Who on earth could love McDonalds without a soft spot for those savory McNuggies? Those handheld chicken delights, those dunkable chicken noms? WELL, there are certain facts you may or may not know about these little handheld dunkable goodies. Some things you may want to know… and others you may not.
10. McDonald’s has standardized shapes – 4 to be exact, for those Chicken McNuggets
This is probably the case to most nugget companies (as we are all reminiscing on Burger King’s OG Crown shaped nugs, they literally take the crown for best shaped), but nothing tastes QUITE as good as those boot shaped Chicken McNuggets with a side of sweet and sour sauce. Apparently there are four different shapes? Boot, bell, bone and ball. Who would’ve thunk it. They’re standardized to make sure they cook properly every single time. Just imagine the uproar if a Chicken McNugget was undercooked… Don’t actually think about that, that would be traumatizing. Forget that was even mentioned. These curated shapes were also made intentionally for the perfect dunking of sauces every time; the boot is the best for dunking no questions asked. None. Seriously. Next time you get a box of nuggies, see if they give you at least one of each shape and see what your favorite one is for dipping. It will be the boot. Really. It will be. Pinky swear.
9. They may or may not be using “pink slime” in their nuggets
“When you cook for the masses, it’s different”. This was a quote from Rene Arend, the creator of the McNugget. According to the company, they stopped using ammonia, or “pink slime” in their nuggets. The pink slime was simply finely textured beef which is used quite often in the fast food industry that was rumored to be in their chicken McNuggets pretty recently. That being said, the supply chain manager debunked this rumor before sharing a video of a chicken carcass, removing the parts, grinding up all the meat and skin to turn into a putty texture before getting shaped into your favorite nugs. Does that sound more appetizing to you? Mmm. Maybe. At least it’s not made of beef. If you really wanted beef, I’m sure you’d get the Big Mac. Since they admitted it, they’re not actively trying to hide the way they make their food, but it doesn’t make it any less gross. To make matters even worse, they use a frying oil that contains a small amount of an additive called dimethylpolysiloxane, which keeps the oil from spraying all over. It should also be noted that this ingredient is also used in non-food products, like putty. Apparently it’s perfectly safe? Just don’t eat putty, guys. Either way, thank GOODNESS they don’t sneak beef into your precious white meat nuggets anymore.
8. The invention of the McNugget was grown from the fear of red meat
On the topic of beef being not-so-secretly hidden in the precious McNugget, McDonalds invented it ironically during the 70s when there was an uprising of poor heart conditions, a lot of time leading to death. Lots of nutritionists believed it came from overconsumption of red meat, which became a huge loss of business for the American fast food joint. The culprits that scientists from all over the country were mentioning were cholesterol and saturated fat, and what caused them? Beef. Trying to think of ways to keep their customers, they eventually created the McNugget to minimize red meat and add more poultry in people’s diets. Does that mean the McNuggets are healthy now? Anyways, that would probably explain why there’s so many versions of chicken on their menu including grilled chicken wraps. What could POSSIBLY be healthier than a grilled chicken wrap? It seems like every decade and generation, there’s some new craze about what it keeping you “unhealthy”. (Cough) KETO DIET + carbs are bad (cough). Just eat what food you want to and don’t eat too much of any one thing. So we’re glad that there’s some chicken for those not in the mood for Big Mac’s, but don’t be demonizing one kind of food. There’s room for everything (edible) in your stomach.
7. The Chicken McNugget wasn’t their first McNugget
Imagine your favorite McNugget… But replace the chicken with… onion? They were introduced in the 70’s and are literally pieces of diced onion that were breaded and fried like your favorite McNugget. They didn’t live past the 70’s and became a stepping stone for the McNuggets we know and love today. They were kinda like onion rings… But nuggets. Onion ring nuggets. That has a bit of a ring to it, don’t cha think? It was McDonald’s first attempt at combatting the red meat fear that started in the 60s and let’s just say it wasn’t a hit. They sound pretty delicious with one of their dipping sauces though! Unfortunately, the only way to get onions at McDonalds is in some of their sandwiches and maybe some of their salads. But who goes to McDonalds to eat onions anyways? Not judging… But a little curious if they’ll ever bring back the nostalgic Onion Nuggets and if there is even a following or people who still like them. Let’s just all write a polite letter and see if they’ll bring them back for round 2! Or see if they’ll make onion rings…
6. The inventor of the Chicken McNugget cooked for the Queen
Does this mean McDonald’s is certified bougie now? Rene Arend was a Luxembourg raised chef who created the Chicken McNugget idea. When Americans were avoiding McDonald’s during the cholesterol-red-meat scare, the fast food chain wanted to hire the very best, and who better than a royal chef? He had a history of cooking for the Queen Elizabeth II and the King of Belgium. He was also the one who thought of the failed chicken pot pie as well as the fried chicken that already flooded the fast food market. Arend was then able to create the McNugget that we know and love today after the failed Onion Nugget that didn’t get as much love from McDonald’s loyalists. Without Rene Arend, McDonald’s would have probably never reached its level of success that it holds today. Mr. Arend definitely deserves some sort of award for blessing the world with McNuggets. Let’s call it… The chicken cup. The gobble globe. Something with dignity. And chickens. Either way, Rene Arend was the mastermind behind our preferred processed fast food nugget and how he went from cooking for the Queen of England to cooking for McDonalds is a question only written in the stars that we may never get an answer to.
