Tag Archives: Sonic

Sonic Vs. Wingstop Boneless Wings Taste Test

Sonic Vs. Wingstop Boneless Wings Taste Test Sonic Wingstop PackageWhen Sonic contacted me with the offer (challenge?) to take their Boneless Wings Taste Test, I was all about it. It’s a ballsy move, asking a food reviewer to compare their food side-by-side with another restaurant’s.

I was given the option to compare their new boneless wings to their equivalent at either Wingstop or Buffalo Wild Wings. I chose the former, only because it was closer. I’ve also never eaten at either of these establishments, nor have I tried Sonic’s Boneless Wings yet, so it’s gonna be fun and new!

Sonic Boneless Wings
Sonic Boneless Wings

Many chickens have given their boneless wings for this endeavor.

Wingstop Boneless Wings
Wingstop Boneless Wings

Of course, when a restaurant offers to sponsor your taste test, they include criteria. In this case, lots of criteria. So much so that I decided to take their criteria pretty much verbatim in this review. Things are gonna get technical up in this piece!

Let’s start with convenience.

  • Was the restaurant nearby?

Sonic wins this one, as my closest one is 0.7 miles away, and the closest Wingstop is 2.4 miles. Not exactly a harrowing journey across state lines, but hey.

  • How long did it take you to receive your wing order?

Wingstop allows you to order ahead online, and I was able to go in, grab my wings and leave in under two minutes. On the other hand, I did have to leave my car, which is a big minus in my eyes.

Sonic took a full 13 minutes from finishing my order (which took three tries; I’m not sure where the communication broke down over three orders of wings) to the end of transaction. That is not the fastest of food.

  • Were the wings still hot when you took your first bite?

Sonic’s wings weren’t steaming hot, but they were pleasantly warm when I ate them. My Wingstop wings were lukewarm at best, which surprised me, because they were wrapped inside a styrofoam container and placed inside a paper bag.

  • Did you make a big mess while eating the wings, or was it a relatively effortless and clean process?

This strikes me as a silly question. They’re wings! They’re messy! That said, Wingstop’s Original Hot were actually not very messy at all. Their Teriyaki and Hickory Smoked BBQ were a little bit saucier, but not swimming in it.

Sonic’s wings are “tossed and sauced”, and it showed. However, they also came with forks and napkins, which I would have appreciated had I been eating these in public. I like to keep it clean when other people are around.

Next, let’s go with value.

  • How was the serving size of the wings? How full were you after eating the wings

Sitting here with well over a dozen wings in front of me, it’s hard to answer this question with a straight face. However, Wingstop’s wings come in a minimum of ten pieces, which is an ample amount for one person. More than ample, really. Sonic’s smallest order is six pieces, which is just right for one person.

  • Could you make a meal of these wings with a side and a drink?

Both Sonic and Wingstop’s wing portions could easily have made a complete meal.

  • How was the price of these wings compared to the competition?

Broken down, Sonic’s wings cost $0.67 each, whereas Wingstop’s cost $0.60. However, their website advertises this as a “special”, so I don’t know if that’s their normal price or not.

Sauce! Obviously an important part of the wing experience.

  • Does the sauce flavor live up to what you expected?
Sonic Buffalo
Sonic Buffalo
Sonic Asian Sweet Chili
Sonic Asian Sweet Chili
Sonic Barbecue
Sonic Barbecue

Sonic’s Buffalo was a very straightforward buffalo sauce, having that signature Frank’s Red Hot flavor (not sure if that’s what they used, but it tasted very similar) with a little heat to it. So it did meet expectations. I had some trepidations about their Asian Sweet Chili, but I liked that the sweetness wasn’t overpowering, and they had a nice little kick. The Barbecue wings had a very mild but recognizable bbq sauce taste. So I would say they lived up to my expectations.

Wingstop Original Hot
Wingstop Original Hot
Wingstop Teriyaki
Wingstop Teriyaki
Wingstop Hickory Smoked BBQ
Wingstop Hickory Smoked BBQ

Wingstop’s Original Hot had an authentic buffalo flavor with a definite spicy kick. While not very saucy, the flavor was there. It had a different flavor than Frank’s, but was definitely flavorful. Their Teriyaki was tastier than I expected, having what I can only call the essence of umami. However, the sauce was so salty. It was like a reduced soy sauce. The Hickory Smoked BBQ totally surprised me – it was not too sweet and had a really nice BBQ flavor that didn’t taste like it was straight from a bottle (although I’m sure it was). It also had a good smoky flavor to it. In this arena, I’d say Wingstop actually exceeded my expectations.

