Do you trust your taste buds?
It’s an honest question; and no, not in the existential crisis proceeding when you learn that all the loops in Froot Loops taste the same (they do) but in drawing on a memory of something you ate in the past and comparing it to something you ate today.
I bring this up because last year McDonald’s released its Sweet N’ Spicy Honey BBQ Glazed Tenders, and I liked them. This year, they released what seems like a similar product — Spicy BBQ Glazed Tenders — but I can’t say the same thing.
McDonald’s is advertising the Spicy BBQ Glazed Tenders as “smoky,” “juicy,” and “mouthwatering.” They are none of the preceding, and certainly not worthy of the “whoo!” the McDonald’s website claims you’ll say after eating them.
“Meh,” perhaps. “Woo,” please.
For starters, they’re not much to look at. It may be fast food, but it’s also 2019, and when your premium tenders are broken and sagging in an oversized box, that says something about preparation.
It also says something about your preparation — and maybe even the conception — when my tenders are soggy and have little crunch when ordered during the Noon to 1 p.m. lunch hour. They had no genuine crisp or crackle in the breading. Inside, they were dryer than McDonald’s tenders I’ve had in the past, with none of the succulence white meat needs to be anything other than boring.
But perhaps the biggest letdown was the sauce. Where last year’s Sweet N’ Spicy Honey BBQ Glazed Tenders nailed the Honey BBQ flavor, the BBQ sauce on this year’s Spicy BBQ tenders leaves much to be desired. It’s not as sweet or bold as last year’s version but carries the same ho-hum level of spiciness — a little cayenne on the back end, some garlic powder, maybe enough black pepper to let you know that hey, we didn’t lie entirely in our marketing.
I tend to treat chicken tenders like pizza, falling back on the theory that they can never be truly repulsive. But I’m also a big believer in opportunity cost, and as the list of McDonald’s menu items I would have rather spent money on grows, my relative enjoyment of a disappointing product dissipates. My suggestion? Get the buttermilk tenders and sauce them separately. You may like them.
Purchased Price: $4.59
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (4-count) 580 calories, 27 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 105 milligrams of cholesterol, 1950 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 41 grams of protein.