REVIEW: McDonald’s BTS Meal

McDonald s BTS Meal

I might not be the best person to review McDonald’s BTS Meal because I don’t think I’ve ever heard a BTS song prior to this review.

(I’ll pause here to let you loudly gasp and then sing angrily at my ignorance your favorite BTS song through your screen. I apologize.)

I wrote, “I don’t think” because nowadays, I almost never listen to the radio, and when something just so happens to be playing, and because I’m super lame, I never know who’s singing it. So one of those times might’ve been BTS.

So I thought, to appropriately review this Chicken McNuggets meal with Cajun and Sweet Chili dipping sauces, maybe I should knowingly listen to a BTS song, so I can understand why this fast food combo appeals to Jin, V, um, and the other members I can’t remember off the top of my head that many of you are probably yelling through your screen right now. I apologize.

My first BTS listening experience was with the group’s latest song, “Butter,” which I watched on YouTube. I should point out that it was the original version and not the “Hotter Remix.” After the song was done, I thought, “That sure was a catchy ditty. I think that might be my summer jam.”

Fifty-four listens later (and counting) and several poor attempts to mirror the side step right, left moves in the video that led to a sprained ankle, I’m pretty sure it’s my 2021 Summer Jam.

Even with one song swirling around in my head, I might not be the best person to review McDonald’s BTS Meal. But then again, I might be the best person to review McDonald’s BTS Meal because I order Chicken McNuggets 8 out of 10 times when I go to McDonald’s for lunch or dinner. Also, being a McNugget sauce hoarder helps with my qualifications.

McDonald s BTS Meal Sauce Hoarding

McDonald s BTS Meal Sauces

Speaking of sauces, I’m just going to review the Sweet Chili and Cajun dips because almost all of you know what McDonald’s French fries and McNuggets taste like, which are fried heaven and battered and fried heaven, respectively.

McDonald s BTS Meal Sweet Chili

A Sweet Chili sauce isn’t new to the US. It made an appearance back in 2010. But, comparing the ingredient lists shows that this 2021 version is a bit different. Much like the original one, this tastes like the sauce that comes with spring rolls. However, this one has a better sweet and spicy punch than the one that came out over a decade ago, which I thought was bland.

McDonald s BTS Meal Cajun

As for the Cajun one, after dipping my pinky finger into it and then tasting it like I was a TV cop trying to figure out if the cocaine is authentic, I thought it reminded me of my beloved Hot Mustard, but with some noticeable differences, mainly being not as spicy or mustard-y. With it being close to my favorite McNugget dip, I can’t help but love this Cajun sauce more than the other.

McDonald s BTS Meal Tiny Heart
I think my McNuggets were trying to make a tiny heart hand sign.

The previous McDonald’s celebrity meals with J Balvin and Travis Scott can be recreated with some customizations. But the BTS Meal probably won’t be because of the two limited edition McNugget sauces, which are both tasty and worth a try, whether or not you love (or know of) BTS.

Purchased Price: $7.99
Size: Medium
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Sauce nutrition facts not available on McDonald’s website, so here are the numbers for just a medium fries and 10-piece McNuggets) 740 calories, 40 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1100 milligrams of sodium, 68 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 28 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Caramel Brownie McFlurry

McDonald s Caramel Brownie McFlurry Cup

While not as often as Dairy Queen Blizzards, McDonald’s has been mixing several new and exciting McFlurry offerings over the past few years. In 2019, we got stroopwafel and snickerdoodle McFlurry flavors. Last year, the Golden Arches introduced an Oreo Shamrock one in the spring and a Chips Ahoy variety in the fall.

And we gave them all positive reviews.

Well, I’m here to continue that thumbs ups streak in 2021 because right after scarfing down McDonald’s new Caramel Brownie McFlurry, I wondered how soon is too soon to get another.

The treat features caramel topping and brownie pieces mixed with soft serve. As you can see in the photos, the one I picked up looks like, well, let’s just say not as put together as the promotional photos I’ve seen. But, I believe there’s an ancient wise proverb that says, “Never judge a McFlurry by how it’s been mixed.”

McDonald s Caramel Brownie McFlurry Top

While mine looks like an explosion and fire happened at a Rolo factory that was brought under control by a herd of dairy cows shooting milk from their udders, that sticky mess in the cup was magnificent. But, let’s be honest, combining ice cream, caramel, and brownie pieces, no matter how it looks, has a scientifically proven 95 percent chance of tantalizing the taste buds.

McDonald s Caramel Brownie McFlurry Brownies

While caramel gets top billing in the name, the sweet stars of the show are the brownie pieces. They’re how the chocolatey treat should be — fudgy, dense, chewy, and able to sit in soft serve without getting soggy. They taste like a batch made from a boxed mix, but that’s not a complaint. The chunks are also plentiful. Almost every spoonful I scooped out had one in it.