  • Is this sauce flavor unique or different?

Wingstop’s Original Hot wasn’t really unique, but when I’m looking for a good wing, all I’m looking for is a good buffalo flavor with some heat. Teriyaki was a new wing flavor for me, so I did find it different, but just too salty to eat a whole serving. Hickory Smoked BBQ isn’t exactly a unique wing flavor either, but I did enjoy it.

Unfortunately, all three of Sonic’s sauce flavors were pretty typical. That doesn’t mean they were necessarily bad, just…expected.

  • Would you order this wing flavor again?

Sonic: Buffalo – yes, because I’m a sucker for buffalo. Asian Sweet Chili – no, because while the flavor was just fine, it’s just not my thing when it comes to wings. Barbecue – no, it was just too typical.

Wingstop: Original Hot – yeah, I like a good buffalo wing. Teriyaki – no, far too salty. Hickory Smoked BBQ – maybe, but I’ll pick buffalo over BBQ when it comes to wings, at least from a big name restaurant.

Quality: Kind of the point, right? Oh, they mean the quality of the chicken. Well, that’s also important.

  • How much meat is in each wing?

Wingstop’s wings ranged anywhere from nugget to almost bone-in wing size. I’m not exactly sure how to measure the amount of meat, but it was, uh, good? Sonic’s boneless wings measured about the same, maybe a teensy bit smaller, so also good?

  • What is the quality of the chicken?

Sonic claims they have all-white breast meat, and that seemed to be true. It definitely had that real chicken quality and not the mushed-up weirdness of nuggets. Wingstop has the exact same claim on their website, and they also didn’t have any fakeness in their wings.

  • How is the wing cooked? How is the texture?

The breading on Wingstop’s wings was nice and crunchy, but I have to say, the meat was a little dry. On the other hand, I found Sonic’s chicken to be juicier. Their breading was soggy in places, but this was probably due to the extra sauce on Sonic’s wings.

Overall taste. Now we’re getting down to it.

  • How did the wings taste?

Lordy, haven’t we covered this ad nauseum at this point?

  • Did you want to take another bite?

I did! Up until I’d eaten like, a million of them. Then I did not.

  • Would you recommend these wings to a friend?

Honestly, no, and I mean that in regards to both Sonic and Wingstop. Hey, guys, it’s nothing personal – in regards to Sonic, I just think they have better menu items on which to spend your money. As for Wingstop, it’s just that I know better places locally, so I’d wind up directing my friends in that direction.

And, finally, Sonic wanted to know my overall impression of the wings.

Well, Sonic, I have to say, I’ve never deconstructed chicken quite this thoroughly before. I think both had their highs and lows – I liked the crunchiness of Wingstop’s boneless wings better, but Sonic’s were juicier. Sonic’s sauce flavors were more pedestrian, but there was more of it, and Wingstop’s Teriyaki, while interesting, was just too salty.

And thus concludes the Sonic vs. Wingstop Boneless Wings Taste Test. I can’t say there was a clear winner, but what I can say is that I have never eaten so many boneless wings at one time. Guys I am so full.

Sonic Tex Mex Footlong Quarter Pound Coney

I’ve had a craving to get a fast food hot dog for a while now. Don’t ask me why; I get pregnant woman-esque cravings for random foods all the time. Since my local KFC/A&W hybrid went all Colonel all the time and there’s not a Wienerschnitzel close enough for my satisfaction, my only option is Sonic Drive-In.

What got me from “Gee, I should get a hot dog” to “Oh damn, I need that hot dog NOW” was Sonic’s Tex Mex Footlong Quarter Pound Coney. I think Sonic’s website describes it best: “Coney lovers won’t want to miss this footlong quarter pound hot dog topped with warm chili, crunchy FRITOS® chips, shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions, sliced jalapeños and zesty Southwest chipotle sauce all inside a soft, warm bakery bun.”

