Here a chick, there a chick, everywhere a chick-chick.
When I entered my local Aldi grocery store last week to pick up a bag of Kirkwood chicken breast fillets, I had no idea how deep the love for Aldi's frozen chicken products goes. Spoiler alert: It's deep.
As I asked questions about "red bag chicken" (RBC) in a Facebook group dedicated to the breaded fillets, the more than 13,000 members were quick to sing the praises of other types of Kirkwood breaded chicken — specifically the different varieties of chicken tenders.
From "green bag chicken," (Parmesan Herb Encrusted Chicken Tenders) to "yellow bag chicken" (Honey Battered Breast Tenders), the foodies of Aldi love their Kirkwood tenders.
Tom Alvarez lives in New Jersey and is a member of the RBC Facebook group. Alvarez says he shopped at Aldi for 15 years before discovering the red Kirkwood bag, but enjoyed the chicken so much that he decided to try other kinds.
"'Red bag chicken' will start you on a long journey," said Alvarez. "The honey battered is really good. I use different Chinese sauces for a homemade meal. People talk about how versatile it is and how simple it is to cook, which makes it a hit. And when kids want fast food, you can tell them, 'We have it at home.'"
For a socially distant neighborhood gathering my husband and I hosted this weekend, I purchased four bags of chicken tenders from Aldi — the aforementioned green and yellow, plus "blue bag chicken" (Crispy Chicken Strips) and "orange bag chicken" (Buffalo-Style Chicken Strips).
We served our guests a gigantic platter of the different strips, along with sauces like barbecue, ranch and ketchup, all purchased from Aldi as well. Had I not been preparing four bags of frozen chicken at once, I'd have cooked the tenders in an air fryer to get them perfectly crispy, but the sheer volume of our chicken endeavor led us to heat them in our conventional oven.
Nevertheless, the tenders had perfectly crispy breading and moist centers.
My favorite was the honey-battered kind that comes in a yellow bag. The batter was light and airy and had a subtle sweetness to it. One of my neighbors commented that it "tasted too much like a fast food chicken nugget" to her, but I'm a simple girl.
Another neighbor enjoyed the cheesy, herb-encrusted (green bag) chicken, describing the batter's texture as "flavorful cornmeal breading."
Another said the Buffalo-style (orange bag) chicken was best, praising it for being well-seasoned without being too spicy, and commenting on how, even though the breading included Buffalo sauce, the tenders remained crisp.
"These would be great for Buffalo chicken sandwiches," they said. I agreed.
Michigan father of three Blair Henze says his favorite types of tenders are the blue and green bags, but the classic RBC is also a top contender.
"All three of those colored bags of chicken are great chopped and added to simple home entrees," said Henze. "Things like salads, nachos, rice pilaf and pasta. They're even great used to spruce up a take-and-bake pizza."
For Molly Homchenko, a Connecticut member of both the Aldi RBC Facebook group and the Aldi Nerd Community Facebook group, it's all about the sauce.
"I like the blue bag for simple snack wraps," said Homchenko. "Just a tiny tortilla, a piece of cheese, a chicken strip or two and some kind of sauce like honey mustard, barbecue, ranch or Sriracha is great for a quick and easy snack. Or, I do a couple and a salad for an easy meal."
The Aldi tenders I tried run between $5 and 6 per bag. An Aldi spokesperson confirmed that the items should be available year-round in stores.
“Kirkwood frozen chicken strips and tenders are another example of our delicious ALDI-exclusive items that are available at unbeatable prices," the spokesperson told TODAY Food. "Our chicken tenders make for quick and easy weeknight dinners and are always sure to please the whole family."
In my case, they sure lived up to expectations, pleasing not only my whole family — but my neighbors, too.