Burger King brought back spicy nuggets. Why?

Posted on May 24, 2020

Burger King brought its spicy nuggets back. You didn’t know they had left? You didn’t even know that Burger King even had spicy nuggets? We can’t blame you. Burger King introduced spicy nuggets back in 2017, shortly after Wendy’s discontinued their nuggets, in a naked cash-grab. 

We’re not really in a position where going outside to grab a handful of chicken nuggets is something you can do in a lark anymore. Going out for Burger King is a thing now, like literally any reason you go outside. You gotta bring your mask, and your hand sanitizer, and carefully plan to make sure you don’t get too close to anybody else… it gets exhausting. You need a good reason if you’re going outside. Like, perhaps, Burger King offering those spicy nuggets at an unbelievably cheap price: eight for a dollar? We’ve had these nuggets before, but it had been years since we last tasted one… Well, grab your mask and hit the jump, what is there to lose?

So, yeah, Burger King is offering eight nuggets for a buck. That’s a price that can’t be beat. For comparison, eight spicy nuggets at Wendy’s near us is three dollars. Three times the price for the same amount of hot, spicy nugget action. At those rates, why wouldn’t you go for the Burger King? You could get yourself twenty-four nuggets for the same price!

Okay, not everybody is motivated by the idea of buying as many chicken nuggets as possible. Taste is a factor, no matter how cash-strapped you are. And the question is, how do they taste? We already have the Wendy’s spicy nuggets, and it’s clear that these are riding on their popularity. Burger King even once did a promotion where you could get a free order of these spicy nugs if your name was Wendy. But is this nugget worth getting hundreds of, when a few Wendy’s nuggets might be worth their weight in gold?

Tempted by the apparent value of these nuggets, we decided to make the expedition to our nearby Burger King and found a total mess there. The line in the drive-thru was very long, and only got longer as we waited our turn. They didn’t have any notice for the 8 piece anywhere, not on a poster or on the menu, so we would only realize later that we screwed up and got the 10-piece (which probably cost way more but we didn’t get a receipt so who fucking knows). Then began the wait. This was not a normal Burger King wait. Burger Kings are Burger Kings, but our Burger King is normally a little more expeditious than others. We could hear someone shouting from two cars ahead of us. We felt a little nervous, for some reason.

Then the line inched to our turn at the window, and we got to see the safety precautions first-hand. Every employee was wrapped up with full mask and gloves, and they were taking payments and handing out food using plastic bins. This made paying for and receiving your food very awkward for all parties involved. The bins were large and unwieldy; we saw one having to be tipped over completely to pour out a handful of change into a customer’s hand. The organization inside the Burger King seemed to be helter-skelter as well. When we pulled up to the window, we heard the worker at the window shout, and we quote: “How do we not have spicy nuggets? Why didn’t you guys tell me?” Naturally we were told to pull ahead to wait. We could see from her body language, and tell from her voice, that she was having an awful day.

Eventually, we got our nuggets. They were hot and fresh, but the fries we got were room-temperature cold. They didn’t have enough nuggets, but had enough fries out to let them grow this cold? It’s sad, really - they must be having an incredibly stressful time in there if things are like this. Are the nuggets even good enough to justify the stress on all parties?

The bag of nuggets

Well, in a word… no. No, these nuggets are not worth it. On first bite, we found them more sweet than spicy. It was weird. We don’t know why they tasted kind of sweet. It was sweet in the way a chili pepper can be sweet, kind of a fruity, funky taste, but… sweet nuggets. Once we got past the sweet, we noticed that these nuggets were not spicy at all! Not in the least! They tasted like chili powder that had all of the capsaicin sucked right out of it! It tasted like the memory of spicy. It tasted like spicy that was left out in the sun. And when you get spicy chicken nuggets, don’t you expect them to be spicy?

The spicy nuggets themselves

Worst of all was the slightly bitter aftertaste that the nuggets left behind. This was the breaking point for us - not even Surge could wash away the weird flavor. (Did you remember that Burger King still has Surge? Because we forgot.) What are these? The only real winning point is that these nuggets are a lot meatier than regular Burger King Nuggets. Unlike most other nuggets, Burger King nuggets are thin little slips of meat, naturally to make up for their price. The spicy nuggets are about the same size as a Wendy’s nugget, so if you’re in serious need to add up every single calorie, go with the spicy.

Still, we wouldn’t really recommend these nuggets, even at the price. They’re just… bad. Normally, Burger King nuggets are okay, but these aren’t even that. Maybe if they were spicier, that sweet-bitter flavor wouldn’t be so noticeable. But even if they were hot enough, wouldn’t that just add to the pain? Then you’d be eating burning, bitter chicken. Nothing about that is appealing. It’s trying so hard to be the Wendy’s spicy nuggets, but now that those are back, they’re more visible as a pale imitation than ever. 

Not Worth Trying

These nuggets are a bargain almost unparalleled, but what are you really getting? Sure, it’s great to get something cheap and fast, but shouldn’t you at least enjoy what you’re eating? We’re sorry to bring up the virus situation in this article yet again, but in these times, choosing to get fast food is a moral quandary.

But you’ve got to eat, right? Everybody does. And going to the grocery store is possibly even MORE dangerous… There’s no good answer. All we can tell you is that this isn’t worth breaking quarantine over.

We had been going out more in the previous weeks (always with protection!) because it had been Will’s birthday. The quarantine in our state had been lifted on the 18th, so we thought it would be nice to spend a little more time outside in the fresh air and enjoy ourselves for once. We had actually contracted COVID-19 back in April, we’re not kidding, and we figured since we had already got it, things must be fine for us. But the jury’s still out on if you can get COVID-19 twice, or if you could be an asymptotic carrier if you’ve had it before. We’ve been playing it safe, but this Burger King experience made us understand that pushing our luck is not worth it for anybody’s sake.

It’s the worst that this is so… cynical on the part of companies like Burger King. We don’t think of ourselves as particularly vulnerable to advertising propaganda, but we ate this one up. And what did we get out of it? Gross nuggets that weren’t even new to us.

We’re at the point in this crisis where we need to start making our own decisions about how to handle food. Many people, us included, rely on fast food as some of the only options for quick and cheap food in a pinch. But do they need the business? There’s better food almost everywhere in our city, even if it’s not as affordable. But getting food from there can be just as risky as ordering from Burger King if you don’t take all the proper precautions, and adding to the stress level of the local restaurant workers is just as destructive, but going to get your own groceries puts the grocery store workers at risk…

We don’t have the answers. Nobody does. That’s what makes this situation so hard. All we can do is make our own choices, try to be careful, and hope for the best. We can say this much: getting crappy chicken nuggets from Burger King isn’t worth getting sick for.

Categories: food

Tagged: 2 out of 5 2017 2020 burger king chicken nuggets spicy