Review: Southern Fair Chicken Tenders from Popeyes

Popeyes ended 2015 with a bit of a rare dud with their Spice Packed Wings.  Four months have gone by without a new chicken LTO from Popeyes until today.  New Southern Fair Chicken Tenders are now available and they aim to please those looking for the taste of fair food mixed in with traditional Louisiana seasonings.
Southern Fair Chicken Tenders PopeyesNew Southern Fair Chicken Tenders are marinated in authentic Louisiana seasonings before being breaded in sweet cornmeal then fried.  They are paired up with new Wild Honey Mustard dipping sauce and served with Cajun fries and a Buttermilk Biscuit for $4.99.

Popeyes Southern Fair Chicken TendersRight along with Arby’s, Popeyes is consistently good fast food.  New Southern Fair Chicken Tenders continue the solid flow of limited time offerings by making sure three very important things are followed:

  • New marinade or breading… check
  • New dipping sauce flavor… check
  • Priced under the five dollar mark… check

This formula is effective and simple.  Popeyes doesn’t stretch too far trying to invent gimmicky products for cheap attention.  They also don’t seem to follow flavor trends as much as other places do and that usually leaves us with some original flavors that are executed in a familiar way.  Popeyes Southern Fair ChickenIf you remember Chicken Waffle Tenders from the summer of 2013, the texture of new Southern Fair Chicken Tenders will be somewhat familiar.  Its crisp, crunchy coating will leave a crumbly mess, but it’s a satisfying fried chicken crust.  The light sweetness of the cornmeal breading is subtle enough to be effective and not overpowering to the all white meat chicken.  I would think the frying process would be tricky when trying to retain the flavor of the breading and having the texture come out just right.  My tenders had no off-putting oily residue or overcooked areas that can ruin a product like this.  The tenders are impressively meaty and I really felt I got my money’s worth considering my three tenders have about the same amount of meat as a ten piece order of chicken nuggets.  The crusty areas that crumbled off were still picked at and eaten and that’s as good a compliment as you can get.  I enjoyed the Wild Honey Mustard dipping sauce a lot more than I expected to.  It’s got the sweetness of your standard honey mustard with a little spicy finish to it that went well with the chicken, Cajun fries and even the biscuit.  The spicy finish of the Wild Honey Mustard is thanks to a little creole mustard to give the sauce a uniquely Louisiana flavor.  I have the same issue with all my favorite dipping sauces at Popeyes… the container should be bigger.Popeyes Southern Fair Chicken TendersI wouldn’t say I got the flavor of cornmeal breading that would rival a corn dog, but I’m wondering if maybe that’s a good thing.  The cornmeal sweetness was light and balanced enough to work as an effective chicken tender that didn’t reach gimmick territory by going too far.  The Wild Honey Mustard dipping sauce was a tasty standout that paired well with the chicken and it shows once again that Popeyes goes a step beyond ordinary fast food and they continue to do it at a great value.

Pros: Crispy, crunchy breading that complements the meaty chicken tenders. Light cornmeal sweetness. Creole mustard added to honey mustard makes for an exceptional dip. Value.

Cons: Wanted: Bigger dipping sauce container

Taste: 9.25/10
Value: 9.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.75/10
Price: $4.99

Overall GrubGrade: 9.00/10

More Info:
Nutrition Facts:
not available

11 comments on “Review: Southern Fair Chicken Tenders from Popeyes

  1. Jonathan Wayne says:

    I had it just now and it was very good. The breading is basically catfish breading, and the sauce is very good, very similar to Arby’s honey mustard. Most people should be pretty happy with this. I agree, this needs to come with a bigger dipping sauce or they need to give you two with each order.

  2. JF says:

    I think Popeye’s main problem these days with their LTOs is primarily because their standard offerings are so much better than their competitors. Historically they have hit it out of the park with their LTOs. Sure they have had their misses, rare but happens, but because of their consistency, people have such high expectations that when something falls short of awesome it becomes blah.

    That, along with the fact that there are only so many ways you can bread/season chicken and fish that there doesn’t seem to be much room for improvement, which can also be a great thing as it speaks volumes for their general offerings, but maybe they painted them into a corner they can’t get out of. Great problem to have.

    • Johnnyboy says:

      They need to do like LTO with their Po Boy sandwich combo or use something on their regular menu and have it at a better price.

    • rodney says:

      I hate to say it, but Churche’s Chicken has better spicy chicken. I’m not crazy about their regular chicken, but the spicy is better than any other fast food chicken I’ve had, including Popeye’s.

  3. Connie says:

    I tried the southern fair chicken tenders they’re awful with that batter. Haines City Florida 05/02/2016 drive thru didn’t tell me what type I thought the original taste for $4.99 had Dr.Appointment if I could would’ve turned around and give back tenders.

  4. Devin H. says:

    I thought the $3.99 price point was perfect for these LTOs, so I hate that they’re starting to price more of them at $4.99 now. I know it’s just a $1 difference, but it just feels like less of a value, especially when you can get everything included with this along with a drink and a cookie for the same price at KFC. The only thing that would make Popeye’s more worth it is if the new flavor is amazing, but most of the time they just range from okay to good.

  5. phillytim says:

    I tried them for lunch yesterday. While I much prefer a spicy-variant coating, this was pretty decent for a change of pace.

    The cornmeal coating didn’t have much notable flavor; I’m not even sure if there was a noticeable hint of sweetness or not; but the Wild Honey Mustard dipping sauce definitely had a tangy sweetness to it. I’m not much for sweet dipping sauces, but this was not bad, and I found myself dipping more than I thought that I would.

    The $4.99 price, compared to a comparable meal last year at $3.99, didn’t help it go down any less abrasively; but this LTO wasn’t bad, for a change of pace.

  6. Daniel says:

    I tried them tonight. They were decent but no substitute for the waffle tenders. They waffle tenders were out of this world. I don’t understand why Popeyes doesn’t bring back the waffle tenders.

  7. Ash says:

    Bring back the waffle tenders!!!!

  8. lisa says:

    We loved them! We had them fried fresh, they were hot and crispy, the breading was delicious, with a notable sweetness, but not in a bad way. They weren’t so heavily seasoned to be salty like some. The leftovers were warmed in the microwave and the breading flavors stood out. No thick breading adding a ton of extra carbs. Keep ’em coming.

  9. Johnnyboy says:

    Tried these finally today and these are good, filled me up and sauce is great. Tastes more like Honey mustard and it’s not too spicy like brown mustard. The chicken was nice portion too and was worth the $4.99.

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