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Dec 4, 2012 04:59 AM

Popeyes v KFC v Mary Browns Fried Chicken Showdown

Hey Hounds

So we had a small group of people over on Saturday and did a taste test of the above 3 fried chicken chains in our area. The results were, to a certain degree, very surprising.

If you've read my post in the Taste Test Thread, don't bother reading any more. I cut and pasted.

Overall impressions. Popeyes was the most crispy and also most salty however salty in a good way seemed to be the consensus. As well, of 7, 2 thought MB's had the best overall taste. ALL thought the KFC was just about terrible. Under seasoned and doughy breading and very oily chicken.

So, with that you can imagine that KFC was a distant third. Very disappointing distant third. Their pieces were also the smallest.

In at a very respectable second was Mary Browns. People thought the breading had great taste and the chicken was tasty and the right amount of greasy.

Popeyes was a unanimous first place winner here. People seemed to cite it as the best balance of greasy, herby, crispy and chicken flavour.

So there you have it folks. Popeyes is the grand champion at my house.


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  1. I just remember several years back on a trip from Vancouver to Banff, we stopped off at a Mary Brown's and the taters with poutines were like edible gold.

    I'm sure the fact that it was cold and we had not eaten for about 8 hours had something to do with it, but I'd still like to think they were tasty on their own.

    1. Like most of the old chains, I remember when KFC was good. Now it's inedible. Why do people still buy it?

      1. KFC: Original Or Extra Crispy? Popeye's: Mild or Spicy? Without this info, your results are meaningless. KFC Original isn't like either version of Popeye's and isn't meant to be, and someone who liked it wouldn't likely care for Popeye's at all, and vice versa. A fairer comparison would be KFC Extra Crispy to Popeye's Mild, unless you lived in a part of the country where KFC featured Extra Spicy Crispy, in which case you'd compare it to the Popeye's Spicy.

        I happen to prefer the Popeye's too, but really.

        Most KFC's make the chicken the same way they did, using the same ingredients and formulas they did when I worked there as a kid 35 years ago, so for anyone who used to like it but doesn't anymore, it's not the chicken that's changed.

        5 Replies
        1. re: acgold7

          We eat KFC, Extra Crispy. We don't find it greasy at all, but the chicken is very juicy. The piece size is fine, but the price seems to go up every year. We don't have a Popeyes and I have never heard of Mary Browns. Our other choice for chain Fried Chicken would be Roy Rogers which has its own loyal following here in NJ.


          1. re: Jerseygirl111

            If you hit a good KFC on a good day the Extra Crispy can be fantastic and not at all greasy. But it can vary. Our nearest Popeye's is about an hour away so while I never miss an opportunity to duck into one when one is near, we more often partake of The Colonel's wares and are usually pretty happy.

          2. re: acgold7

            We got the "Original" version of all places.

            This was a few guys and their wives who got together to watch a football game and eat some food. This was by no means a scientific experiment with controls and score cards or anything remotely official like auditors hanging over our heads.

            Relax. It was just for fun.


            1. re: Davwud

              With some cold beer, I like your kind of fun!

            2. re: acgold7

              Two observations: Freshness and proper preparation helps turn an eating experience at KFC from forgettable to being decent [and proper prep/freshness issue goes for the others as well]. Second, Popeye's Spicy is consistently the best of the three IMHO. It doesn't hurt that I really like the jalepeno gravy on the mashed potatoes either.

            3. Had Popeye's today, The mild. Got a three piece dinner with red beans and rice and a biscuit. Scored a huge juicy breast, small thigh and wing. I was really happy with the crispy skin and moist meat.
              I really like the red beans and rice too. So bored with fries.

              2 Replies
              1. re: givemecarbs

                Try the spicy next time with the jalepeno gravy and mashed potatoes. I agree that the beans and rice are a nice change-up.

                1. re: hawkeyeui93

                  1+ to the spicy chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy and red beans and rice. Oh don't forget, the biscuits and they have great fries and onion rings. Love Popeyes for the chicken and the sides!

              2. I've always been a fan of Popeye's a a guilty fast food pleasure. I also think their red beans and rice is one of the best fast food sides out there. About the only one that really gives them a run for the money as far a chicken is concerned is Churches.

                3 Replies
                1. re: mike0989

                  Second the beans and rice. Also their onion rings which they have to make fresh. They're never left under the heat lamps, so the staff hates having to make them.

                  1. re: mike0989

                    +1 Popeye's unless there is a Royal Farms in the vicinity. I am not a KFC fan whatsoever and never heard of Mary Brown's

                    1. re: mike0989

                      My area Churches have not impressed me over the years. If you are ever traveling the interstate and see a Chester's Chicken sign at a truck stop, it is generally above-average. Just the chicken. The sides are mostly fried items [and the gravy lack real flavor].