Fast Food Review: New! Spicy Chicken Nuggets from Chick-fil-A
I have mixed feelings when it comes to spicy food. On one hand, I’ve been told by quite a few older people that as a young whipper snapper, I should be quite comfortable eating things that push the boundaries of conventional taste. On the other hand, as said young whipper snapper, I realize that I still have enough taste buds to detect flavors that don’t attempt to bludgeon me into submission by awakening those taste buds. Given this conundrum, it stands to reason that I remain mixed in my feelings toward Chick-fil-A’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets.
Chick-fil-A’s Spicy Chicken Nuggets are not currently offered nationwide, but have been in test markets like the Baltimore/Annapolis area since last fall. Given that I was freezing my butt off in a parking lot at a Utah Chick-fil-A last fall, my first encounter with the new Spicy Nuggets was not until recently. The nuggets are your standard Chick-fil-A nuggets – little morsels of lightly breaded boneless and skinless white meat, pressure cooked in 100% peanut oil in all it’s nutty and juicy goodness. Both Ryan and I hold Chick-fil-A’s regular nuggets to high standards (read review), but at $4.76 for a 12-count (my go-to, protein packed power man order), they run a higher price than the regular nuggets ($4.34 for a twelve piece).
They do carry with them a distinct flavor difference though. With a strong taste of black pepper, garlic, onion and cayenne, the nuggets are flavorful and definitely juicy, but they’re not necessarily hot. What do I mean by “not necessarily”? I mean, I was able to make it through a 12-count of these without taking a drink of my Coke Zero, and once more, I even added some Buffalo Sauce. Considering that I’m no Scott Roberts, and you’ve got a recipe for some serious disappointment for hardcore spice fans looking to scorch their throats. The fact that the nuggets fail to even bring the same heat as the Spicy Chicken Sandwich (read review) may own to their smaller size, but I did not find them as hot or enjoyable as the boneless filets of spicy Chick-fil-A items.
Which brings me to my other gripes with the nuggets. As James pointed out in his original GrubGrade review, the nuggets’ biggest strengths are their moisture retention, and slightly sweet and nutty flavor picked up through the pressure cooking process. Yet, as pretty much everyone agrees (including our buddy Rodzilla), the nuggets also get a huge boost from the dipping sauces, of which they will give you an unlimited amount of (unlike McDonald’s). Problem is, the sauces basically render the “spicy” breading of the Spicy Nuggets null and void. The sweet sauces make them, well, sweet, and ketchup makes them taste like, well, ketchup. So my question is why do I want to pay the up-charge for the spicy nuggets if I’m going to dip in sauces when I could just do so for cheaper with the regular nuggets?
There’s another thing, too. The nuggets are disappointingly oily, and do not develop as good of a crust as other, less “wholesome” nuggets. It’s a trade-in I’ll take for their flavor and always juicy bite, but it is a bit frustrating, specially when grubbing on the go. All in all, a good nugget, no doubt, yet I can’t say they’re any better than the original Chick-fil-A nuggets, and don’t find them to be worth the extra price.
Pros: Juicy, tender, meaty. Strong garlic and black pepper flavor, with sweet taste and moist mouthfeel coming from the peanut oil and all-white meat. Some of the healthier nuggets you'll find on the market. Awesome source of protein.
Cons: Doesn't bring the heat. Tastes just like regular nuggets once dipped in sauces. Greasy. Uneven nugget design yields some wimpy nuggets. No crust or crunch.
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.00/10
Price: 8-pack $3.24, 12-pack $4.76
Overall GrubGrade: 8.00 (Very Good)
More Info: ChickfilA.com