I grew up eating Chicken McNuggets; they were one of the few types of meat I would eat and whenever my mom wanted to get some protein in me, she’d take me to McDonalds. Before Chicken McNuggets were introduced in the eighties, there wasn’t much of a market for boneless chicken, but afterwards, boneless chicken pieces exploded in popularity. McDonald’s created Chicken McNuggets to fill a gap, but what the ended up doing was creating a whole new fast food group.
Say what you want about the evils of McDonalds, but I actually enjoy their food for what it is: fast, convenient and rigourously tested to meet the taste standards of the majority. To me, chicken nuggets taste good and if you believe what McDonald’s tells you, they’re good for you too!
Chicken McNuggets are made with all white meat chicken, but they’re nothing like chicken strips and apparently the reason why is meat glue. The meat glue helps bind together processed chicken so it can be shaped into those iconic McNugget shapes: boot, tombstone, and the oval.
There are quite a few McNugget recipes floating around on the net, but none of them contain meat glue, so I came up with an ad hoc recipe. I mixed up ground chicken with salt, pepper and meat glue then let it set overnight in the fridge. I was hope that the next day the chicken patty would be solid enough to cookie cut out some shapes, but it seemed like the meat glue didn’t do much to the consistency of the meat.
Since I couldn’t cut out shapes, I hand shaped the chicken, then used Thomas Keller’s buttermilk fried chicken recipe to coat. The nuggets were good, but nothing like McNuggets; some how the texture of all white meat McNuggets was different. My nuggets had the distinct feel of ground chicken, whereas McNuggets feel like, well, I can’t describe the texture of McNuggets.
As tasty as these chicken nuggets were, I think I’ll leave nugget making to the professionals!