Review: Spiced Packed Wings from Popeyes
It’s been a busy year for Popeyes. The revolving door of LTO’s has been spinning and as soon as I try a new product, the next one is just around the corner. Popeyes is keeping the menu from growing stagnant with its consistent flow of new offerings at a normally very strong value. The latest is new Spice Packed Wings and it caps 2015 for Popeyes and it marks the 70th (and last) review of the year for GrubGrade.
With a half-dozen or so new products released by Popeyes this year, new Spice Packed Wings continues the strategy of coming under the five dollar mark and offering a new flavor and dipping sauce.
What really stood out to me was how heavily breaded Spice Packed Wings are. I loved it… extra crispy lovers should be pleased with these wingettes and drummettes. I found them to still be meaty enough to be satisfying beyond the illusion of extra bulk that is mostly spicy chicken crust. The process of marinade/hand-batter/fry hasn’t changed with Spice Packed Wings so the Popeyes flavor is still obvious. The spicy chicken crust is made possible from a dry blend of spices and peppers from six countries that is applied after the frying process. It’s salty with a mix of smoke and lingering peppery heat. There’s no wet wing sauce mess, but the crispy crumbles of breading will likely fall everywhere. The new Spicy Pepper Ranch dipping sauce was fine, but spice on spice doesn’t do much for me. This dipping sauce would go great with a more neutral chicken breading that isn’t already seasoned (or Spice Packed). There’s a definite flavor overload and I’d much prefer some contrast in the sauce instead of getting more of the same. It’s rare that much of any Popeyes dipping sauce remains after I’m through with my meal and this time more than half of it was left. Another gripe with the sauce was that it’s sized just like all the rest… made for a chicken nugget or strip of chicken, not a bone-in chicken wing. For a case like this it’s easier to just pour on some sauce and it kind of defeated the purpose. With that said though, Spice Packed Wings are full of flavor and heat stand well alone without any sauce assistance. Some chicken products can’t seem make an impact without an accompanying sauce and Popeyes doesn’t have a problem with that. A lot of times I just see their dipping sauces as a nice, added bonus.
Where Spice Packed Wings falls a little short is on the value side of things since it’s just six Spice Packed Wings for $3.99. Normally there’s a side and a biscuit to make it a well-rounded meal. So it’s roughly $0.67 per piece and there’s obviously weight in chicken bones.
There’s no bed of Cajun fries to fall back on and assist the entree and finish up the dipping sauce. Popeyes has spoiled me so much that when I don’t get the standard side and biscuits, I feel the experience is incomplete. With a lack of a standout dipping sauce to better complement the flavor of Spice Packed Wings and the fact that it’s less food than we’re used to from Popeyes, this LTO comes up a bit short.
Pros: Extra crispy chicken crust. Enough flavor to stand alone without sauce.
Cons: No side and biscuit so the value takes a hit. Dipping sauce container is too small to dip chicken wings into. Spicy Pepper Ranch dipping sauce would be put to better use on a more neutral-flavored chicken or shrimp product.
Grubbing on-the-go: 4.25/10
Overall GrubGrade: 5.75/10
More Info: www.popeyes.com