5. A single McNugget is made with over 40 ingredients
Now before you freak out by that number, keep in mind a lot of these ingredients are living in your pantry too. This includes spices and flour. Were you expecting a list of all of them? Who knows what’s included in those chicken flavored delights… But here’s a few for starters. To give you somewhat of an answer, MSG is used in the McNuggets to make you believe there’s more protein in the nuggets than there really is. It makes you wonder how much chicken is actually used in the nuggets… Tying into the chicken, it should be noted that there is more grinded bone, connective tissue, nerve tissue and fat are all used significantly more than any actual chicken meat. So what do they mean when they say “all white chicken meat”? They mean that + all that other stuff that doesn’t sound good on commercials. So even though there’s no telling what 30 other ingredients are included, we know that there are spices, flour, chicken, MSG and dimethylpolysiloxane… Oh and Tertiary Butylhydroquinone which is a really long way of saying a petroleum based additive. McDonalds uses this one to make sure that the chicken nuggets stay in those gorgeous shapes mentioned above and don’t fall apart before being served. Although McDonalds stated in 2016 that they stopped using preservatives in their chicken, it could still be in their sauces… Who goes to McDonalds to be healthy anyways?
4. Relating to the last point, the ingredients vary from country to country
Going back to one of the last pointers, the UK refuses to use the silicone based dimethylpolysiloxane in their McNuggets. On top of putty, this ingredient is found in contact lenses, breast implants, shampoo and heat resistant tiles. That would explain why they don’t serve it, but how it’s still allowed to be used in the United States of America is one big question mark. At the same time, would it really be just as delicious without it? Who knows. Not sure what is in every McNugget in every country, but next time you travel- see if they have the McNugget and be sure to taste to see if it has a different flavor. Hopefully they’ll have more chicken… Because you know, it’s a chicken nugget and all. And not an MSG nugget. Or a connective tissue nugget. “shudders” Gross. But still delicious somehow… Somehow.
3. It was not McDonald’s first chicken dish
Although the vast majority of McDonalds loyalists may think of the McNugget as the king of McDonalds chicken dishes, the golden arches had tried other dishes including pot pie and fried chicken that was invented by Renee Arend who was mentioned earlier. “Oh I’m craving McDonald’s Fried Chicken” – said no one EVER. Needless to say, they were unsuccessful with their former chicken contenders after being blown out of the water by KFC and Popeyes. Even though it didn’t work back then, McDonald’s is definitely trying to become more of a winner winner for their chicken dinner. With Chick-fil-a being a popular fave, McDonalds wants to take back those former loyal customers while improving the quality of their chicken. To become a better quality chicken contender, McDonalds is trying to shift to antibiotic-free chicken and almost replicate Chick-fil-a’s crispy tenders that have been a big hit in the American market. If McDonalds does try to compete directly with Chick-fil-a and offers lower prices for the same quality chicken, it might win chicken lovers all over the USA.
2. Their McRib was used as a distraction to lack of Chicken McNuggets
After Arden invented the McNugget back in 1979, the demand kept getting higher and the franchises couldn’t keep up. They were literally running out of Chicken McNuggets. They decided that instead of complaining that they ran out or were running low, they chose to create a completely new dish to distract customers from their lack of McNuggets. It was a little ironic because they used a pork dish, the McRib, to distract customers from chicken… That was made to avoid customers from eating red meat… But pork is red meat? Who else is confused? Anyways, it worked for a little while. The McRib was a barbeque flavored pork sandwich that was inspired by the pulled pork that French chef Arden tried during his trip to South Carolina. It was invented in 1981 and unfortunately was discontinued due to its lack of popularity by 1985. Maybe because customers were afraid pork was gonna give them high cholesterol and they would die of heart disease? Maybe? Just a thought. That being said, this McRib was also made with roughly 70 ingredients so it’s no wonder that they stopped making it! Don’t ask about what they are. Just, don’t. That’s obviously not the reason, it just didn’t have the same popularity as the McNugget… You know, because it was red meat and all. Despite losing popularity, by 1994 the McRib has somehow developed a bit of a cult following which would explain why McDonalds occasionally decides to relaunch the sandwich. It may not be chicken nuggets, but customers still remember it lovingly. If your local McDonalds has the McRib, try it out and see if you love it as much as the McNuggets.
1. McDonalds sells more chicken products than beef
Anyone else think of the Big Mac when they think of McDonalds? Well surprisingly enough, McDonalds sells more chicken nuggets, wraps, and McChickens than they do beef products. Considering the chicken is also in a number of its salads and the majority of the beef is in their sandwiches, it would make sense if you really thought the different ways you can eat chicken at McDs. On top of that, with McNuggets being served in up to 20 packs there’s no question as to how they’re able to sell so much chicken. There is just something about that artificial flavor of the McNugget and other fried chicken at McDonalds that just DRAWS YOU and there’s nothing that tastes like that iconic, flaky breading. It’s so light and airy you almost forget how much fat and salt is in every bite (thanks, MSG)! It definitely takes us back to our nostalgia days. Other than drunk people at 1am after hitting the bars, have you ever heard anyone craving the Big Mac or another hamburger? Or mostly just those delicious dunkable chicken delights? There’s zero bias here, promise. Okay, maybe a little. There’s no question that drunk people will continue to visit their local McDs in the early hours in the morning and you bet your behind that at least one person will at least think about the Chicken McNuggets. But really. The golden arches are mostly known as this American burger fast food joint, yet the majority of its profits come from chicken. That’s like going to bath and body works, a place originally known for skincare selling a load of candles (we all know those three wick candles are to die for). At the end of the day, people are still going back to try these chicken nuggies no matter what chemicals or other questionable ingredients may be inside. Ignorance may be bliss, but they still manage to taste pretty damn good every time they’re ordered. I guess the real question for you is will you continue to eat them, and if so, what’s your dipping sauce of choice? And will you still be eating them after reading this?