The Chicken Nugget Bonanza You Never Asked For

Categories: Chewing the Fat

live chickens.jpg
This is probably what chicken nuggets are made of ... maybe
Until recently, the chicken nugget biz was a two-player game. McDonald's ruled the roost with their all-powerful tempura style, while Wendy's occupied a smaller cult market with a more "breadcrumby" version. Both have their merits and their die-hard loyalists, but now two new competitors have entered the ring: Burger King and Jack in the Box. The former can't seem to ever copycat anything properly, while the latter is adding yet another item to their curiously diverse lineup.

Upon seeing that both the King and the Box were releasing their own nuggets, I sensed something must have been afoot. Chicken nuggets have been around and violently successful for ages, so why hadn't these guys copied this idea already? Did some McDonald's intern forget to renew the nugget patent for another 20 years? Could the world even handle the fast-food fracas that would ensue with two new nuggets entering the market? A rigorous Google search proved fruitless on the patent front, so it was time to hit the streets. Determined to find out if the apocalypse was truly nigh, I ventured out to try them all ... in one day.

mcd_nugget.jpg

McDonald's

Price: $2.80 for six ($0.47 per nugget)

Appearance: Unchanged for decades, you've got the familiar circle, diamond and boot shapes. Once upon a time, McDonald's used dark meat for the boots, and they were fantastic. These days, it's all white meat thanks to Morgan Spurlock's ode to the obvious, Supersize Me. The outer batter is a tempura shell, with tough yet smooth ridges running the length of the nugget.

Taste: Crunchy outside with warm chicken on the inside. The formula's been the same since the dawn of time. For a fast food nugget (huge qualifier), they're above average. Moderately salty, but never overpowering, these nuggets stand pretty admirably on their own, but pair well with a dipping sauce too.

wendys_nugget.jpg

Wendy's

Price: $1.61 for six ($0.27 per nugget)

Appearance: Wendy's has the standard boot and circle, but mixes in a heart shape every now and then, because they care. The outer texture resembles actual breadcrumbs as opposed to a molten batter.

Taste: The best of them all. There's something great about the texture and saltiness of the Wendy's nugget that puts it over the top. Ignore the fact that there's a giant hole running through the one in the photo above, this one's definitely the one to go with. You can dip if you want, but these ones don't beg for it like some of the others.

burger_king_nugget.jpg

Burger King

Price: $3.13 for 10 ($0.31 per nugget)

Appearance: All boot, all the time. Burger King's nugget scientists have engineered this nugget to look exactly like the McDonald's version.

Taste: Burger King's going to have to find a bigger plot of land to stack up their giant heap of failures. While these nuggets do their best impression of McDonald's on the outside, the taste is not even close. A slightly rubbery crust yields to an even more rubbery inside. The taste is nonexistent, which would explain why they offer 10 thousand different sauces in which to dip the vapid ingots. A swim through a tiny tub of Buffalo did precious little to help the subpar nugget from falling completely flat.

jack_in_the_box_nugget.jpg

Jack in the Box

Price: $2.71 for 10 ($0.27 per nugget)

Appearance: Boots and diamonds rule the box in Jack's rendition. The nuggets appear to be a little smaller than all the other competitors, while the breading on the nuggets bears an uncanny resemblance to KFC's Original Recipe in both look and feel.

Taste: Perhaps it was brilliant powers of suggestion, but these nuggets actually tasted somewhat similar to the Colonel's secret flavor profile. More on the chewy side, the nuggets lacked the bite of Wendy's and McDonald's, but for a rookie effort these were pretty decent in addition to being a solid value. Bonus points to Jack in the Box for having a fireplace in the dining room, so if you want to impress that special somebody but not look like you're trying too hard, then you're set.

Four fast food titans, bored with slugging it out in the burger arena, have now migrated to the tiny nugget world. Wendy's, Jack in the Box and McDonald's (in that order top to bottom) stand tall, while Burger King flashes its rather spare attempt with wild ineptitude. I think the lesson we can all take away from this study, however, is that it is very possible to completely overthink the chicken nugget and very unwise to chow down on 32 of them in one day.

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43 comments
kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

Ok people, way too many Facebook posts!  Ya'll go back to hooking up with some skank you knew in 11th grade; or you can always watch Honey Bo Bo-or play angry birds. 


Most Irritating People in the World:

5)Facebook  +ssholes....."everybody in the world just wants to be HEARD!"/  #barf 

4)People who follow reality TV?/ #fat gurls

3)Vegetarians/ # i smell like a semi

2)People who ride bikes in the street/ #tubbyinspnadex

1) Vegetarians whom ride bikes, watch reality tv and post about it on Facebook/ #ihave100cats



Ambelleina Warwillow
Ambelleina Warwillow

How do you know if someone's a vegan? Don't worry, they'll fucking tell you.

