(review) Tyson's Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets
August 9, 2013
McDonald's introduced McNuggets during the prime of my childhood, As a member of the McNugget generation, I ate my share of chicken nuggets growing up. However, since my mom didn't buy McDonald's, most of the nuggets I ate came frozen in a box courtesy of my grandmother. But I ate the real deal a few times and remember thinking that McNugget's were THE BEST THING EVER. The frozen nuggets my grandmother bought me as a treat when I visited her didn't compare. At all. As a kid, I didn't realize it was because 1. McNuggets were battered and the frozen nuggets weren't and 2. McNuggets were fried, while the frozen nuggets were flash-fried and then baked at home.
Even though I haven't eaten a McNugget in years (years!), I still think of them as sort of the standard bearer of Nuggetdom; the nugget against which all others are compared. So when I saw a bag of Tyson's gluten-free chicken nuggets at Target, I immediately noticed that these nuggets are breaded, not batter-dipped like MCNuggets. That's fine. I was still a excited to try them. I figured a chicken nugget would be a fun taste of childhood.
While the bag proudly declares “gluten-free*”, it doesn't state whether or not these nuggets are made in a dedicated facility. So I called the company to get the lowdown. According to the customer service rep, they are produced in a dedicated facility. She told me that if crosscontact was a concern that it would be listed on the bag. Fair enough. I'm just surprised that Tyson is missing the chance to tout the gluten-free facility on the bag. (shrugs)
I opened the bag and found a clear bag holding the nuggets. I wonder if the second bag prevents freezer burn or if it just makes for easy packaging. I followed the directions for conventional oven and popped the nuggets into a preheated 400°F oven. Easy enough. (The bag also lists directions for cooking the nuggets in a microwave.)
As my nuggets baked, I read the back of the bag. Listed as a “recipe suggestion” is a recipe for applesauce. Like, homemade applesauce. I thought this was odd but, hey, if you serve homemade applesauce with your frozen nugs' you're in luck, Tyson's got you covered. If you're like me, however, you just squirt some bbq sauce into a bowl and call it a day.
The bag claims that the nuggets takes 11 to 13 minutes to cook. I found that they took a little longer. At 13 minutes, the nuggets were still a little soft. While they were food-safe, I prefer them crisp; so I left them in the oven a little longer. Altogether, cooking time took about 18 minutes.
These tasted like....chicken nuggets. Not McNuggets, mind you but fairly typical American chicken nuggets. No specific flavor stands out. Just a salty-chickeny taste with hints of garlic and onion powder. And speaking of salty, I thought the nuggets bordered on too salty. According to the nutrition label, there's 270mg of sodium per four pieces.
The breading, made from rice flour, corn flour, and cornstarch, reminded me of a basic gluten-style fried breading. The texture wasn't too coarse but provided a nice coating that kept the nuggets moist. As for that chicken, it's chicken breast with rib meat. So, not a 100% chicken breast nugget.
I paid $5.99 for the 18 ounces bag which, at $5.32 a pound, cost a lot more than Tyson's non-gluten-free chicken nuggets. At the Target where I bought these, the wheat-coated nuggets were $5.29 for a 29 ounce bag.
These were fun to eat. I made them, threw a green salad together, and called it a night. And although they were tasty, I probably won't be buying them again. Why? Chicken nuggets just aren't a part of our life and these aren't special enough to change that.
If you're looking for standard chicken nuggets that happen to be gluten-free, these are for you.
Note: I bought the nuggets myself. I did not receive free product nor was asked to write this review.