And that dipping sauce takes first prize, too.
At Allrecipes, we're always on the hunt for the best of the best. From pasta sauce to air fryers to homemade banana bread, we put in the work with rigorous testing processes to let you know which products, recipes, and menu items are worth your time and money. Lately, we've been zeroing in on the drive-thru, and specifically which fast food restaurants are doling out the best-tasting items in each category; from bacon cheeseburgers to breakfast sandwiches.
We recently shared our favorite chicken nuggets from six popular fast food chains, and it got me thinking about what I believe are the absolute best chicken fingers—not nuggets—in the fast food game. It's important to differentiate the two because these are not little, bite-sized poppable pieces of chicken. These are hearty, juicy-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside strips of chicken. And they could only come from one chain: Raising Cane's.
What Is Raising Cane's?
If you're not familiar with the brand, Raising Cane's is a Louisiana-based chicken chain that focuses on one thing and one thing only: chicken fingers. The founder, Todd Graves, set out to create a restaurant that only served chicken fingers—a business plan that nearly caused him to flunk a college class, as the legend goes. But it worked. Cane's is rapidly expanding, including opening a new New York location I was able to check out last week.
These days the chain serves a few additional items (don't sleep on the Texas toast), but chicken fingers are still the main focus for the chain, and subsequently the only main dish on the menu. Raising Cane's takes a note from another beloved fast food chain, In-n-Out, and follows the do one thing, and do it well philosophy, aka quality over quantity.
And the quality shows in the final product. I had long heard tales of Raising Cane's from my boyfriend, who went to college in Louisiana and was an early and devoted fan of the brand. Needless to say, there was a lot of hype built up around my first taste of Cane's chicken fingers. And they did not disappoint.
Why Raising Cane's' Chicken Fingers Are So Good
According to its website, Raising Cane's follows strict protocols around its chicken fingers to ensure its high standards. Chicken that's fresh, never frozen, is marinated for 24 hours before being hand-battered by "Bird Specialists" and fried to order. That word—batter—is important to note, because the coating is more like a batter, not a breading, and was a lot lighter than I was expecting. It's still nice and crispy, but not as heavy as the standard chicken finger or tender.
The chicken is notably juicy, especially for what appears to be white meat. It was also super flavorful on the inside, not just in the coating—making me think they must be marinating in seasoned buttermilk (or pickle brine perhaps). They may just be the juiciest fried chicken I've ever had from a fast food joint.
However, if you're expecting a crunchy, craggy crust like that on a dredged piece of Southern fried chicken, you won't find it here. Despite hailing from Louisiana, this is a different style of chicken, more akin to a traditional chicken tender than fried chicken at, say, Popeye's. The coating is crispy, with those delectable irregular bits of crispy batter around the edges, but thin enough in spots that you can still see the chicken on the inside. It was unexpected, but not in a bad way at all. The lightness actually made me want to keep eating finger after finger, until they were all gone.
And finally, I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the sauce. Sorry Utah, but this is the best fast food dipping sauce I've ever tried. It's creamy, it's tangy, it's peppery, it's just sweet enough to keep you eating more; Cane's sauce is god-tier. Another writer on our team suspected that it may be a riff on ranch with Old Bay seasoning in it (accounting for the slightly reddish hue). I don't know what it is but I do know that it's worth the trip alone (if the fingers didn't sell you).
With its expansion plans, chances are you'll see a Cane's near you soon. And when you do, I implore you to try the chicken then answer me this question; Are those not the best fast food chicken fingers you've ever had?
Read the original article on All Recipes.