That’s a holy hell of a lot of toppings on a hot dog! Of course, my eyeballs immediately zoned in on the “Fritos” part. Sonic has had a Fritos Chili Cheese Wrap on the menu for a long time now, and I’ve always wanted to try it, just because it sounded ridiculous. It wasn’t until I watched some random episode of King of the Hill quite a few years ago that I realized Frito pie is a real thing, that real people actually eat. I blame Texas. You can blame Peggy Hill for me blaming Texas.

Armed with minimal knowledge of Frito pie, the Frito Wrap seemed mildly less ridiculous, but only in the way lutefisk seems less ridiculous just because it is real and exists outside the realm of unicorns and leprechauns. Lutefisk is still fish soaked in lye, and Frito pie is still a pie made with motherfucking Fritos. Humans are silly.

Reinforcing my judgmental glare towards Texas, I’m assuming the “Tex” part of Sonic’s Coney dog is the Fritos, chili and cheese, while the “Mex” is covered by the jalapeños and Southwest chipotle sauce. The onions straddle the middle, keeping Tex from pointing a shotgun at Mex and telling it to go back to where it came from and quit taking Americans’ jobs. Ouch. Topical.

Hot-button political issues aside, I had to try this hot dog. So I drove to my nearest Sonic, which weirds me out every time I go there. First of all, they have those car stalls where you park and place your order and somebody comes out on rollerblades and gives you a tray with all your Frito pie wraps and shit. If you’re going to commit to pretending it’s still 1956, why not have them wear roller skates? And didn’t rollerblades become passe in the 1990s? Sonic, you’re all over the place.

Second of all, if you want to be a self-respecting person and get your food at the drive-thru so you can take it home and engorge yourself in privacy, you still have to deal with the carhops. Instead of handing you your bag of grease through a window, you shout your order into the metal box and then drive up two car lengths, park, and wait for your food to be delivered to you via said carhop, who has to skate over three feet of concrete and then awkwardly step into the decorative bed of shrubs and rocks at the curb, struggling not to faceplant as she hands you your food and gives you your change via an attractive coinholder apron.

I felt bad for my carhop. I had to wait 15 minutes to get my food, and when she apologized for the wait, I told her it was okay, because I’m generally a nice person and she seemed pretty frazzled. Also, she was cute. She then thanked me for being so nice, and launched into a story about the car in front of me, who complained that their food was cold, made her get new food, then told her they were going to call someone to complain about their wait and demanded an unknown quantity of free food upon their next visit. She also said her feet were very tired. I felt bad for her, and wished her a better rest of the day. In hindsight, I probably should have tipped her. You’re probably supposed to tip carhops, and I was probably getting a sob story for a better tip. Sorry, cute girl, I suck at carhop etiquette.

Three paragraphs of curmudgeonly complaining about Sonic’s food delivery method aside, let’s get to the actual hot dog, shall we?

Okay, so first off, I did not take the moniker of “footlong” seriously until I slid this bad boy out of its foil pouch when I got home. Please see my wooden ruler that I probably stole from school in third grade for proof. This Coney is serious business. I was immediately hit with the strong smell of onions and jalapeños, which elicited a Pavlovian saliva response in my mouth.

I have never seen such a large hot dog. And so loaded with toppings! They certainly didn’t skimp on anything. I wasn’t even sure how to tackle the beast. After a few moments of contemplation, I just went for it. I had to actually use one hand to hold the end and the other to support the middle, or else the whole thing would have flopped over, spilling all the toppings and making me the saddest person holding a malfunctioned footlong hot dog.

I have to say, I love the Tex Mex Footlong Quarter Pound Coney. It feels so wrong, but it tastes so right. Amazingly, with all those toppings, almost all of the flavors have their own time to shine. You taste the spicy jalapeño first, along with the onion, which delivers a great crunch. As you chew more, the cheese and the chili come through. The chili is that thinner kind of chili that I just love on a hot dog. After you get through the chili, you hit the hot dog. I had my doubts about the quality of the hot dog, but it was actually really tasty. I wanna say it tasted like a dirty water dog, but I’m not a hot dog expert (yet), so don’t hold me to that.

