Battle of the Fried Chicken Boxes: Raising Cane’s vs. EARL
We put EARL's new fried chicken box head-to-head against Raising Cane's chicken fingers and fries.
EARL, a sandwich shop known for East Coast subs that are among the best in town recently created a fried chicken box special. With their sandwich reputation on our minds, I knew I had to try it immediately. It dawned on me that I should compare it to a similar offering that people go crazy for–Raising Cane’s chicken fingers. Whose fried chicken box is superior?
EARL’s Chicken Box
Price: $12 to $15
Chicken: two choices, spicy or regular
Fries: waffle fries seasoned with salt
Portion: four pieces of chicken, waffle fries and pickles; it’s enough to share between two people
Sauces: barbecue mayo, remoulade, or EARL’s Sauce
At EARL’s Kaimukī, the line is short, but the employees are busy preparing orders. There are two styles of chicken to choose from: spicy or regular. I decide on the four-piece chicken box with two spicy and two regular chicken tenders so that I could try each flavor. The four-piece chicken box is $15 and the two-piece is $12. Both come with waffle fries, pickles and a choice of barbeque mayo, remoulade, or EARL’s sauce. Pro tip: Add more hot honey to your chicken if you want an extra spicy kick.
The spicy chicken has a spicy honey glaze which adds another dimension of flavor but leaves my fingers covered in sauce. Even after letting it sit, the regular chicken stays extra crispy, and the waffle fries are perfectly seasoned.
SEE ALSO: My 8 Favorite Sandwiches on O‘ahu
Be prepared to wait upwards of 30 minutes, though. The fried chicken box is a new special in high demand. On the bright side, the chicken is fried to order but it’s not too hot to handle. The wait also gives us just enough time to run over to Raising Cane’s to get a box of their chicken.
Multiple locations. Open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m to 8 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., earlhawaii.com/visit, @EARLhawaii
Raising Cane’s Box Combo
Chicken: Regular only
Fries: Lightly salted crinkle-cut fries
Portion: Four pieces of chicken, fries, bread, coleslaw and a fountain drink; it’s enough to share between two people
Sauce: Cane’s Sauce and ketchup
The classic Raising Cane’s Box Combo includes four pieces of chicken, crinkle-cut fries, buttered bread, coleslaw, a drink and the famous Cane’s Sauce. If you do not like the coleslaw, replace it with an extra container of Cane’s Sauce. My roommates love the sauce and always buy an extra cup. Unlike at EARL, our food is ready immediately. It tastes surprisingly fresh. The chicken is crisp; the fries taste like they just came out; the bread is toasty warm, and the sweet iced tea is refreshing.
Multiple locations, raisingcanes.com/our-menu, @raisingcanes
SEE ALSO: First Look: 10 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Raising Cane’s
Overall, EARL’s chicken exceeded our expectations. EARL’s chicken was almost double the size of Cane’s. Usually, the Cane’s Box Combo fills me up with some fries left over, but I could not finish two pieces of EARL’s chicken. EARL’s flavors are fresher, richer and perfectly seasoned. The spicy variant is good if you want something different, but personally, I prefer the regular chicken because I don’t like sticky fingers.
I have not had waffle fries at a fast food chain besides Chick-fil-A. They are my absolute favorite type of fries, so I love that EARL’s sells them. I’m not a saucy person. I like everything plain, so I won’t compare the sauces. But for the main event, EARL’s chicken box takes the win.