Was it a coincidence that I finally tried Megan Thee Stallion’s Hottie Sauce at Popeyes on one of the coldest days of the year in Chicago so far? I wish I could say that it was because I waited until her new album, Something For Thee Hotties, was released, but I’m not that cool. The truth is staff writer Angela Pagán and myself went on a search for the stuff last week only to be disappointed by our local Popeyes locations in the Chicago neighborhoods of Bridgeport and Logan Square respectively. While that’s usually a sign that the sauce would be very popular, I was a bit skeptical.
The Popeyes crowd is not known to sit back quietly when a beloved item is taken from them, and I hadn’t heard any rumblings of outrage on social media or elsewhere about this elusive sauce. Maybe they were replenished the next day, or maybe the drive thru employees weren’t yet briefed on the latest phenomenon. But maybe, just maybe, it meant the sauce was… bad. I knew I needed to see for myself, and as the temperatures dropped, I became even more determined to chase the high of Hot Girl Summer any way I could.
I finally found the sauce at a Popeyes location in downtown Chicago, and ordered the Hottie Sauce chicken sandwich and an eight-piece chicken nugget meal with the sauce on the side, plus an order of coleslaw in case I needed to really cool things down.
Before we even get into taste, it’s important to point out that the look of the sauce and the specialty sandwich wrapping is cuuuuuute. Before even biting in, I was browsing the Popeyes X Megan Thee Stallion merch drop that debuted with the hot sauce. Next time you see me, I may or may not be rocking the neon drip cropped tee. At this point, it doesn’t even matter if the sauce is just a badly flavored cash grab; Popeyes has got my number and my money. They know what they’re doing.
It’s hard to mess up this universally beloved chicken sandwich. You could slather it in Malört-flavored mayonnaise (hypothetically, don’t get any ideas!) and that juicy chicken and crisp pickle could still save it all. So the question here is less “is the sandwich still good?” and more “does the sauce make the sandwich better?”
The sauce, made from Aleppo pepper, honey, and cider vinegar, certainly kicks it up a notch, starting out sweet with a lingering spicy finish that isn’t too overpowering. The honey-like thickness of the sauce perfectly coats the light and crispy chicken breading, dripping through the valleys of fried batter to make sure every bite has a kick. An extra sauce packet comes with your order just in case, but you probably won’t need it—my sandwich was perfectly doused.
When dunking nuggets, the sweetness comes through more strongly. While it still has a nice flavor that gets a little tangier when on its own, I was missing the acidity of the pickle to break through some of that thick, sticky honey flavor. The heat sneaks up on you even more so here. The first bite of sauce-slathered nugget was barely spicy at all, but by nugget three it really kicked in—while still not being too overwhelming for those with a lower tolerance for heat.
Will Hottie Sauce enter my own dipping sauce hall of fame? Probably not. While it’s enjoyable once in a while, I personally still prefer a plain old hot sauce over something this sticky and sweet. But when it comes to a sandwich sauce, ooo baby, sign me up! I’d love to see Popeyes continue to elevate their undeniable classic, experiment with new condiments, and keep Megan Thee Stallion along for the ride.