The two ingredients that didn’t shine were the Fritos and the Southwest chipotle sauce. By the time I got my Tex Mex Coney home, the Fritos were already mostly soggy. They did contribute a corn flavor that I liked, which surprised me, but I would have appreciated some crunch from the chips. Luckily, the onions were bright and fresh, and made up for the crunch that the chips didn’t deliver. I managed to get a little of the chipotle sauce on my hand (well, actually, I got pretty much everything on my hands), and it was tasty, although a little too subtle on the chipotle. For this reason, the sauce absolutely disappeared when eating the hot dog itself. I think it faded into the flavor of the chili, which was disappointing. I wish I could just take some of that sauce home and put it on a plain hot dog to see how it would taste on its own.

Despite these two minor failings, I am crazy about Sonic’s Tex Mex Footlong Quarter Pound Coney. There was no way I could finish it in one serving, but I tried my best. Afterward, my stomach was…unsettled. Not nauseous, not “get ready for your bowels to punish you for eating such a monstrosity”, just sort of churning. I felt like my stomach was confused. It wasn’t sure what to do with so much craziness. Even despite this, I went back to the fridge two more times to take just a few more bites. Even a little cold, I still loved it. I was a slave to the Tex Mex Coney.

Texas has two stupid sayings: “Everything’s bigger in Texas” and “Don’t mess with Texas”. While I want to punch anyone who ever says these things in the face, they apply to the Tex Mex Footlong Quarter Pound Coney. It’s a giant hot dog with tons of toppings, and if you are not ready to get messy and ridiculous, this Coney is not for you. But if you’re like me, a person willing to eat a hot dog with corn chips on it that’s the size of my forearm, I urge you to try it. Just don’t make any plans for the rest of the day, because you will be rendered incapable of moving and also chugging down gallons of water due to the insane sodium content.

Also note that this is a limited time offer, so you better get moving (if you want to be rendered incapable of moving)!

  • Score: 4.5 out of 5 carhop faceplants
  • Price: $3.69
  • Size: 1 giant fuckoff footlong quarter pound Coney hot dog
  • Purchased at: Sonic #3517
  • Nutritional Quirks: Contains 80.1 grams of fat, which is 15.1 grams more than you’re supposed to have IN ONE DAY.  Also contains 2,551 milligrams of sodium, which is almost twice that of the Double Down and also exceeds the daily recommended intake for one full day.  YEE-HAW!

Sonic Drive-In Ched R Pepper SuperSONIC Cheeseburger

I’m going to murder whoever designed Sonic’s website and hunt down every last relative of that person with a Bowie knife clenched between my perpetually gnashing teeth.

Perhaps that’s not the best way to start out a review, but it’s how I feel right now, after having attempted to do the bare minimum research on the product about which I will be talking. If I’m lucky, after ten minutes the home page for Sonic Drive-In’s website will load. If I’m unlucky, I get a server error page. I’m unlucky more than I’m lucky. C’mon, people, you’re a national fast food chain. Make a fucking website that works, for Christ’s sake.

Nerd rage aside, I was finally able to struggle through the steaming, fetid bog of Sonic’s site to find the information I needed. First, I wanted to write a statement along the lines of “I never saw a Sonic before I moved to Arizona; apparently, my home turf of Orange County thought itself too good to allow them.” I figured I’d fact check that last part before dozens of angry, well-tanned OC residents left outraged comments. It turns out that while my former comment remains true, there was a Sonic within two miles of the house I spent the first 22 years of my life living in. Apparently, I’m just a clueless, unobservant fuck.

That aside, I’ve now lived within THREE miles of a Sonic for the last six years of my life, and the only thing I’ve ever ordered from there was a SuperSONIC Breakfast Burrito (the only breakfast burrito I’ve ever found that could support itself as a decent food item when you order it without eggs) and a blue Powerade Slush. Both are great for hangovers, by the way. I’m sure the flavor of the slush is not actually “blue”, but really, you all know what I mean. Nobody actually identifies sports drinks by flavor. Yellow, blue, purple, orange. These are your choices.

