Review: Chicken Select Tenders from McDonald’s
In recent months, McDonald’s has made some significant cuts to its menu offerings. A lot of options can be a good or bad thing at a fast food restaurant. One product that has been on a hiatus for the last couple of years is now back and updated… call it version 2.0… here’s a review of Chicken Select Tenders from McDonald’s.
McDonald’s describes their updated Chicken Select Tenders like this:
Our juicy Chicken Select Tenders are made of 100% chicken tenderloin and are seasoned to perfection. Try them with your choice of flavorful dipping sauces.
Even though these chicken tenders are targeted to adults and Chicken McNuggets are aimed at the younger generation, I’m a child in a mans body when it comes to my McDonald’s chicken choices. Call it being loyal to my nostalgia… it’s hard to pass up McNuggets. Comparing Chicken Select Tenders to the version from years ago is a challenge because I can only vaguely remember getting them a couple of times.
It’s a bit of a relief to feel like I don’t need to compare these Chicken Select Tenders to the old version and just come in with a fresh perspective. That thought is OK in theory, but then having this “new and improved” product almost instantly brought back my memory of the previous version. I can’t easily describe how the new compares to the old… all I can say is the change is subtle enough that you likely wouldn’t even realize the change if you didn’t already know about it.
The 3-piece box of Chicken Tenders Selects cost me $2.99. Two of the tenders were roughly the same shape and size, while the third was a bit heftier. It’s difficult to tell the true size of the actual chicken tenderloin because the amount of breading plays a significant factor. Although overly breaded and crusty, I wouldn’t go as far to say Chicken Tenders Selects are too dry and the same can be said about the juiciness of the meat. Moisture in these tenders is somewhere around the middle, teetering on dry just because of how much the chicken relies on that crunchy breading. The description on the box reads “Lightly breaded with a unique blend of down-home spices” and to me that translates to “salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder”… you know, the usual suspects. This clearly isn’t lightly breaded no matter what the box says. While the chicken itself has been upgraded to the more premium tenderloin cut, the breading doesn’t seem to have been changed.
I usually like to judge this kind of chicken by trying to determine how well it can stand alone without the need for dipping sauces. Chicken Tenders Selects weren’t good enough to enjoy without dipping sauces in my opinion. To be on the safe side I paid a little extra to get six dipping sauces: Sweet ‘n Sour, Tangy Barbeque, Hot Mustard (yes it still exists), Honey Mustard, Creamy Ranch, and Spicy Buffalo. I felt the Hot Mustard and Honey Mustard sauces went best with these tenders with an honorable mention going to the double-dip of Spicy Buffalo into Creamy Ranch. The Sweet ‘n Sour sauce is my go-to choice for McNuggets so it was hard to enjoy it with a very different chicken product. The Tangy Barbeque sauce isn’t bold enough for my liking and very artificial and overly sweet.
As I mentioned before, the 3-piece box was priced at $2.99. Having a 4-piece box at $2.99 would’ve been an obvious better value, more so just for the quick mental math that goes on with the current setup. When you can effortlessly determine it’s a dollar per tender, you can’t help but compare those individual pieces to items on the Dollar Menu & More.
I can’t see myself going for a repeat purchase with Chicken Select Tenders. McDonald’s is aiming for a more premium product and I can respect the attempt at improving. The improvement shouldn’t have stopped at the chicken itself. If you’re going for an update to a previously discontinued product, you might as well improve it in all facets. We’ve learned from countless changes to Burger King’s chicken nuggets to know that the product was originally discontinued for good reason and we’d prefer to shed the memory of it.
Pros: I like the idea of making an attempt to improve upon discontinued products. Plenty of dipping sauce choices.
Cons: Breading is too crusty and has an aftertaste reminiscent of old cooking oil. Breaking it down it's a dollar per chicken tender and then I start comparing that to items on the Dollar Menu & More.
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.75/10
Overall GrubGrade: 5.25/10
More Info: http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/product_nutrition.chickenfish.9241.chicken-selects-3-pc.html
3 piece Chicken Select Tenders:
Calories - 370
Total Fat - 22 grams
Saturated Fat - 3 grams
Cholesterol - 70 milligrams
Carbs - 20 grams
Sodium - 680 milligrams
Protein - 23 grams