Food Fight: T.G.I. Friday’s, Part 3

Posted in Food Fight on January 25th, 2010 by bl1y

Here it is,the third and final installment T.G.I. Friday’s frozen food reviews.  [Read the first and second entries.]  This time we’re taking a look at three different chicken products, Honey BBQ Chicken Wings, Buffalo Chicken Wings, and Buffalo Popcorn Chicken.  Again, all the products are roughly the same size by weight, so the stats are for an entire small box, not per serving.  The popcorn chicken comes with a side of buffalo sauce (in addition to the buffalo seasoning already on the chicken); so the popcorn chicken will be listed both with and without the sauce.

Round One: Bad Nutrition

Calories

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 400

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 360

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 480 / 690

Fat

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 22g

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 22g

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 21g / 25g

Carbs

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 20g

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 8g

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 45g / 90g

Sodium

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 1100mg

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 2060mg

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 2010mg / 4090mg

Round Two: Good Nutrition

Protein

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 28g

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 30g

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 27g / 27g

Calcium

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 8%

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 4%

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 0% / 0%

Vitamin A

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 4%

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 16%

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 12% / 24%

Iron

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: 8%

Buffalo Chicken Wings: 8%

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: 6%

Round Three: Cost

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: $2.98

Buffalo Chicken Wings: $2.98

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: $2.98

Round Four: Convenience

Honey BBQ and Buffalo Chicken Wings: The wings had the same cooking instructions.  They could be, theoretically, microwaved, and while I am favoring convenience in products, wings are just something that really need to be baked.  They bake at 450F for 9 minutes, need to be flipped, and then baked for another 8 minutes.

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: These also had both baking and microwave instructions, but I went with the microwave on this one, at a quick 2:30.  Trouble with these is the extra sauce packet, which cannot be microwaved.  You thaw it by setting it in a pot of hot water for about 8 minutes.

Round Five: The Main Event – How Was It

Honey BBQ Chicken Wings: Bad choice in sauce.  Barbeque is sweet enough as it is, no need for anything to ever be honey barbeque.  It wasn’t gross, just too sweet to be good.  The texture of the meat was fine, but baking it did not produce anything resembling a crispy skin.  The wings are too drenched in sauce to crisp up at all, but pretty much what you find in all second rate wings.  B-

Buffalo Chicken Wings: This sauce was actually pretty decent.  If you’re looking for something really spicy, this won’t be it, but I think that’s a good thing.  Too many wings go for heat over taste.  Buffalo describes a specific type of mild-medium hot sauce, and they produced that flavor pretty well.  And, despite not being as drenched in sauce as the barbeque wings, the skin on these still didn’t crisp up in the oven.  You’d be much better off buying the wings cooked by your local grocery store.  B

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken: The processing, freezing, and microwaving really took a toll on the texture of the nuggets.  These probably would have benefited from baking (where as the wings would have been the same out of the microwave).  Otherwise though, they were pretty decent.  They got the same good buffalo flavor as the wings, and weren’t too hot.  As for the extra sauce…completely unnecessary.  It tastes exactly the same as the chicken.  B+

Results

Since the Buffalo Popcorn Chicken was ultimately eaten without the extra sauce, those numbers will not be considered in the results, except to say right now that 4090mg of sodium is INSANE.

Bad Nutrition

Worst Bad Nutrition: Mozzarella Sticks, not even close.  770 calories, 35g of fat, 63g carbs, and 1330mg sodium to boot.  I feel sick just thinking about it.

Best Bad Nutrition: Potato Skins?  None of these was remotely good for you, but the Potato Skins seem like they’ll kill you the slowest.

Good Nutrition

Worst Good Nutrition: Potato Skins?  Again, a tough thing to judge.  This one just ranks so much lower than everything else for protein that it’s the only thing to stand out.

Best Good Nutrition: Mozzarella Sticks just barely beats out Chicken Quesadillas.  Everything competing was high protein, but these two also packed in a lot of calcium.

Cost

Those of you who’ve been keeping up will have spotted this already: a 7 way tie!  Everyone one of these products came in at just $2.98 (which is why I was willing to buy so many).

Convenience

Least Convenient: Both of the Wings and the Mozzarella Sticks are pretty inconvenient.  All three bake, which slows the process down.  The Wings require being flipped halfway through, and the Mozzarella Sticks have a whole sauce thawing process.  Mozzarella Sticks are the least convenient, by a field goal.

Most Convenient: The two Quesadillas will split this victory with the Popcorn Chicken.  Sure, the Popcorn Chicken has a packet of sauce to thaw, but you’re better served throwing it away, making all three of these products about equally convenient.  (I still suggest baking the chicken.)

How Was It?

It Was the Worst: Mozzarella Sticks, without a doubt, hands down, one of the worst things I’ve ever eaten, and I’ve had horse.

It Was the Best: This isn’t much of a victory, since nothing stood out as great, but the Popcorn Chicken wins this one.

Final Verdict

What the hell, let’s give it to the Potato Skins.  If I went back and looked at all the data carefully, I might reach another result, but right now the Potato Skins are simply the only thing I could imagine buying again, and that basically makes it the white guy boxing against the black guy.  If you’re black, anything other than a knockout in the ring results in a loss.  Sorry, but there you have it, I’m a food racist.

Tags: , , , , , , ,