Josh Cornett
Josh Cornett

This doesn't even account for the Wendy's spicy chicken nuggets, which are honestly excellent with a quality pilsner. Chick-fil-a? Puh-leeeeezzz. Salt-wads at best.

Being Meg
Being Meg

What did I just read? the Chicken monologues?

CheeryBitch
CheeryBitch

I thought Mickie D's used a chicken paste - a mix of all chicken meat - as their "white meat" nuggets? Anyway, Chick-fil-A's are the best. If they'd just make them spicy.... HELL YES.

Mert Hicks Atak
Mert Hicks Atak

I hate it fast food. They are just wanna make more fat people and more money.

Jimmy Wright
Jimmy Wright

Mc Donalds all the way!! I dont think Chick Fil A classifies as a nugget. They are more of a breaded chicken bite and do not have the same shape and soul of a nugget.

David Indorf
David Indorf

No Chick Fil A? Invalidates the entire experiment.

Della Woods Lindquist
Della Woods Lindquist

Sad, that no one thinks about the lives of the chickens...so much better to be vegan!

Mervis
Mervis

Didn't you bury the lede that there is actually a nugget price war. McDs and Box at 20 for $4.99 and BK at $4.29. No reaction from Wendy's.

MikeD
MikeD

Thanks for writing a fast food post that is not elitist and condescending!

Joshstruckoutagain
Joshstruckoutagain

The only nuggets/tenders we take home for our lil injuns are from Chick Filla...and they good!

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

Best way to get HIGH indigestion is eating any of the mentioned nuggets; to get to full blown "equalizer" state, ingest said nuggets with sugary sauces, and/or greasy, hours old fries. 

Best Way to get stomach Bile Active:

-Dickey's Famous Fat Sandwich

-Sam's Club Pizza

-Anything at Jack in the Box, especially "them" deep fired taco's.

-Anything at Pancho's

-Allsup's after drinking all day at the lake. 

________


"more "breadcrumby" version. Both have their merits and their die-hard loyalists".......I attribute this to kids, and stoners. Wendy's nuggets are inedible!


" but now two new competitors have entered the ring: Burger King and Jack in the Box. The former can't seem to ever copycat anything properly"........it's hard to be creative (and delicious) with a non motivated employee, and a Sysco truck. 

Joshstruckoutagain
Joshstruckoutagain

I love the guy that post 25 effing posts about Barry O, guns and Amurica! every stinking day..Makes my timeline so much fun...oops, I've said too much...got to go drink a Beer..and eat a steak! 

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@Ambelleina Warwillow 


done what?  taste like giant vat of ass?

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@Josh Cornett 


did you have your taste buds removed because of some horrible accident, or malady? 

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@Mert Hicks Atak 


i hate it fasty food also, they so mean.  I excite to follow this!

NotAnon
NotAnon

@Della Woods Lindquist if only the poor birds had guns to defend themselves.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@Della Woods Lindquist 

Sometimes when I get REAL sad and lonely, I think of the terrifying and cumbersome world of the vegan-and,  FEEL BETTER!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@MikeD Bitner is the down to earth one it seems, he like writing about sandwiches, the cowboys and fast food, he is one of us.  Speaking of sandwiches, where is my wife, a fucking PB&J sounds good right about now

justinwbitner
justinwbitner

@Scruffygeist While your first sentence is true, I take exception with your second. I quarter-ass the research, if that.

I did, however, do a little digging before this post. Burger King actually retooled their nugget very recently into the McDonalds clone. That, paired with Jack in the Box's option got my attention. Appreciate the fact checking, but what'd you think of the post?

G_David
G_David

@MikeD I made my own not 30 minutes ago.  I don't trust anybody else to get it right. 

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@ScottsMerkin

Right? where is my wife; she shoulda been done shopping, like an hour ago......and I am hungry also!  A nice PB and J waffle sandie sounds great. 

Joshstruckoutagain
Joshstruckoutagain

Haven't tried Raising Canes..wiifey did because of all the commercials on the Ticket..and agrees with you buddy!

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

@justinwbitner Completely agree that Wendy's are the best, as far as franken-nuggets go. I'm partial to BK's old ones though after a high school employment stint where I could "accidentally" fry up too many just before closing, back in the late 90s.

ChrisYu
ChrisYu

@kergo1spaceship @ChrisYu um, no. i wasn't taking a stand on anything, just having fun. guess it didn't come out that way. as a daily reader i'm very aware Richie is long gone and you guys are still here.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@ChrisYu

But he did suck....he didn't know sports, and he was trying to act like he was 25, when he was 45-AND, he came across as a tool.  So, we don't call out the DO writers where they come across as pompous, or unreal?  The RW nutkicking was NECESSARY, and fun!  If he was awesome, he'd still be here, and not hosting a third rate talk show, on the worst rated sports network in DFW.  Make sure of one thing-I will never give up the fight!  And sure, it made some of us mad, because I am a better writer than RW, and would gladly take 140 G a year to write banal, wandering crap.  Any more questions?

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