Review: Red Stick Chicken from Popeyes

The latest offering from Popeyes came about from a collaboration with Tabasco to create a spicy new flavor. New Red Stick Chicken aims to please those looking for some extra heat.  Let’s review.

Red Stick Chicken 1Popeyes new Red Stick Chicken features four tenderloin chicken pieces marinated in Tabasco sauce and cayenne pepper and accompanied by a new Smok’n Pepper Ranch dipping sauce.  Red Stick Chicken comes in a combo box with Cajun fries and a buttermilk biscuit for $3.99.

Red Stick Chicken 2What is a Red Stick?  I wondered the same thing and there was a sign at my local Popeyes with a quick and simple explanation that read, “It’s what TABASCO pepper growers use to tell when the pepper is just perfect, and it’s the secret behind our Red Stick Chicken!”  On the Wikipedia page for Tabasco sauce it says, “Following company tradition, peppers are hand picked, and to ensure ripeness they are compared by pickers to a little red stick (le petit bâton rouge).”   History lesson complete.

Red Stick Chicken 3New Red Stick Chicken uses the tenderloin cut of chicken we were introduced to last July when Popeyes came out with Tear’n Tenderloin Chicken. It’s the most tender piece of white meat, not as dry as a standard white meat cut of chicken. The tenderloin is found under the breast area and it’s a muscle that doesn’t get a lot of activity, therefore more tender.  The four tenderloin strips were roughly 3-4 inches long and had a fair amount of crunchy breading.  The tabasco and cayenne used in the marinade really gave each piece an evenly coated peppery flavor.  This was one of the spicier Popeyes offerings I can remember (I’m sure Ghost Pepper Wings were a lot hotter, just never got those).  There’s some slightly pungent flavor to go along with a little sharp heat that is likely from the added cayenne.  There’s plenty of crunch throughout the chicken pieces without being too dominating over the meaty parts.

Red Stick Chicken 4The new Smok’n Pepper Ranch sauce was made to complement the Red Stick Chicken.  It was decent, but not as pleasing as previous sauce offerings like Cajun Creamy Garlic sauce or Blackened Ranch.  The flavor of the Smok’n Pepper Ranch tasted too much like regular ranch dressing at first with a little smoky tomato aftertaste.  The more I dipped into it, the more I found its flavor to not have enough contrasting qualities to the peppery chicken crust.  It also seemed to be lacking the thickness in the sauces I’ve had in the past.  Still a decent sauce, just not exactly as impressive as some others.  I miss those mini Tabasco bottle that came with Wicked Chicken so I was disappointed they weren’t available with Red Stick Chicken.  You’d think it would be the perfect product to use to bring those back.  I’m just being greedy though (and I’m a hot sauce hoarder) because those mini bottles aren’t necessary here since this chicken is spiced enough as it is.

Red Stick Chicken 5Red Stick Chicken also comes with Cajun fries and a biscuit so in typical Popeyes fashion, it’s an awesome value.  Paying $3.99 for this was such an easy buy.  This new offering is strong, right up there with most Popeyes LTO’s.  It’s got a nice kick of heat and fans of tabasco sauce should be pleased with the results.  Red Stick Chicken is available through April 26th while supplies last.

Pros: Decent amount of peppery heat. Meaty chicken tenderloin cut. Awesome value.

Cons: Smok'n Pepper Ranch dipping sauce wasn't a huge standout like previous dipping sauce offerings.

Taste: 8.25/10
Value: 9.25/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.50/10
Price: $3.99

Overall GrubGrade: 8.25/10

More Info: popeyes.com
Nutrition Facts:
not available

15 comments on “Review: Red Stick Chicken from Popeyes

  1. Richard says:

    (I’m sure Ghost Pepper Wings were a lot hotter, just never got those).

    WRONG…. Those were so weakly flavored and so little chicken for the money it was a total waste.

  2. scram says:

    I definitely agree with this review.

    I usually pick on Popeyes, but today I really enjoyed this combo. The chicken was very flavorful and one of the hottest things I’ve ever had Popeyes. The sauce does complement and goes well with the tenders, but on its own its very forgettable. My only complaint is that the tenders are a lot smaller than their normal tenders.

  3. Snackeroo says:

    The Ghost Pepper Wings weren’t spicy at all so I hope these Red Stick tenders actually have some heat.

  4. Joan says:

    I agree. Ghost Pepper had no ghost pepper, in my book. We had these where I live awhile ago.. But strangely it came w blackened ranch dip. Not this new one. I never tried them, I just know cas my mom got them and got a few extra blackened ranches cas my daughter loves it.

    You should try a review where you get the potatoes sometime. Those are a great potato alternative w much more flavor then say.. KFC. I’d like to know your opinion. They’ve got some great spices, but some people I know find them to be too spice. Mm. Dunk dat biscuit in those taters. Heaven!

  5. bornkiller says:

    That red stick chicken is hot as the Devils spit but very good.

  6. frank says:

    really loved this chicken. i dip in gravy didn’t use the ranch. has a good kick to it.

  7. Waynr says:

    So far, everything that has been labeled “ghost pepper” has only had a ghost of a burn… Glad Popeyes is giving us a true spicy option.

  8. Bob says:

    Had these tonight. My Popeyes let me pick my side, so it was red beans and rice. I dropped the chicken strips on my scale. 4.2 oz. So a bit over a quarter pound of strips that were not overly breaded. They were surpisingly spicy, and damn tasty. I found them a great value, and will revisit again.

  9. David Fell says:

    for what it’s worth, Baton Rouge is French for Red Stick, no doubt the source of the name.

    • Waynr says:

      David, that was my first thought as well when I saw the title, and wondered why they didn’t just call it Baton Rouge chicken, but after reading the explanation and the fact that this is so spicy(for fast food), Red Stick makes more sense, and I don’t think it is a reference to Baton Rouge.

      I had them last night and found them to be pretty good. Ironically, I wanted a wrap, but they said those have been gone for ages, so I went with these instead…

  10. Joe says:

    Not very hot or good… But watch out the next morning it will burn!

  11. De Lewis says:

    Taste like chicken wit try-hard spices….I tasted a small portion of the spice in every piece of chicken in the box and it doesn’t even last long. Not that red either. Looked forward to it but then Disappointment.

  12. MP says:

    Tried it. It’s got some heat that lasts about 10 seconds. Meat was dried out & one of my four pieces was the size of my pinky finger. I get much more chicken with the $3.99 strip box deal.

  13. phillytim says:

    I _really_ loved this Red Stick Chicken – I hope Popeyes will bring it back again sometime!

  14. […] and new Smok’n Pepper Ranch sauce for $4.99.  You might remember Popeyes also using TABASCO in Red Stick Chicken from earlier this […]

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