwich was the best in its lineup, it still wasn't as good as Burger King's.
The Deluxe Crispy Chicken sandwich tasted like a more traditional fast-food version of the Ch'King Deluxe.
It had a thinner piece of chicken with the minimalistic crispy coating and the same subpar bun as the other crispy-chicken sandwiches.
The toppings on these two deluxe sandwiches were nearly identical.
Both sandwiches offered fresh, crisp lettuce and tomato slices.
While McDonald's sauce tasted like plain mayonnaise, the Burger King deluxe sandwich had a honey mustard tang to it.
The chicken breasts were consistent with the pieces on the other two sandwiches, so there was no additional difference there.
Overall, if you're looking for a more elevated version of chicken, lettuce, and tomato, I would recommend walking into Burger King instead of McDonald's.
Overall I decided that Burger King executed their fried-chicken sandwiches better than McDonald's did.
In terms of breading, I felt the Burger King sandwiches were trying to replicate those of Popeye's while McDonald's was going for more of a Chick-fil-A vibe.
But regardless of someone's preference for breading texture (I personally love both), Burger King simply made a better sandwich. Their line felt heartier, fresher, and overall more flavorful.
I didn't get a restaurant-quality feel from McDonald's sandwiches.
So if you're looking for a more elevated-feeling sandwich, the Ch'King is the way to go.
This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author(s).
Read the original article on Insider