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Review: McDonald’s New Buttermilk Crispy Tenders

As you regular readers here know by now, I’m a sucker for new fast food menu items, of which McDonald’s recently introduced Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Tenders. Regardless of still eating it every now and then, you regulars here also know how I — in an almost denial sort of way — repeat myself in saying how much I’m not a chicken fan. So let’s see if McDonald’s will “wow” this “non-lover” of chicken with this.

Like most of my McDonald’s “sessions” (because they really are! lol), I tried the Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Tenders at the Kuhio Avenue location in Waikiki, just a few blocks walking distance from my home. On this visit a couple days ago, it was $3.89 for the 4-piece box of tenders, while I added a large Fruit Punch to wash it down for just $1 more. And trust me, after you eat even half of one of these, you’ll NEED a soft drink to wash it down, it’s that substantial in size and substance. More on that later.

One blogger said this actually isn’t the first time McDonald’s has dabbled with chicken tenders, as back since 2002 they had their popular Chicken Selects, which were phased out in 2013. Something I’ve honestly never tried, probably just because it was chicken. This I suppose is the reincarnation or evolution of that. 

With that, here’s the price breakdown at the Kuhio Avenue McDonald’s:

Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Tenders
4-Piece Meal with Large Fries and Drink – $8.08
• 4 Piece – $3.89 (490 calories)
• 6-Piece – $5.79 (730 calories)
• 10-Piece- $9.69 (1210 calories)

And here’s the ingredients and nutritional information, according to McDonald’s website:

Ingredients: Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Strips, Wheat Flour, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil), Water, Salt, Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate), Potato Starch, Spices, Sugar, Onion Powder, Corn Starch, Rice Flour, Yellow Corn Flour, Citric Acid, Garlic Powder, Buttermilk, Natural Flavor, Rice Starch, Maltodextrin, Xanthan Gum. Contains milk and wheat. 

Nutrition (3-piece, not 4):
370 Calories, 21g total fat, 16g total carbs, 28g protien
Calories From Fat: Saturated Fat: Trans Fat: Cholesterol: Sodium: Dietary Fiber: Sugars: Vitamin A: Vitamin C: Calcium: Iron: 

For the complete Southern experience, McDonald’s also has a new “Sweet and Creamy” Coleslaw they offer with their chicken meal along with a biscuit, however that wasn’t available at the Kuhio McDonald’s. 

Above we have my 4-piece tenders with large fruit punch. By default it comes with their new “Signature Sauce” as dip “A”, while I also requested their Tangy BBQ Sauce for dip “B”.  

You know McDonald’s as a corporation must be pretty confident in this new menu item by going as far as designing a custom box for it, complete with compartments for the dipping sauces. Very cool, especially if you’re the type to drive while eating, a.k.a. in police/legal speak, “DWE”. lol 

Popping the box open, pipin’ hot right there in the restaurant, the 4 massive chicken tenders practically busted themselves out the box. 

Spreading the four tenders out, you see how massive they are, where at $3.89, this is A LOT of boneless all white meat chicken, making it an exceptional value. 

Shown to scale held in my adult-sized male hand, while I didn’t have a tape measure on me, I’d estimate this particular tender to be about 5 to 5½” in length x 1½” width x 1/2″ to 3/4″ in thickness along its span. 

Breaking one in half “raw dog” for the “money shot”, you see it truly is as advertised, “100 percent white meat chicken that’s been battered, lightly seasoned and breaded”. They also claim it’s free of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives, however looking back at the ingredients list, it still has some chemical agents that might raise your eyebrow if your the Whole Foods shopper/organic type of person. Then again, if you’re that type, you probably haven’t even gotten this far into the review. lol 

And? Plain, without any sauce, these tenders are surprisingly very juicy! Not dry like a couple of YouTube reviewers claimed. I wouldn’t go as far as saying they’re tender though, as it took some effort to bite through the whole white chicken meat fibers. It wasn’t “like buttah”, yet still, that juiciness was a huge plus. 

