Review: Jumbo Popcorn Chicken from Sonic

Pulling into Sonic, I am always disappointed that the car hops no longer roller-skate around with food and drinks precariously balanced, tempting fate while making their way to various vehicles. At least in my area they no longer do so. Just once I wanna see someone face-plant as they miss a curb; fries flying through the air, Route 44 tumbling in an impossible arc, spraying Cherry Limeade over anything within a ten foot radius. But I’m a dreamer, and I digress.  I am normally not a huge fan of Sonic. When I do, I gravitate invariably toward the Super Sonic Breakfast Burrito. The Jumbo Popcorn Chicken, available in snack size or large however, was sufficient to cause my rare deviation from old favorites.

At first I was a little bit disappointed. The large size, at $3.99, did not seem all that large. The chicken not all that “Jumbo”. I had a bad feeling I had just gotten taken. Not to mention the disembodied Sonic voice failed to ask about my preference regarding the ever-present choice of dipping sauces. I assumed there was some default option and I would make do; opting instead to let the flavor of the chicken speak for itself but the sauce never came. It. Never. Came.

The first bite was delicious. Juicy, white meat chicken deep-fried to perfection. The breading was just right, not too heavy and utterly devoid of extra oil/grease. The first several bites were inhaled as my survival instincts kicked in and I decide to hoover the rest of them before my roommate decided she wanted a bite. It quickly became obvious that the pieces on top were easily the largest and freshest.

As I gorged my way to the bottom, the chicken grew (or shrank, rather) to what I can only describe as a somewhat generic taste. The breading to chicken ratio becoming more unbalanced with each bite, and with that ratio the succulent factor dwindled as well. I am going to chalk this up to two separate batches of chicken being served in the same cup, because there was a definite Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde situation going on here. I became annoyed there was no sauce for the bottom half as it was definitely lacking moisture. Having said that, I finished up the chicken with some ketchup and a long draw on my Cherry Limeade.

I rethought my original disappointment in the portion size moments later as my stomach finally registered how much I had actually consumed. I was pleasantly full, even if some of the quality was not all that I had expected. Barring the marked difference between the old and the new I really enjoyed the chicken and would definitely recommend it, Just make sure the Sonic voice asks you about the sauce.

Pros: Tasty chicken, balanced breading, marked absence of grease

Cons: Inconsistent quality/size, still bitter about the sauce

Taste: 7.50/10
Value: 7.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.50/10
Price: $3.99

Overall GrubGrade: 7.50/10

Nutrition Facts:
Jumbo Popcorn Chicken
Calories – 560
Total Fat -290 calories/32 grams
Saturated Fat – 6 grams
Cholesterol – 65 milligrams
Sodium – 1890 milligrams
Carbs – 41 grams
Sugars – 2 grams
Dietary Fiber – 5 grams
Protein – 27 grams

12 comments on “Review: Jumbo Popcorn Chicken from Sonic

  1. Kevin says:

    Smaller things sift to the bottom

  2. Manavee says:

    I must have gotten a whole batch of the bottom half, because all of my chicken seemed to be rewarmed and chewy.

    Also, if they do give you sauce, you’re definitely going to need more than one packet for a large. So be sure to ask for two or three.

  3. Chefprotoss says:

    I wanna say I’m sold, but I don’t see how I could pass up Popeyes when I am craving quck serve chicken awesomeness. Great review though. =)

  4. Matt says:

    How are the dipping sauce options @ sonic?

  5. Scrape says:

    While a great many of the servers at the Sonic that I stop at are on rollerblades, lately, the food has been mediocre, at best. I’ve pretty much just stopped going there. I’m always disapponted with something I order.

    • Robert says:

      Their burgers are usually pretty meh, but some of their unhealthier breakfast items are great.

      “Pulling into Sonic, I am always disappointed that the car hops no longer roller-skate around with food and drinks precariously balanced, tempting fate while making their way to various vehicles.”

      Good lord, what kind of demonic Sonic do you frequent? They still do this at all the Sonics I go to!

      AND YES, THERE ARE MANY.

  6. wenkie says:

    Sounds pretty tasty – but I love sauce. I love sweet and sour, honey, BBQ, honey mustard, my personal recipe South Carolina gold BBQ sauce.

    For $4 I’d want to try a few packets of Sonics sauces to make up my mind.

  7. Pasquinel says:

    I must be in the minority in that I prefer a greater ratio of breading to meat. Heck, if fast food joints just stripped out the meat and offered crunchy deep-fried breading, I’d be a loyal customer for life…

  8. Crysta says:

    We forgot to ask for the dipping sauce when we tried them too. No big deal… we asked the carhop and she went and got some for us.

    Personally I thought this was just okay. I liked their old popcorn chicken better, the one they silently discontinued when they redid their menu last year.

  9. Dustin says:

    Thanks Chef! I have to agree with you on Popeye’s, especially the spicy variety. Unfortunately, they’ve died out in my neck of the woods so I have to settle.
    The sauce was definitely a novice mistake on my part. I didn’t even check the bag until I got home *facepalm* Next time I’ll be sure and obtain the appropriate condiments, with or without the consent of my car hop.
    Kevin, you are correct. However, the smaller bits on bottom were consistently of a size and quality that spoke volumes when compared to the large chunks directly on top. I really think they took the dregs out of an old batch and then covered them up with some larger fresh pieces.

  10. Jenne says:

    of all the “popcorn chicken” options on the chain market, I prefer these over all because you can actually tell its chicken…not dried out pieces of battered salt (I’m talking to YOU, KFC!).