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McDonald’s Spicy BBQ Sandwich Will Have to Try Harder If It Wants to Win the 2019 Chicken Sandwich War

Plus, you want a hot dog couch, and more news to start your day

A fried chicken patty and pickles, onions, and brown sauce on a seeded bun
McDonald’s Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

“How do you do, fellow kids? We heard you like chicken sandwiches?”

McDonald’s has tried, desperately, to get into the chicken sandwich game over the past few years. Last year, they introduced a chicken sandwich with pickles on a bun to their dollar menu, a clear attempt to compete with the classic Chick-fil-A sandwich, but it never quite caught on. Neither did their buttermilk crispy chicken sandwich. Clearly, McDonald’s was getting the message they should stick with nuggets because sandwiches aren’t its forte. But in the chicken sandwich renaissance that’s taking over fast food, obviously they tried again, this time with a spicy BBQ chicken sandwich that apparently sucks.

According to a Business Insider taste tester, “It was like McDonald’s slapped two chicken tenders on a bun with some onion slivers and BBQ sauce. I wondered why McDonald’s had even bothered to release it.” While Delish testers said the bun was good, others concluded the BBQ sauce was not spicy at all. And The Takeout says it deserves a “participation trophy,” but that you’d be happier ordering nuggets. And maybe they thought having BBQ sauce would differentiate them from the sea of fried chicken sandwiches, but overall the sandwich has a very dad-trying-to-prove-to-you-he’s-still-with-it vibe. You’re better off just bringing a bun to Popeyes.

And in other news...

  • A woman tried to treat a group of homeless people to Taco Bell, only for the manager to shut down the restaurant and kick everyone out. An employee said they were under strict orders to not let homeless people into the store. [Detroit Free Press]
  • If you have $12,000 to spare, maybe get this matching hot dog and hamburger furniture set. [BI]
  • PepsiCo want to reduce its use of virgin (meaning new) plastic by 35% by 2025. [FoodBev]
  • Recently, employees at Burger King and Jack In The Box refused to serve deaf customers. [Inc]
  • Customer-facing tablets that allow customers to choose their tips are apparently confounding some people. Which is a good reminder that, even with counter service, you should be tipping 20%. [NYTimes]
  • A woman dreamt about eating her engagement ring, only to wake up and realize she actually did it. [NBC News]
  • Jon Taffer of Bar Rescue is releasing his own line of hard seltzers next month. [Taffer’s Mix]
  • We don’t know who needs to hear this, but tacos don’t make good bookmarks.