McDonald s Caramel Brownie McFlurry Caramel

The buttery and sugary caramel topping McDonald’s uses isn’t too noticeable in this McFlurry because there are many brownies to contend with, so it plays less of a role in the treat. But the golden gloop adds a nice third texture that goes well with the chewy brownies and creamy ice cream.

My taste buds did notice a cheesecake-like tang every so often. It wasn’t off-putting, but I’m not sure where it came from.

McDonald’s Caramel Brownie McFlurry isn’t a transplant from a European country (though, it was available in Canada in 2017), doesn’t feature an iconic cookie, or has green food coloring, so it might not be as exciting as recent limited time flavors. But shoveling spoonfuls of it into my mouth excites my taste buds.

Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: Regular
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 630 calories, 19 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 280 milligrams of sodium, 101 grams of carbohydrates, 67 grams of sugar, 1 gram of fiber, and 13 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich (2021)

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Full

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, there’s been a fast food crispy chicken sandwich war going on, thanks to Popeyes launching a chicken sandwich that was so popular, it sold out.

Since then, the number of restaurant chains that have attempted to replicate that deep-fried success goes beyond the eleven fingers on my hands. The latest to enter the war is a little fast food chain called McDonald’s.

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Wrapper

The Golden Arches is offering three versions of its new Crispy Chicken Sandwich that feature a new southern-style fried chicken fillet — Regular (with pickles and a toasted, buttered potato roll), Spicy (with pickles, Original Spicy Sauce, and a toasted potato roll), and Deluxe (with tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, and a toasted potato roll). I ordered the first two.

Coming off those wonderful Spicy Chicken McNuggets, I felt the chain was going to do an excellent job with its new Crispy Chicken Sandwich. But, oh my goodness, they went beyond my expectations. Oh wait, wrote, “beyond.” I meant to write, “below.”

And there’s another B-word I’d like to use to describe the two sandwiches I had — bland.

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Split

With both, the issue with them mainly starts and ends with the new fried chicken fillet. It doesn’t have any distinctive flavors that would make me want to eat it on its own. Combining that with just pickles and a buttered potato roll with the regular one ends up being a joyless event.

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Juicy

However, I will admit that texturally these are the best chicken fillets I’ve had from McDonald’s. The breading has a nice crispiness to it, and the fillets in my sandwiches were juicy and tender. I could squeeze them and some liquid would ooze out. Its thickness was also impressive.

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Spicy Full

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Spicy Top

While the Spicy version includes the Original Spicy Sauce, said sauce is also as bland as the fillets and its name. It does bring some heat that’s significantly below McDonald’s Mighty Hot Sauce, but hotter than the chain’s Hot Mustard. It’s just spicy, though, thanks to the habanero peppers in it. McDonald’s puts out some tasty sauces, so I’m surprised this doesn’t have any flavor.

The only real highlight of the sandwiches was the new potato roll, which has a nice fluffiness and slight sweetness. Besides that, the pickles do bring a tangy kick to the proceedings. But both aren’t enough to save either sandwich. Maybe what’s on the Deluxe version will help.

Purchased Price: $4.99*
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10 (both version)
Nutrition Facts: Regular – 470 calories, 20 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1100 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 27 grams of protein. Spicy – 530 calories, 26 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1230 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 27 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: McDonald’s McRib (2020)

McDonald s McRib  2020

The McRib is back…for the 57th time! I was surprised to learn it debuted way back in 1981, and that it has apparently been eight years since McDonald’s has offered it nationwide in the U.S.

Even though the McRib is far older than the internet, it might be the perfect food for our social media-focused world. It trends every time McDonald’s unleashes it. Also, furious debates ensue about whether the hype is warranted or just brilliant marketing, and if it is the best or worst fast food item in history. Because on social media, there can be no in-between. But in the frenzy created whenever the restructured boneless pork patty sandwich with BBQ sauce, pickles, and onions is released, an important question is rarely asked.

Does it taste good?

McDonald s McRib  2020 Pickles Onions

It seems like an obvious query, of course, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really thought about it. Like, I’m guessing, the majority of you fine readers of TIB, I’ve had a McRib a few times in my life. But I don’t remember the last time I had one, or even if I enjoyed it.

So I was left to ponder, is it actually a tasty meal? Or do I — and many of you — buy it because of that innate human desire to snatch up limited-time items (even though, when you think about it, everything on Earth is a limited time item)?

I also find it more than a little coincidental that after initially flopping, the McRib was brought back on a limited basis in 1989, the year after the hair band Cinderella taught us, “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone).” Seems like some McDonald’s marketing exec was a Cinderella fan.

So back to the question at hand…does the McRib taste good?

