Where were you when the Great Chicken Sandwich War of 2019 began?
On Aug. 12, Popeyes added a new chicken sandwich to its nationwide menu, spanning more than 3,000 restaurants across the country.
The sandwich features a buttermilk-battered and hand-breaded white meat chicken filet topped with pickles and a spicy Cajun spread (or classic mayo) on a toasted brioche bun.
The sandwich sparked a social media frenzy, with fans of the Popeyes sandwich declaring it the best in the land, ruffling the feathers of fast-food rivals including Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s.
So, who truly boasts the best chicken sandwich in the land? This is why we hatched the USA TODAY Chicken Sandwich bracket.
We placed eight of the biggest fast-food chains in competition to let readers vote which fast-food chicken sandwich rules the roost.
Users can vote on our Twitter feed, @usatodaymoney, with winners of each round revealed until we find our chicken sandwich champion.
Here’s a look at round one:
1. Chick-fil-A vs. 8. Burger King
Breakdown: Chick-fil-A has been considered by many as the gold standard of chicken sandwiches, having served them for more than 50 years. If they’re a basketball program, they’re Duke or Kansas: consistently good with a strong reputation. And let’s not forget their sauce game is strong. As for Burger King, they bring their familiar chicken sandwich on the longer, oval bun. Let’s be real here: It will be tough for BK to have it their way in this round.
4. KFC vs. 5. Bojangles
Breakdown: KFC has given us a chicken sandwich where two pieces of fried chicken are used as the bread, and a chicken sandwich stuffed with Cheetos. That has to count for something. Bojangles is famous for chicken and biscuits. They tried to mix it up in the chicken sandwich war on Twitter and caught so much flack they deleted their tweet.
3. Wendy’s vs. 6. Shake Shack
Breakdown: If we were ranking based on social media presence, Wendy’s is the top seed – no contest. And they certainly weren’t going to let Popeyes or Chick-fil-A throw down without entering the fry – I mean, fray. “Y’all out here fighting about which of these fools has the second best chicken sandwich,” read a tweet from Wendy’s account. Like Popeyes, Shake Shack is new to the chicken sandwich game, but it’s drawn some buzz. However, some users can’t get over the price. “Sandwich came with…an APR of 13.75%,” wrote Twitter user @worklurkchill.
2. Popeyes vs. 7. McDonald’s
Breakdown: So much spice, and it’s not just the sandwich. “Sounds like someone just ate one of our biscuits. Cause y’all looking thirsty,” read a tweet from Popeyes account in response to Wendy’s. No one has been safe from a Popeyes roasting. They face off against the makers of the McChicken, which is among the most affordable at $1.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.