I tried McDonald's answer to Chick-fil-A next to the real thing -- and the winner is obvious

McDonald's Chicken vs Chick-fil-AHollis JohnsonWhose fried chicken sandwich will emerge as the chicken supreme?

In parts of the country, you can’t mention a chicken sandwich without invoking praise for Chick-fil-A.

Their chicken sandwich has reigned supreme for quite a while, and McDonald’s is taking notice.

The iconic fast food burger chain recently overhauled its chicken sandwich with a new buttermilk recipe that is receiving some positive feedback.

I grew up in New Hampshire, and went to college in Boston — which has famously banned Chick-fil-A — so I’ve never truly tried a Chick-fil-A sandwich.

Luckily, the much — anticipated new location in New York City sent us a sample ahead of the opening October 3, so I decided to put the two chicken sandwich rivals to the ultimate test.

So here they are, safe, sound, and steaming hot in their respective packaging.

Hollis Johnson

McDonald's clearly pushes the descriptions of food a bit more, while Chick-fil-A relies simply on its name to get the idea of tender crispy chicken across.

Hollis Johnson

Let the chicken championship commence!

Hollis Johnson

McDonald's offering has cooled a bit in its cardboard box, while Chick-fil-A's insulated baggie keeps the sandwich steaming hot, even after being delivered to our offices.

Hollis Johnson

Out of the package, McDonald's has an early advantage: the sandwich is much prettier. Bright green lettuce and a substantial tomato slice peek out under a fancy bun, while Chick-fil-A's chicken sits humbly on a bed of tiny pickle slices between an average bun.

Hollis Johnson

Buns off for a closer inspection: Chick-fil-A's sandwich, on the left, is slightly smaller than McDonald's -- and the chicken sure looks different.

Hollis Johnson

Way different. Chick-fil-A's breading looks more natural; McDonald's almost looks as though it's trying too hard to be fried chicken.

Hollis Johnson

Chick-fil-A isn't breaded all that much. It's really just enough to get the idea of fried chicken across, nothing super crispy.

Hollis Johnson

McDonald's, on the other hand, is ultra crispy looking. It is in the name, after all: Buttermilk Crispy Chicken. The breading is darker, more noticeably textured. Also, that piece of lettuce is huge, right?

Hollis Johnson

Bun quality is key here. McDonald's bun looks amazing, but it's easily smushed and tastes slightly sweet. There's definitely a lot of sugar in that. Chick-fil-A's bun is a modest, sturdy, plain-jane bun, nothing more and nothing less.

Hollis Johnson

I've done all the pre-taste inspection that I can; they seem to be equals up to this point, although McDonald's looks much more appetizing.

Hollis Johnson

I take a bite of McDonald's, and I know what to expect. The chicken is adequately good, with decent seasoning and lots of crunch. They managed to do a good job with the chicken recipe revamp...

Hollis Johnson

... but almost always too much mayo. Why, why, why must these sandwiches drown in gallons of mayo? The sweetish bun and the slightly tart buttermilk seasoning are a nice combo, but the overload of mayonnaise is a little gross. But we're not talking gourmet here, we're talking McDonald's, right?

Hollis Johnson

A bite into Chick-fil-A, and suddenly I see the light. This sandwich is completely deserving of the fervent praise it gets. The chicken is thick and juicy -- compare this to the thickness of McDonald's -- and the pickles add a perfectly piquant hint of vinegar. Nothing but bun, chicken, and pickles here, and it's glorious.

Hollis Johnson

In my mind, the winner is clear: Chick-fil-A's simple approach to the chicken sandwich eclipses McDonald's attempts to make theirs look nice. The simple taste and visible quality easily crown Chick-fil-A the champion of this chicken showdown.

Hollis Johnson

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