I have often written on the subject of my bewilderment that after frozen, fried foods being around for over fifty years, they haven’t figured out how to make it truly crispy yet. Pre-cooked/fried at the factory, no matter how you screw around with it at home (following the manufacturer’s instructions), you can’t get that crisp / crunch there you were expecting.
Continuing my quest to find such a product, I tried out Tyson’s Buffalo Chicken Strips. Since they are fully cooked, they truly are a “heat and eat” product, which you can opt to “cook” in the oven or in the microwave. You know me, it’s a personal quirk that I always opt for oven heating. (The package notes that “conventional oven” is the “preferred method”).
These strips are made with chicken breast and “rib meat” and a whole host of other ingredients (see ingredient list and nutrition info below) (thankful it doesn’t include the phrase “mechanically separated). They are supposed to come out of a 400 degree oven after 18-20 minutes.
How were they? They’ve made some progress on the crispiness. At least now, it’s “intermittent.” The buffalo flavor is present, but not very strong. Appeal for the mass market, one supposes. Where these strips fall down is in their attempt to resemble actual protein muscle. Since these strips are made from combinations of meat, one can only assume the protein is ground or pureed and made into a slurry, in order to be reformed. At least that’s how McDonald’s does it, according to this “official video” from McDonald’s of Canada. (McDonald’s Canada gets their nuggets from Cargill). The primary ingredient differential seems to be that McDonald’s adds chicken skin for flavor, and Tyson uses chicken broth.
In any case, for my taste, while I was OK with the breading and flavor, the protein muscle is a little limp (see pic below). Would I purchase again? Despite their convenience, that aspect isn’t enough of a value proposition for me to be a regular purchaser. At $7.00 (Wal Mart) for a package, it comes out to $4.48 per pound, whereas whole chickens are pretty stable at a buck a pound. So I’d buy the Tyson strips again if they were on sale. I think my comfortable price point would be around $3.00 per pound, at the outside.
My strips were accompanied on the plate by chunky Bleu Cheese dressing, made by what I believe is the best salad dressing manufacturer in the country, Litehouse Foods of Sand Point, ID. They offer a number of varieties of blue cheese dressing, and I like them all. My favorite is their “Big Bleu,” which is even chunkier than chunky!
Tyson is the world’s second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork only behind BrazilianJBS S.A., with 2011 sales of US$32 billion. They got even bigger this year with their acquisition of Hillshire Foods (formerly Sara Lee).
Ingredients: Boneless, skinless chicken breast strips with rib meat, chicken broth, bleached wheat flour, vinegar, aged cayenne peppers, wheat flour, salt, less than 2 percent of the following: modified corn starch, spices, maltodextrin, yellow corn flour, sodium phosphates,modified tapioca starch, vinegar powder (maltodextrin, modified food starch, and vinegar), sodium diacetate, dextrose, sugar, dehydrated onion, dehydrated garlic, xanthan gum, yeast, guar gum, spice extractives, caramel color, oleoresin paprika, carob bean gum,natural flavor, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate), onion powder, polysorbate 80, extractives of paprika and granulated garlic. Breading set in vegetable oil.
Tyson Buffalo Chicken Strips Review