How McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets are made
Ever wonder how McNuggets are made? Maybe you have starred down at your 6 pack and think to yourself what goes into this delicious treat? There has been some controversy about it however recently McDonalds has made their process transparent in a few videos. Here we are to explain the truth to you.
They are made from white meat chicken. The process and ingredients are surprisingly simple to follow along.
In order to properly understand, the video above goes to the source of where the McNuggets are made. Amy Steward (Principal Meat Scientist) of Tyson Foods Inc takes Grant Imahara on a tour of the facility in Tennessee (they have 5 facilities across the country).
The process starts with whole chicken, Grant Imahara is stunned everything actually comes from a whole chicken. Only chicken meat, no beaks, no feet. The deboning department cuts the breast out to set aside for the chicken nuggets. Only white meat is used for this delicious treat. Amy mentions that they set aside some skin to add later in the mixture, however we have learned that after 2016, McDonalds no longer uses any chicken skin as part of their recipe.
The bin of chicken breast gets pushed through the blending room, where chicken breast gets grounded up thicker than regular ground chicken found in the grocery store to give it a “meatier texture”. So here is where McDonalds is pushing the message that their product does not in fact come from “Pink Goop”.
When Grant Imahara shows the famous picture of pink goop to Amy Steward, she publicly claims to have no idea what that is. However, actually, this is refferring to a process called Mechanically Separated meat product. This other process is most widely used for hot dogs. According to snopes, McDonalds used to use this process before 2003 when they decided it would be a good idea to switch over to all white meat.
After the meat is all ground up, marinade seasoning gets mixed in. The Ingredients in the marinade are actually completely open to the public:
– Water, Sodium Phosphates, Food Starch-modified
– Salt, Natural Flavoring, Wheat Starch, Dextrose, Citric Acid, Autolyzed Yeast Extract
– Rosemary Extract, Safflower Oil
After the mix is perfect, they get shaped out into the 4 classic shapes we all love (and secretly have a favorite I’m sure). They are:
- The Bell
- The Booth
- The Boot
- The Ball
Continuing down the line, they get initially covered in a light batter, then a second batter called Tempura. Their batters contain white pepper and celery flavors. Then they partially fry the nuggets to set the tempura batter for the texture. Finally they are flash frozen to lock in flavor and then packaged and prepared for shipping
Quality checked every hour for consistency in the “sensory kitchen”. Gena Bumgarner of Tyson Foods Inc demonstrates how she gets to eat chicken nuggets once every hour.
She says that a perfect nugget can be described as: Light golden brow, crispy with ridges and peaks. A slightly firm texture but is still juicy. The flavor itself should be an overall chicken flavor with a slight pepper and celery notes. Now you know what to look for!
We think it was a great idea to do this sort of transparency video. They have also done this with their other products and it’s worth checking out too.
You can also check out the same video but in Canada. Exact same process!