Peer pressure is a bitch. When I was fourteen, I had my most memorable bout with peer pressure when my friends and I took turns jumping off a bridge. You heard me right. You know that old-as-dirt, parental warning “If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?”
Well, that bridge is real, dear reader.
And it was quite clear to me at the time that the answer was YES. There was a creek that ran through the town where I grew up, and at certain points throughout there were little footbridges. One particular bridge was about seven feet off the ground, and one day, my pals decided they would try to jump off and land on the level surface just on the edge of the creek. I was hesitant to do it since the ground was pretty muddy, and I was more than a little scared to sully my brand new jeans and awesome TLC CrazySexyCool t-shirt. You can probably see where this is going. I took a flying leap off the edge.
Long story short, the lovely ladies of TLC were soon covered in a slick of grime, dead leaves and any number of biological specimens dredged up from the creek bed. I should’ve heeded T-Boz’s warning to stick to the rivers and the lakes I was used to instead of careening like a howler monkey into certain doom. Now, I would have to go home covered in dreck and confess my bad deeds, so I was up shit creek. Literally. But like I said… peer pressure is a bitch. It can make you do things you really don’t need to do… and most importantly, probably shouldn’t do.
It is now evident that McDonald’s has also fallen victim to the sway of their fast food peers by introducing Chicken McBites. What KFC, Chick-Fil-A, Popeye’s, Sonic, and even Arby’s have already accomplished years ago, McDonald’s now feels it must also do in order to prove it isn’t… (waaaaait for it) Chicken. We all know that McDonald’s is no stranger to fried poultry, and that they are certainly capable of producing their own version of popcorn chicken. It just feels a bit like overkill when you already have McNuggets and Chicken Selects Premium Breast Strips. Why would customers want smaller pieces of chicken with less meat in them? It doesn’t make any sense. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The presentation of the Chicken McBites is on point. Chicken McBites arrive hot and fresh in a very cute and well-designed paperboard container with a built-in sauce cup holder that folds back from the lid. The sauce cup holder is very clever and handy, but make sure you don’t ask for honey with your McBites like I did. The holder is not constructed to hold the shallow honey container and appears designed to grip larger dips like Sweet n’ Sour and BBQ Sauce. Order honey, and you’ll be unwittingly setting up a very cute and well-designed honey catapult.
Given that popcorn chicken is high in fat and calories and sodium, all the bad things that go against nature and your better judgment, McDonald’s has decided to offer Chicken McBites in three different sizes, so you can make the “best” worst choice possible. They sell a 4-ounce “Snack” size, a 6-ounce “Regular” size, and a 12-ounce “Shareable” size. The fact that the largest size is called “Shareable Size” is interesting. This must be McDonald’s way of saying “Don’t eat the whole thing by yourself, Fatass.” Each size is sold individually, ranging from $1.99-$4.99.
I ordered the Regular size and quickly discovered that the McBites themselves also varied in size. There were big ones and small ones. There were microscopic McBites (which could barely be called “McBites” in the first place because something that McSmall hardly required McChewing) and gargantuan McBites (that were clearly two McBites stuck together).
Like most popcorn chicken, the McBites were chewy and crispy on the outside with very generous breading. The breading was seasoned with spices that added the tiniest amount of heat. What the spices were, I do not know. The McDonald’s website says that McBites consist of “chicken breast meat” with a “savory home-style breading,” so I guess those spices can be found at home, y’all!
But let’s talk about the meat-to-breading ratio. There were scanty amounts of “breast meat” here, folks. I understand it is popcorn chicken and that popcorn chicken is mostly flour, but this was really just fried, spicy flour with a slight, somewhat chicken-flavored filling. This is what McDonald’s — the #2 Fast Food chain in the world — came up with when faced with the possibility that they’d be excluded from the popcorn chicken game? Coming in second to Subway makes them want to go out and make fried, barely-meaty chicken chunks? They just had to do something, even if that something wasn’t their best effort. Did McDonald’s even have to pretend they cared about popcorn chicken?
Chicken McBites are not yet available everywhere, but they soon will be. They’re not as good as McNuggets or the Premium Chicken Strips, but they do come in several sizes. So they’ve got that going for them. I know McDonald’s will consistently try to impress with new additions to its menu that mirror what their peers have tried before, even if it the food doesn’t turn out the best… Even if their efforts result in disaster. Someone somewhere will look at the yucky, messy results and respect that McDonald’s did it; that they tried.
(Nutrition Facts — Regular size (6 ounces) — 470 calories, 28 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 730 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, 22 grams of protein.)
Item: Chicken McBites
Size: Regular size
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: TLC’s Waterfalls. Fried poultry. Adorable packaging. Nice, affordable prices for all three sizes. Yummy home-style seasoning. Comes with a sauce cup holder.
Cons: Peer pressure. Scanty amount of meat in each McBite. Honey catapults. Creek bed filth. Deigning to care about popcorn chicken.