Tag Archives: wings

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.

KFC Fiery Grilled Wings

KFC Fiery Grilled Wings BucketI’ve been burned before, if you’ll excuse the pun, by fast food chains’ claims of spiciness and heat in new menu items they introduce. Burger King’s Angry Whopper and Taco Bell’s Volcano Menu come specifically to mind, with their commercials of people sweating and steam coming out of their ears and, well, volcanoes, and yet, the heat just isn’t there. So you can understand my wariness when I learned of KFC’s new Fiery Grilled Wings. I decided to try them anyways, though, since I already like their grilled chicken, so at the very least I’d be eating grilled chicken wings, and I can think of a lot worse things to be eating.

For those of you who only eat organic produce and don’t have a television, KFC introduced their grilled chicken in April of 2009, making a big to-do with their “UNFry Day”, launching their UNTHINK ad campaign and touting the new product as a healthier option than their traditional fried chicken products. I didn’t have this website back then, but I did try their grilled chicken, and found it to be delicious. In fact, in the handful of times I’ve been to KFC since they launched their grilled chicken, I haven’t once gone the way of the fried.

KFC went with “fiery” instead of “spicy” for their new grilled wings, which, of course, opens the door to a whole wave of ridiculousness in their commercials.

KFC Fiery Grilled Wings Firebreather

Caution: KFC Fiery Grilled Wings are to beat eaten outside, and only by a trained professional.

KFC Fiery Grilled Wings Tiger

I guess here you are the tiger, and you are jumping through hoops to get to KFC’s new Fiery Grilled Wings.

KFC Fiery Grilled Wings

The wings have similarities and differences to both traditional buffalo wings and to their un-fiery big brothers. Instead of getting your fingers covered in buffalo sauce, you will get them covered in grease. They have a crispy skin like KFC’s other grilled chicken, but the pieces I got seem to lack the somewhat disturbingly fake-looking grill marks that the bigger chicken pieces have. Most of the reason I love KFC’s grilled chicken so much is that, first of all, it seems to be juicier than their fried chicken, and second, it has a great spice blend on the skin that reminds me of their Rotisserie Gold chicken that disappeared in the mid-1990’s, much to my anger and despair. Even in high school, I was already writing angry letters in my head to fast food chains.  With these wings, they’re about as juicy as any other chicken wing you’ll find, and the grilled chicken spices seem to be masked by the “fiery” spice.

KFC Fiery Grilled Wings Spice

The spice, I have to say, does not disappoint. It tastes nothing like the heat of buffalo sauce, instead delivering a straight-up capsaicin heat that comes from the little pepper bits on the surface of the wing. After a couple of wings, my lips were actually burning, but the heat didn’t hit my mouth enough to necessitate a glass of milk or perhaps a dip of ranch dressing, a traditional accoutrement to buffalo wings that did not accompany my Fiery Grilled Wings. They were fiery, but not so aggressive as to put off the average American’s pussy-whipped taste buds.

With a crispy skin and a bit of bite, KFC’s Fiery Grilled Wings are a tasty alternative to traditional buffalo wings. I, however, will probably never purchase them again. I have a beef (again, pardon the pun) with chicken wings. I used to enjoy them, until one day, one of my pretentious foodie friends got on his soapbox about them, declaring them bullshit on the grounds that they are basically the worst part of the chicken, and positing a conspiracy amongst chicken producers to spin chicken parts with very little meat into a very profitable party snack.

I usually ignore his ranting, but it made me think, and after a while, I decided that I agreed with him. Chicken wings are difficult to eat, yielding very little meat, which you really have to work for as you navigate around a heavy concentration of bones, tendons, and other icky bits. So, while I like the kick of Fiery Grilled Wings, I’d rather stick with KFC’s grilled chicken drumsticks, thighs, breasts, and the like. KFC’s Fiery Grilled Wings come in a sad biscuit box of five pieces (at least, that’s what my order came in), or considerably cooler-looking buckets of 20 or 30 pieces. If you’re the type who likes to sit down with some friends and some wings to watch a football game, there’s nothing wrong with giving these a try. Don’t let my opinion on chicken wings in general stop you. I’ll just secretly judge you as an uneducated goon who likes sub-par chicken and watching grown men in spandex pile on top of each other. I’m just saying.

  • Score: 3.5 out of 5 fire-breathing tigers
  • Price: $3.99
  • Size: 5 wings
  • Purchased at: KFC #Y303048
  • Nutritional Quirks: Contains beef powder, dehydrated carrot, and, most tastily, calcium silicate.

The Impulsive Buy has also written a review of KFC Fiery Chicken Wings.  Check out his opinion, too!