McDonald s McRib  2020 Patty Closeup

Well, not really, but it wasn’t bad either. The texture was not as rubbery as I was expecting, so I guess that’s a positive. The pork patty, complete with fake grill or bone marks (I’m not sure which it’s supposed to be), didn’t have a strong flavor. It was definitely pork-like, but I probably could have been convinced it was chicken or turkey. McDonald’s claims the BBQ sauce is tangy, but that’s a bit of a stretch. It seemed like a generic BBQ sauce. The pickles and onions were fine, and the latter added some nice crunch. Simply put, it was an average-tasting sandwich.

McDonald s McRib  2020 Bite

It reminded me of one of those microwavable sandwiches you get out of those sketchy, old school wheel of misfortune-type vending machines. You know, the ones where you make a selection after spinning the food around and then open that plastic door while hoping to retrieve the vittles with your hand and fingers intact.

Would I ever buy a McRib if it were available year-round, like it is, according to McGoogle, in Germany and, for some reason, Luxembourg? I doubt it, and if McDonald’s announced the McRib as a permanent menu item tomorrow, then the one I just had today would probably be my last. But when they bring it back in a year or two and social media makes me feel like I’m missing out, then yes, I must sheepishly admit that I’ll probably have another. I guess McDonald’s knows a thing or two about marketing.

Purchased Price: $3.39
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 520 calories, 28 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 890 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 24 grams of protein.

(Editor’s Note: Starting this year, I’m going to have a different TIB writer review the McRib every time it comes back. Why? Just for fun AND content.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Blueberry Muffin, Apple Fritter, and Cinnamon Roll

McDonald s Blueberry Muffin Innards

The McCafe brand has been an undeniable success for McDonald’s all around the globe. Its expanded coffee offerings have allowed the company to keep up with Starbucks with the added benefit of establishing a retail brand visible in the coffee aisle of grocery stores.

You can pull up to the drive-thru speaker and order a large, iced, non-fat Caramel Macchiato with an extra shot of espresso, hazelnut syrup, a chocolate drizzle, and whipped cream while also getting a McNuggets Happy Meal with a Buzz Lightyear toy for your kid. But if you ever craved a treat to accompany your obnoxiously complex McCafe drink, you were usually left with the choice of a handheld apple pie or a rather uninspiring chocolate chip cookie.

McDonald’s has wisely decided to expand its once meager baked goods selection by introducing the McCafe Blueberry Muffin, Apple Fritter, and Cinnamon Roll.

The Blueberry Muffin comes surrounded by a lovely tulip-style muffin wrapper to help distract from the fact that it was handed to me in the same bag as a packet of tangy bbq sauce. The muffin is adorned with a streusel crumb topping and a sprinkling of crystallized sugar that adds a really nice, subtle crunch when consuming.

McDonald s Blueberry Muffin

It is very tender and moist with somewhat sparse but delicious blueberries mixed throughout. There is a slight aftertaste of either a preservative or artificial flavor that I find common in boxed blueberry muffin mixes. While I would have to say that it is borderline too sweet for a blueberry muffin, I think the texture and overall flavor make it a nice addition to McDonald’s menu.

McDonald s Apple Fritter

Apple Fritters are never much to look, and the McCafe offering is no exception. It’s a brown, bumpy mound with a glazed outside that gives way to a dense center with abundant swirls of cinnamon. When biting in, you instantly get the warm cinnamon filling your mouth, followed closely by the tart apple flavor.

McDonald s Apple Fritter Innards

The light icing adds just the right amount of sweetness, and the dense but tender texture is perfect for a fritter. As one of my favorite treats, I love an apple fritter to have a crispy edge, which this did not. It could also benefit from more abundant apple pieces. But this is the treat I’ll be craving next time I pull into the drive-thru.

McDonald s Cinnamon Roll

The Cinnamon Roll looks the part, served warm with deep valleys of sugar and cinnamon in between the swirled dough and enough cream cheese icing to run down the sides but not flooding the entire roll with an overwhelming sweetness. From the moment I first tried to cut off a piece, I could tell that the outside had gotten tough, no doubt from being reheated.

McDonald s Cinnamon Roll Innards

Perhaps it once had that ideal slightly doughy, gooey center, but lost it in the microwave, sacrificed for the sake of quick service. It is a real shame that the texture is too tough because the cinnamon flavor and the cream cheese frosting are spot on, with the overall level of sweetness being just right. As a big fan of McDonald’s Cinnamon Melts, I can’t help but wish the company just revived it instead because it is a far superior product.

Purchased Price: $1.99 (Blueberry Muffin), $2.19 (Apple Fritter), $2.49 (Cinnamon Roll)
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Blueberry Muffin), 9 out of 10 (Apple Fritter), 5 out of 10 (Cinnamon Roll)
Nutrition Facts: Blueberry Muffin – 470 calories, 22 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 64 grams of carbohydrates, 36 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein. Apple Fritter – 510 calories, 29 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 58 grams of carbohydrates, 28 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein. Cinnamon Roll – 560 calories, 17 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 490 milligrams of sodium, 92 grams of carbohydrates, 46 grams of sugar, 8 grams of fiber, and 9 grams of protein.

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