Monday, April 20, 2009

TBG Eats: Mini Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwiches from Jack in the Box

Current Weight: 168 lbs.

I might've mentioned that I have a marketing degree. And, while I haven't done much with it since graduating in the fall of 1997, I managed to rack up some real-life experience in the industry as a student at San Diego State.

I took a Marketing Research class in which my five-person team measured the short-term and long-term potential of online banking opportunities. In another semester, there was the marketing plan that my group and I developed for a local tea and coffee distributor. I'm most proud of my final project where I led our entire Advertising class in a weeks-long promotion of SDSU's newly-opened Cox Arena. Our two featured events?

Men and women's hoops doubleheader and a taping of WCW Monday Nitro.

So, it goes without saying that I know how to identify great marketing with great brands. Still, I'm not sure I get the point of this new "mini" food craze.

Burger King introduced Burger Shots a few months ago (along with a separate breakfast-time sandwich companion). Jack in the Box, meanwhile, already has Mini Sirloin Burgers:

To me, it seems like a WAY belated attempt to mimic the model of White Castle. At least, it would until one notices that JitB's three-pack of mini-burgers goes for almost $5.00, making it one of the more expensive sandwiches on the menu.

The Mini Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sandwiches are $4.29 for a box of three. These are not to be confused with JitB's (relatively) high-end "Homestyle" line of deep fried chicken-flavored meat products. The chicken here is closer to those frozen breaded chicken patties often found on the value-menu.

Each mini-wich is dipped in Frank's Red Hot sauce and then slathered in ranch dressing. Honestly, it's been a few weeks since I had this and I've already forgotten if there's lettuce, onions or any other ingredients. Wow. The Fast Food Writers Association of America will have my head for this.

I do remember that this was a perfectly inoffensive meal, though. Yes, yes…ranch dressing IS an abomination when brought together with anything "Buffalo". And, I'll concede that the usual Western New York elitists – looking down on us from atop "Mount Eventual Angioplasty" – won't be impressed with the laughable attempt at authenticity that the Frank's brand is supposed to provide here. And, despite the full meal price, these mini-sammiches aren't the least bit filling.

Still, unless we're buying it by the bottle, there aren't many menu items anywhere out here that feature Frank's. And, JitB's ranch dressing (which almost surely comes from a surplus drum) isn't as watered down as most fast food versions. It all makes for an edible melding of flavors, featuring a wee bit of heat tempered by a few tablespoons of cool

Grade: 2.5 (out of 5)


SHough610 said...

I know Joe lives IN Buffalo but I have family in Tonawanda (outside of Buffalo) and always get annoyed by people just putting hot sauce on something and calling it "buffalo". Buffalo sauce, to me, should always be a little sweet as well as hot. See? It's not just Western New Yorkers looking down on you, though I probably will need an angioplasty.

That Bootleg Guy said...

Here in California, it's a non-stop barrage of mocking from transplanted east coasters for our pizza, coffee and bagels; lost Texans clown our barbecue joints and even Mexican nationals beat up on our Mexican restaurants.

Just once, I'd like to travel somewhere, walk up to someone on the street and say, "You call THIS temperate sunshine?! HA!"

SHough610 said...

Come to Philadelphia. My freshman year I had a roommate who, swear to God, opened the window when it was fifty degrees outside (FIFTY!) and said "Spring has sprung!" Fifty degrees? In Virginia that's still coat weather! Seriously, I was still wearing a fleece pullover.

To add to the list, a friend of mine is going to Chapman in Irvine and was bitching about the pizza. I like to say I know a little about a lot and a lot about a little. I know a lot about barbecue and a few other food things (and some other stuff).

SHough610 said...

I never got the bagels. I guess because I never lived in New York. A bagel is a bagel, the only thing different is the size and flavor and they have those everywhere.

That Bootleg Guy said...

Wait, wait, wait...we've gotten this far without ONE mention of cheesesteaks and how Philadelphia is the only city that knows how to make 'em?

SHough610 said...

Hey, you said it, not me. But I'll let you in on a little secret: best cheesesteaks? Not at Pat's or Geno's or even Jim's (a place on South Street). Check out Tony Luke's, D'Alessandro's, or Talk of the Town. I like the latter two because they understand that the meat needs to be seasoned. I'm a heretic though because I prefer mine with American cheese and mayo.

BigShow said...

You'd think with the mini food craze in full effect there'd be an accompanying amount of White Castles popping up as well. But nooooooo. Again, I am denied my sacks of chicken rings in MA. Damn you, Castle!

daedalus said...

haven't tried the food but it's one of the funniest commercial i've seen in awhile.

That Bootleg Guy said...

J loves the commercial, too, Thai. You'd think he'd be opposed to the explotation of midgets since, well, his mother happens to be one...