Who will wear the flaky crown?
The biscuit is a simple thing. It's one of the cornerstones of American comfort food, evoking basic ingredients, simpler times, and perhaps an auntie who had a special flair in the kitchen. Such qualities are hard to reproduce on a mass, drive-thru scale. Things like flakiness, crispiness, and moisture are even more difficult to attain at a fast food spot. But should you awake one morning craving a rustic kitchen biscuit and find yourself surrounded only by franchise plastic, here are your options, listed from worst to best.
Burger King Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
He’s not the Biscuit King, that’s for sure. We start out with a thick, solid biscuit that’s so dry they should ship them in bulk to flood zones. Yellow egg and orange cheese add color, if not taste—the only actual taste here comes from the sausage patty, which has a touch of maple flavor(ing) to it. Other than that: bland, bland, bland.
Jack in the Box Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
While asleep, I became hungry and awoke eating my pillow. Or at least that’s the textural experience of the Jack in the Box sausage biscuit—OK, maybe more like two pillows with a duvet and some cheese in between. There’s a generic, rather spongy biscuit with a large disc of sausage and a flop of egg. It’s not entirely tasteless, but it’s close.
McDonald’s Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
The word that springs to mind is… blasé. There is no flavor to this biscuit. Its texture is sturdy and uniform, making it good support for a sandwich, but not worth much on its own. The bacon has the usual uncrisp texture of fast-food bacon but it's not completely wet n’ wimpy; the egg and cheese do at least have different textures, even if their tastes kind of meld together.
Carl’s Jr. Monster Breakfast Biscuit
Oof. This one’s gonna sit in the tummy for a while. A good-sized biscuit is piled with a sausage patty, cheese, egg, bacon and more egg—all the flavors blend together nicely in each bite, although those bites are large. Carl’s Jr. makes much fuss over its home-baked (well, franchise-baked) biscuits and they are pretty good--fluffy and slightly flaky—but nothing that’s going to make your grandma fear for biscuit supremacy or even superiority.
Church’s Chicken Honey Butter Biscuit
Nothing that involves honey, butter, or honey-butter is going to be bad, although the Church’s biscuit is not quite as tasty as one anticipates upon unwrapping. There’s a bit more puff than fluff here, and the shape and texture are curiously uniform. The honey-butter glaze on top, however, adds crunch and sweetness and livens up what is otherwise a sturdy, unremarkable biscuit. What you really want to do here is get some chicken fingers, dunk them is raspberry-chipotle sauce, cut your biscuit in half and hack yourself up a sandwich.
Unlike many of its franchised brethren, the Popeye’s biscuit uses buttermilk, which adds a slightly different, saltier flavor than other standard butter (or "butter”) versions. It also has an enticing mix of textures: slightly crispy on the outside, with a with a soft, spongy inside. Throw on a dab of Popeye’s “sweet heat” sauce for a little wake-up and you’re good to go.
Hardee’s Biscuit & Gravy
As you can guess, this isn’t a grab n’ go, eat-in-the-car breakfast. Take it home, flip on some cartoons and tuck in. The biscuit has the irregular shape and browned, crispy edges of something that wasn’t cooked and shipped en masse, as well as a buttery moistness The gravy comes in a separate container, so you can choose how to assemble your breakfast; it’s got a hint of a peppery bite, even if it is a little light on the sausage bits. It’s a tasty biscuit and a nice change from your typical breakfast sandwich.
Kentucky Fried Chicken Biscuit
Flaky is usually a negative term, but not in the biscuit world, and not to the Colonel. The KFC rendition is often accepted as the best of the fast-food biscuit and their game is tight. They’ve got slightly irregular finish that gives a more homemade feel; they’re golden and flaky on the outside, with an interior that’s moist and crumbly. There’s not a ton of flavor here—this is the veteran background musician of biscuits, there to support the rest of the meal. However, if it’s going solo, pick up a few condiment packets of honey and drizzle it on that sucker.
Chick-fil-A Chicken Biscuit
Sometimes minimalism is the path to beauty. Such is the Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit, which is simply a chunk of fried chicken on a biscuit with no egg or cheese or further adornment. Yet the flavors and textures blend perfectly: The biscuit is fluffy and buttery, the chicken is moist with slightly spicy breading that is somehow a transition between the two. This is also the rare breakfast sandwich that is just as good served cold as hot—and ironically, the only one wrapped in stay-warm foil.