The Secret To The Success Of Chick-Fil-A's Grilled Nuggets

Chick-fil-A's chicken is unique in the world of fried chicken. It's not so much fried chicken as it is pressure-cooked chicken, according to Chick-fil-A's website. While a bit of a departure from the usual deep fryers, it's no secret that this method is what put Chick-fil-A's chicken on the map. There is a reason why Chick-fil-A was "America's favorite restaurant" for five years in a row (via Reader's Digest), after all. But, if the famous pressure-cooking method is what helps give those sandwiches and nuggets their legendary taste, wouldn't Chick-fil-A's grilled chicken nuggets be somewhat less popular by comparison, since it skips over the pressure cooking process? After all, why mess with the original formula or else face a disaster like Coca-Cola's New Coke?

Fortunately, it would seem that's not the case. According to the company's official newsletter, The Chicken Wire, Chick-fil-A introduced grilled nuggets as an item exclusive to the kid's menu back in 2012. The nuggets turned out to be so popular among kids and adults alike that they were added to the regular menu line-up.  What exactly lies behind the popularity of these little grilled morsels? The story behind them, despite their simple appearance, is actually one of innovation and invention. 

Chick-fil-A's grilled nuggets were seven years in the making

As The Chicken Wire explains, the lore behind Chick-fil-A's grilled nuggets isn't as simple as tossing some pieces of chicken on a grill and calling it a day. The nuggets were the brainchild of seven years of testing and experimenting with the grilled chicken recipe, alongside an enormous sum of $50 million dollars. Most of that money, the newsletter explains, went into the development of a new grill designed by "Chick-fil-A scientists." This grill was designed to sear chicken on iron grates the same way your average backyard grill does but in a much faster way. Chick-fil-A also claims that not only was a specialized grill designed for the nuggets but a special marinade was developed for them as well.

Another big selling point of the grilled nuggets is their supposed nutritional value, at least compared to other fast food offerings. In fact, CBS News covered the "Chick-fil-A diet" — a sarcastic reference to the company's suggestion that eating an 8-pack of grilled nuggets was a "healthy habit" (via Twitter) — to see if such claims were true. While the nuggets did contain a modest 140 calories and 23 grams of protein, there was a moderately high sodium content that made them unsuitable for eating every day. 

In the end, though, the outlet found that, although you couldn't exactly use them as the next superfood, there was no harm in consuming Chickfil-A's grilled nuggets in moderation.