That juiciness was likely not just because I ate them pipin’ hot right there at the restaurant (vs. takeout time getting it home), but also to the fact they were prepared deep-fried to order, which was obvious by the over 5 minute wait time it took to receive it when it was very slow (around 4pm). 

As for seasoning, the chicken meat itself didn’t have any at all, while the batter tasted like it just had salt and pepper and that’s it. Which is weird, because the ingredients doesn’t even list pepper in it, yet there’s clearly black specks of pepper or “something” black in there. I didn’t detect any onion or garlic in the flavor. In other words, KFC has nothing to worry about with their “Secret blend of 11 herbs and spices”, which tastes far superior to this. 

Still, for what its worth (FWIW), these are some dang good ‘n tasty chicken tenders! Seriously! I’m diggin’ it! Oh wait, as McD’s would say, “I’m Lovin’ It”®. lol

Next let’s try it dipped in their new “Signature Sauce”…. and? Hmmm. Wait, let me try another bite….

Hmmm. Well, I’d say the Signature Sauce tastes KINDA’ SORTA’ like the same sauce they use in their Big Mac, albeit with an ever-so-slight spicy hot kick of I would say Ceyenne Pepper. Although it doesn’t state that in its ingredients, however there’s mustard in it, if that any effect. In other words, a Thousand Islands/Catalina dressing with some mild hot action. Except not as good as that. I’m actually pretty disappointed with this new Signature Sauce, hoping it would’ve been THE McD’s sauce. As it turns out, it tastes totally artificial and well, like a food lab experiment gone bad. It’s like Thousand Islands made with really crappy, “el cheapo” mayonnaise. After two bites with the Signature Sauce, that was enough. So done with that. It did NOT enhance the otherwise tasty chicken tender one bit, actually making it taste worst. It may work in a Big Mac, but definitely not with this. 

Since I already knew from watching reviews of this that the Signature Sauce would be mayo-based, I requested their Tangy BBQ Sauce as option “B”, having the most contrast in flavor profile, and also one of my faves, dare I say, with Chicken McNuggets. OK, OK, I’ll admit it, yes, on rare occasions, I do still eat Chicken McNuggets. Guilty as charged! Ha ha! 

Anyway, OK, the chicken tender is WAY better with the BBQ Sauce, giving it that zesty, robust, smokey “oomph”. “Oomph” is a word, right? lol Yet not satisfied with that, I walked back to the counter and requested a third sauce (no charge), this one being Ranch, as one YouTuber said that was the one to go with. 

And? Uggh. Fail! Epic fail. OMG, this is the first time I’ve tried McD’s Ranch sauce, and it SUCKS BIG TIME. No comparison to Jack in the Box’ super awesome Buttermilk Dressing Sauce, THE KING of fast food sauces for all things fried in my opinion. Man, talk about food lab experiment gone bad! McD’s Ranch is like really $hitty mayonaise, that thinks its that, with barely any taste of seasonings and herbs in it. Worst. Ranch. Sauce. Ever. One bite and I was done! And I’ll leave it that, let alone even talk about how it completely negated the otherwise tasty chicken tender. 

I was tempted to go back and basically ask for every other sauce they have, but didn’t want to impose, and just continued eating the chicken tenders by itself with no sauce at all, as it was better that way, actually. Above, again you can see just how juicy that whole white chicken meat within the crunchy, lightly seasoned batter is. Back to the crunch of the batter, it’s like your typical thick ‘n crispy country style fried chicken batter, and definitely not like panko or tempura batter. However I do think if you were to dip these in Japanese Tonkatsu sauce that it would totally rock! 

You may recall back in February I did a review of Taco Bell’s Naked Chicken Chalupa, where I did just that, “Katsu-fying” the Naked Chicken Chalupa by filling it with rice and cabbage, and smothering it with Ikari brand Tonkatsu Sauce. Well, I’ll do just that next time with another box of Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Tenders. I’ll slice them tonkatsu style over a bed of thinly-sliced cabbage with rice and tonkatsu sauce. Stay tuned for that experiment. 

