Love can be cruel. A longing heart can slow time to a crawl — blurring moments together into a disorientating haze of monotonous pining. Emotions grow convoluted, like the opening of this article, constantly contradicting themselves to the point of self-parody. Perhaps what we’re really trying to say is love is a lot like Westworld. It’s weird, hard to follow, and everyone pretends they know what it’s all about but at the end of the day the suspicion in the back of our minds is that it’s just stupid.
What does any of this have to do with chicken tenders? Very little. Except that while researching this piece I often found myself humming “Try a Little Tenderness” in anticipation of the golden fried perfection that is the chicken tender, a foodstuff that is my own one true love.
Full disclosure, before I was a handsome genius who writes for Uproxx, I was once, like many of my contemporaries, a down-on-his-luck, jobless millennial. My only joy came from killing industries and eating chicken tenders. So it was a natural fit for me to rank all of the fast food chicken tenders. And the scale today is… Jon Cryers! Who better to represent the unending love and passion we have for chicken tenders than Jon Cryer’s Duckie, attempting to peacock his way into Molly Ringwald’s heart in Pretty in Pink with his passionate lip-syncing of Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness?”
Okay… truth be told, in hindsight Duckie was kind of an entitled dick. But problematic character arcs aside, it works for this article. C’mon! Chicken Tenders? Try a little tenderness? It’s a match made in heaven, like fried chicken and dipping sauce.
8. McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Tenders
These are…not great. Admittedly, McDonald’s has upped their chicken game considerably in the last decade — we can still remember a time when the McNuggets weren’t even 100% chicken — but the Buttermilk Crispy Tenders don’t even compare to their smaller more processed counterparts. Dry, flakey, with a batter that appears to have pepper but is essentially flavorless, these just don’t work.
Although the Chicken Tender is inherently more dip-able than the McNugget due to its more slender shape, you’ll find yourself going heavy on the sauce here and that’s a problem with McDonald’s weird Soviet-esque rationing of sauce. We think the math breaks down to something like, every four tenders equals one sauce cup, but in an order of 10 tenders WHAT OF THE OTHER TWO TENDER’S RONALD?!?!
SCORE: ONE DUCKIE.
If disappointment had a flavor, it’d be McDonald’s attempt at the chicken tender. Yes, okay we could just pay for extra sauce cups, but the point is a sauce shouldn’t be a required part of the chicken tender experience, it should elevate it. If you can’t make deep fried chicken work, you’re doing something wrong.