For the first time in years I have stepped foot into a McDonald’s restaurant, this time with the stated goal of obtaining one Southern Chicken Sandwich (aka the McChick-Fil-A), which is free with the purchase of a drink all day today.

The verdict: It’s a Chick-Fil-A knockoff through and through, right down to the pickles. I’d expect novice diners won’t be able to tell the difference between the two, but the sophisticated chicken sandwich junkie will know the difference.

For starters, the McD’s version is smaller in all ways. It looks like a shrunken Chick-Fil-A in all dimensions except those pickles. Kind of funny, not really a negative, but something to keep in mind. The chicken is prepared differently, I’m guessing it’s simply breaded and fried in the McD’s version vs. pressure-cooked at CFA. The result is a slightly oiler, greasier filet from McD’s… but it is a whole piece of chicken breast. It is NOT McNugget goo turned into a patty. The McDonald’s bun is also softer and doughier. This is probably a matter of personal preference: Some may prefer the softer bun vs. CFA’s chewier bun.

And that’s it.

The McDonald’s creation is a success on the whole. It’s clearly, instantly the best thing on the menu. And while I would never have thought it possible this is an excellent knockoff of the CFA classic. That said, the original Chick-Fil-A is decidedly better. Not by a mile, mind you, but just a little bit better all around. If you consider the CFA as an “A” product, I’d say the McDonald’s creation is a solid B+.

So there you have it. Try it for yourself and you be the judge. The McCFA is free for the rest of the day!

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Christopher Null

Christopher Null is a veteran technology journalist and the owner of Null Media, a custom blogging company.