All this blathering about NOT going to Sonic has a vague purpose, in that I’ve never actually had a Sonic burger. Until NOW. Sonic recently released a limited edition burger called the Ched R Pepper SuperSONIC Cheeseburger. I’d seen the commercial for them a few times and gave it a dismissive wave of the hand, figuring Sonic thinks they’ve reinvented the wheel by adding a little more cheese and maybe some jalapeños to whatever regular goddamn burger they’ve got on the menu. But then I saw the commercial again one day and something caught my eye, so much so that I had to rewind my DVR and pause it at this moment:

Holy shit, they put jalapeño poppers on a burger! More specifically, “Ched R Peppers”, which I didn’t even know were on Sonic’s menu, since they’re not listed on the website. First of all, what a fucking terrible name. Ched R Peppers? Really? Not even gonna, you know, maybe throw an apostrophe in there? Fuck Ched R Peppers. I reserve the right to call them poppers throughout the rest of this review.

Furthermore, on their official YouTube video of the commercial, they call it a “Cheddar Pepper Burger” several times. Even Sonic itself is embarrassed.

I was repulsed and intrigued at the same time. On the one hand, putting random snack food inside a burger is ridiculous. On the other hand, putting random snack food inside a burger is awesome, and I love ridiculous. So, I knew I had to try one.

First of all, the burger is MASSIVE. It’s also probably the messiest burger I’ve ever eaten, due, in part, to the bottom bun falling apart in my hands. Poor bottom bun, it just couldn’t handle the responsibility of two giant patties, AND a ridiculous amount of cheese, AND two Ched R Peppers. It was doomed from the start. Actually, I think the real problem there is that they put all the lettuce, tomatoes, dressing, and everything else underneath the meat and poppers. There’s probably a reason they’re usually on top.

Aw, look! There they are!

Epic battle with sliding toppings and chipotle mayo-covered hands aside, I quite liked the burger. The meat was superior to McDonald’s but probably wouldn’t hold up to In-N-Out’s standards. I’d give it a medium on the scale of rat meat patties to hand-grilled burgers at a barbeque. The cheese, well, the cheese was plentiful. Between the two thick slices on the burger and the cheese inside the poppers, ooey gooey goodness was everywhere. The chipotle mayo added a muted flavor and was pretty abundant, which was nice, except I think I licked more of it off of my hands than I actually ate inside the burger, once again due to the bottom bun rolling a crit fail. Bottom bun is Black Leaf.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with how well the poppers played with the burger. The deep-fried breading on the poppers gave it a nice crunch, sort of like the way onion rings would, except on most burgers I’ve had with rings, the rings are so soggy that they deliver no crunch at all. Maybe that’s why the condiments were all on the bottom of this burger. Keeping the poppers dry preserved that crunch. So, both a good call and a bad call on Sonic’s part. You can’t win them all.

Actually, I just realized that there’s a burger on top already protecting the poppers, so putting the condiments on top wouldn’t have made a difference. It makes no sense. Ched R Peppers.

The jalapeños add their delicious flavor and a little bit of heat, but not as much as if you’d put a bunch of jalapeño slices on the burger. This could be because the fat in the cheese binds to the capsaicin molecules in the pepper, thus reducing their potency. SCIENCE!

Or it could be because Sonic buys milder jalapeños, because all fast food chains think Americans can’t handle actual spicy food. Whatever.

Sonic wins points for the Ched R Pepper SuperSONIC Cheeseburger being insa- uh, creative, but loses points for being poorly constructed, resulting in a burger you should never, ever eat in your car, on your way to an important interview. Then again, if you’re eating a cheeseburger on your way to an interview, you’re probably applying at Sonic Drive-In, so have at. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the poppers played with the burger, and I also liked how plentiful and complimentary the chipotle mayo was. The meat and the abundant cheese were also satisfying. Putting jalapeño poppers on a burger may seem ridiculous, but consider that they’ve been doing it in New Jersey for about 40 years, so maybe it isn’t so crazy, after all. As a matter of fact, I’d like other fast food chains to start stepping up their game and stuffing their burgers full of various kinds of bar food. It’d keep me in business for months!

  • Score: 3.5 out of 5 Fat Kokos (Don’t know what that means?  You’re the jerk who doesn’t click the links!)
  • Price: $4.69
  • Size: 1 burger (418 grams)
  • Purchased at: Sonic #3517
  • Nutritional Quirks: 1,899 milligrams of sodium.  Suck it, Double Down!