By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Sep 17, 2020 at 8:29 PM

The world of fast food just got hotter – or did it, really?

McDonald's recently introduced a spicy new take on their beloved chicken McNuggets, coating the popular poultry pieces with some bonus chili pepper and cayenne (plus a new hot sauce to dunk them in called "Mighty Sauce"). But would the world's most famous restaurant chain really create a spicy menu item that's ACUALLY spicy? Or were these McNuggets just walked past the seasoning cabinet at McD's headquarters?

Of course, as OnMilwaukee's resident spicy food expert AND garbage food expert, I had to give these new nuggs a nibble – plus compare them to the supreme of singe-inducing drive-thru chicken snacks, Wendy's spicy chicken nuggets. And because a taste test should probably include someone with actual taste and a palate, I roped in OnMilwaukee food editor, FoodCrush podcast co-host and culinary queen Lori Fredrich to feast on this fiery fast food. 

Would these new McNuggets actually bring the heat? Or would it be another 2020 disappointment to add to the pile?

The verdict? We're not lovin' it. 

Unfortunately, as you'd expect from a massive food chain trying to serve as many people and satisfy as many palates as possible, these spicy McNuggets are pretty tame. If you like McNuggets, you'll probably like these just fine; everything you love – the crispy coating; the fatty, slightly spongey chicken filling – is there. But if you're looking for a kick from McDonald's kitchen, I'm sad to report you're in the wrong place. There's a little bit of a low simmer to these bites, but it's a spicy hit that your tongue really has to hunt for to taste.

If you want some fiery flavor, definitely order the "Mighty Sauce" on the side, as the chili pepper and cayenne really come through with a decent burn (by fast food standards). But so do the vinegar base and fruity complementary flavors, overwhelming anything in the nugget and turning the sauce into more of an assault. Plus, as any good grillmaster can tell you, if your meat requires sauce for flavor (and juiciness, in the dry McNuggets' case), you've officially messed up your meat. 

In the end, combined with the "Mighty Sauce," these spicy McNuggets may bring a little more heat than Wendy's, but the latter were meatier, more fully flavorful and just overall more satisfying. (And, according to Lori, more like ACTUAL chicken.) If you want McNuggets with heat, just get the regular McNuggets with the "Mighty Sauce." The spicy ones won't give you what you need without a crutch.

Stay tuned for more (and hopefully more successful) FoodCrush Live taste tests in the future! In the meantime, check out a few of our past taste tests here.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.