Jesse Garson's Guide to Chicken Parts

I have made it my life's obsesion to enjoy Robert C. Baker's invention in an many places as possible. As a result, I have developed strong feelings on the relative quality that each fast food establishment brings to the chicken part eating experience.

Before we go any further I would like to point out that the opinions expressed here are those of a single individual. This individual has also been known to put peanut butter on a tortilla, so, take what he says with a grain of salt! Let's not get all upset and try to sue anybody if the opinions expressed here hurt someone's feelings, generate an unpleasant dining experience, or cause someone to utter the wrong combo number in the drive-thru. This page is for entertainment purposes only. Please: no wagering!

Nugget? Finger? Fillet? It's all parts to me!


Overall Chicken Part Score: 9.5 Part Nomenclature: Strips
Combo Order Number: 6 (3 strips, small fries, small fountain drink (upsize the sides for small fee))
Side: Fries, and a slice of Texas Toast
Number of Parts Served: 3 (2 available in Combo #8, additional strips also available sold separately.)
Serving Size: 6.13oz Sauces: Gravy, ranch sauce, Honey BBQ, Honey Mustard

This Texas based franchise has leapt to the fore with a satisfyingly fresh and generously proportioned filet of breast meat. While several of the fast food vendors have cut back on quality, this meal generally satisfies the need for fast chicken. Along with your chicken you get a slice of toast. Odd, but deeply satisfying in a way you'd never expect a slice of toast to be. Unfortunately you're getting a HUGE sodium intake with this meal. Your chicken is 1077mg all by itself, and then those fries begin their siren call...

Carl's Jr.

Overall Chicken Part Score: 9.0 Part Nomenclature: Breast Strips (Formerly the 'Pressed Chicken Star')
Combo Order Number: 9,10 (3 strips (5 strips in Combo 10), small fries, small fountain drink, upsize the sides for small fee)
Side: Fries
Number of Parts Served: 3,5
Sauces: Bar-B-Q, Honey Mustard

Carl's used to serve these sad little star shapes of pressed chicken meat. Several years ago they switched to giant fillets of all-breast meat cut lengthwise for maximum taste. They even had an add campaign where they point out that no-one knows where the 'nuggets' are on a chicken. Not that 'strips' are more easily found, but you can see their point. The good news is that the new chicken parts are leaps and bounds beyond the 'big 3' chicken parts. Steer clear of the large drink though, that sucker is 48 oz.! It makes you feel like you're at the movie theatre - I mean: who needs 1.5 lbs. of soda for lunch?

Jack in the Box

Overall Chicken Part Score: 8 Part Nomenclature: Crispy Chicken Strips
Combo Order Number: 13 (4pc, small fries, small fountain drink (upsize the sides for small fee))
Side: Fries (I suggest the seasoned curly fires)
Number of Parts Served: 4
Serving Size: 150g Sauces: Bar-B-Q, Honey Mustard, Frank's Red Hot

Jack serves giant planks of good quality chicken. The breading in thin, but well seasoned. The chicken is reasonably tasty. In addition, Jack also serves grilled chicken. I don't really feel like the grilled chicken is particularly edible, but your milage may vary. Apparently I only trust my food from fast food places if it has been run through the deep fryer to destroy any signs of life on it.

Burger King

Overall Chicken Part Score: 8 Part Nomenclature: Chicken Fries
Combo Order Number: 9 (9pc, small fries, small fountain drink (medium and large also available as combos))
Side: Fries, onion rings
Number of Parts Served: 9
Sauces: Bar-B-Q, Honey Mustard

When you see the pitch on these you know you are in trouble. BK wants to sell you chicken as an impulse finger food, and has no pretension towards this being anything but the MOST processed food ever. These are very tiny chicken parts in long, thin tube form. They are made from ground breast meat, so don't expect a great experience. They have a good breading, and a distinctively peppery flavor. I happen think BK's fries are much better than average. Your mileage may vary.

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Overall Chicken Part Score: 7 Part Nomenclature: Colonels Crispy Strips¨
Combo Order Number: 4 (3 fingers, a biscuit, potato wedges, small fountain drink (upsize the sides for small fee)
Side: potato wedges, mashed potatoes, coleslaw
Number of Parts Served: 3
Serving Size: 151g Sauces: Bar-B-Q, Honey Mustard, Honey

KFC knows chicken, and their fingers are no exception. The liberal breading is bland, but the chicken has good flavor. Sometimes they also have popcorn chicken, which a friend of mine thinks is made from all the bits leftover from a year of cutting chicken fingers. Either way you get a smaller portion of KFC's tasty chicken at a good price.


Overall Chicken Part Score: 7 Part Nomenclature: Chicken Selects
Combo Order Number: NA
Side: Fries
Number of Parts Served: 3, 5
Sauces: Bar-B-Q, Honey Mustard

McDonald's noticed that everyone else was serving actual cuts of chicken filet, and decided to step up themselves. As a result we have a kind freeze dried, mummified, thin cut, overly coated bit of chicken. It's not terrible, but it certainly reminds one that chicken is not always a healthy option in fast food land. Oddly, this item is worse for you than the traditional McNugget - the original fast food chicken part. Overall Chicken Part Score: 6 Part Nomenclature: McNuggets
Combo Order Number: 10
Side: Fries
Number of Parts Served: 5, 10
Sauces: Bar-B-Q, Honey Mustard

In some ways this is the classic chicken part. When people think of bits of chicken served in a fast food setting they think of the McNugget. These tasteless, irregular shapes of foodstuff hardly seem to be made of chicken at all. McDonald's fries may have more meat in them! Recently the Mc switched to using actual white meat in the McNugget, but they still seem pretty artificial. In their favor, however, are the inclusion of the famous Mickey-D's fries. They're also cheaper on Tuesdays.

© 2009, jESSElAND iNC.