In the mean time, my God, these chicken tenders are so huge, I honestly could only eat two of them and was totally stuffed. I swear each one has about a full drumstick worth of chicken meat. So at less than $1 a piece, again, that really is an exceptional value. And I must also reiterated once again, because of their substantial size and the deep-fried food it is, make sure to have a large drink on hand to wash it down. You’ll need it! 

That said, what you see above are two remaining massive chicken tenders and the leftover Signature Sauce and Tangy BBQ Sauce. Which I covered back up, put it in a McD’s takeout paper bag and gave it to a homeless man one block up on Kalakaua Avenue. Whom conveniently for me was holding a sign that read “HUNGRY: Will Work 4 Food”.  Honestly, he had that sign up. When I innocently asked if he was indeed hungry, his face lit up and he immediately said “YES!” So I said, here braddah, this is the new McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Tenders. Sample cuz! Enjoy!” I swear, he looked like the happiest man alive. I love moments like that! 

On a side note, and I again kid you not, there were two other homeless guys (they all certainly appeared to be) on Kalakaua sitting near him: one with a sign that read “Need $$$ 4 Weed”, and the other guy sitting just a few feet over with a sign “upping” him one that read, “Need $$$ 4 Whores, Whiskey & Weed”.  Hey man, gotta’ hand it to them, at least they’re honest! Brutally honest! LOL!!! 

What: McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Tenders  
Where did you get it and how much? McDonald’s on Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki, $3.89 4-Piece
Big Shaka to: Each tender is MASSIVE, making this an excellent value. Super juicy all white chicken meat (not the mechanically processed stuff in the McNuggets). Lightly seasoned thick ‘n golden crispy batter adds just enough to make it satisfyingly tasty and scrumptious on its own terms. Not oily. Having enough leftovers to share with the homeless who APPRECIATE it. ;-)
No shaka to: The new Signature Sauce SUCKS. The Ranch Sauce sucks. The BBQ sauce barely helped it out. 
The Tasty Island rating: 3 SPAM Musubi (very good and an exceptional value; could be WAY better with the right sauce!)

P.S. In an ongoing effort to burn off all these empty/horrific/evil fast food calories, I swim as well as hike quite a bit. My last one being at the Judd Trail in Nuuanu this past week…

5 thoughts on “Review: McDonald’s New Buttermilk Crispy Tenders

  • October 16, 2017 at 10:04 pm
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    We had these yesterday and they were quite tasty and yes, pretty big pieces. The wife and myself shared a six piece with the Signature Sauce and Ranch Sauce. We didn’t mind the sauces, although I tried the chicken without sauce at first and thought it was quite tasty without the sauce.

    These reminded me of Arby’s chicken fingers from high school time (about 20-25 years ago). I see that Arby’s now has chicken tenders. They look sort of similar and I would try them, but no Arby’s here on Maui!

    Reply
  • October 17, 2017 at 7:35 am
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    Bland and plain no seasoning at all. I will never order again yuck

    Reply
  • October 21, 2017 at 9:48 am
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    Tried the buttermilk chicken. Dry, dry, dry………besides that no ice in one side and just barely running in other, no napkins at all in either holder (I told employee and he did not offer to even go get me any) the fries just barely warm and again dried out. This all on a Sat at noon.hardly anyone in store or on lot….pricey for what you get. Hardees is a better deal and tastes better too.

    Reply
    • October 21, 2017 at 11:32 am
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      It sounds like they might have overfried the chicken if it was dry. The ones we tried weren’t dried at all and there was good seasoning on it.

      Reply
  • October 23, 2017 at 4:35 pm
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    Anna,
    I agree with David. The ones I had were super juicy and adequately seasoned. Sounds like the McD’s location you visit doesn’t have their quality both in food and service under control. Waikiki’s McDonald’s locations are EXCELLENT in that regard.

    At $3.89 for 4 giant chicken tenders, I think it’s a great deal. We don’t have Hardee’s here in Honolulu so can’t compare it. Wendy’s has been promoting their Chicken Tenders on TV currently as well, however the nearest Wendy’s from where I live is “too far” in my opinion to drive there just for that.

    Reply

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