Review of McDonald’s El Chicken Spicy
What they say:
Two tender chicken breast strips in a crispy coating, with Beechwood Smoked Bacon, Mexican salsa, Chilli Cheese sauce, Jalapeno slices, Tomato and Lettuce, all in a Cornbread-Style Bun.
Price: £4.29 (£5.79 as part of a medium meal).
Calories: 577 kcal.
As is nearly always the case with McDonald’s promotions, when there’s a new beef burger (in this case the Bacon Clubhouse Double), there’s a chicken sidekick and today is no exception. This time round McDonald’s has opted to turn up the heat a bit and we have the El Chicken Spicy.
The promo pictures look very enticing, thanks in no small part to that cornbread bun with a patterned crown, and as well as that, you’ve got cheese sauce, salsa, crispy chicken bacon and jalapeños. These are all very good things to eat. There’s also tomato and lettuce which, let’s face it, are never going to be major selling points.
So, on paper and in marketing shots, this is a terrific burger. Let’s have a look at the real thing.
My burger arrived in a colourful and distinctive promotional box. For the most part, McDonald’s does a great job with these boxes.
The burger inside looked largely like the pictures, again mostly thanks to that bun. I hadn’t even tasted the bun yet but already I liked it. Yes, boxes and buns can be considered just the things we put our burger stuff into, but for me they are part of the experience.
Once I took it out I saw prominent tomato which I’d rather leave out, but that’s how it comes. And lettuce – very generous and fresh lettuce. But at this point, this is where some minor issues started to come into play.
Instead of opting for a chicken patty they’ve gone with two Chicken Selects on the McDonald’s El Chicken Spicy. If you’ve had chicken selects before, they’re very good. A definite notch up from chicken nuggets in quality and to my eye, clearly developed to compete with KFC.
All that is fair enough. However, two chicken selects do not sit still as well as a flat chicken patty would, and that is a bit of a problem. When I picked it up, things started falling out. Lettuce especially, and almost the chicken too.
It’s a tough one too criticise though. Would I rather have McChicken Sandwich style chicken instead of the Selects? No, probably not. I like the chicken Selects, so I think this one is just a case of putting up with the slide.
Cheese was the next ingredient, and although it’s good to find a chicken burger with cheese (spicy cheese sauce in this case), this burger would’ve benefitted from more of it. I really struggled to see it, let alone taste it.
The bacon did kick in a bit, and I’m glad it was there, but high street Bacon often just isn’t obvious enough – I don’t just mean there’s not enough of it, I mean that often it doesn’t bring a great deal of flavour to the party.
The chicken is really great, well coated in that crisp blanket. The obvious comparison with KFC is unavoidable and I’d have to say the Colonel and McD’s is close to neck-and-neck.
Whilst there’s little to discern between the juicy meat and the coating, I’d say the clincher is the seasoning. But there’s not a lot in it. Chicken Selects are a great addition to the menu here.
And that leaves that salsa with the jalapeños. Again, just like the cheese sauce, this was applied perhaps rather too conservatively. I’d love this burger to be saucier. In the case of the salsa it wasn’t quite as much a problem as the cheese sauce, and did do enough to keep this from being too dry, but I’d still be inclined to apply a bit more of it (and a lot more of the cheese sauce).
The jalapeños did what jalapeños are supposed to do – add a bit of enjoyable and manageable heat and I love them for it.
So there you have it, not McDonald’s spiciest offering yet but a decent LTO sidekick with a couple of flaws. It was good but probably just not quite as good as I thought it might be from the marketing and I may have preferred a Clubhouse Double instead.