Good Chicken Vs Bad Chicken: A Photo Guide

1. Roast Chicken

pegwinn
pegwinn

Is there a more fetching sight in this whole, wide world than that of a chicken rotating, slowly but surely, on a rotisserie spit, drippings of chicken juice falling to the pan below? I believe that there is not. The only question that remains on cutting into the beast is just how much it has dried out in the time since leaving the spit. Often, that answer is “a lot.”

Chickeny Goodness Factor: 7/10

2. Chicken Tenders

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

I know I’m going to lose some allies here, but I think it’s time we put this out in the open: Chicken tenders are so, so much better than chicken nuggets. There is no moment more satisfying than pulling apart a steaming-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside tender, watching the white meat separate in all its stringy glory. No nugget can offer that joy.

Chickeny Goodness Factor: 10/10

3. Jerk Chicken

Just George
Just George

The key question, when it comes to jerk chicken, is the following: Is this actual jerk chicken, or is this something that was left on the grill 10 minutes too long at some sort of Jimmy Buffet-themed roadside diner? Never settle for a substitute, and you shall be greatly rewarded.

Chickeny Goodness Factor: 7/10

4. Fried Chicken

galant
galant

Having lived a decent part of my young life in the southeast, I feel more qualified than most to speak to the importance with which fried chicken factors into so many daily lives. We’re not talking about the lackluster offerings of KFC, we’re talking about real, brined, buttermilk-battered, lard-fried chicken. The good stuff. The best stuff.

Chickeny Goodness Factor: 10/10

5. Chicken Nuggets

Spilt Milk
Spilt Milk

There are just so many variables when it comes to chicken nuggets. Are they the traditional rounded-rhombus shape, or are they dinosaurs? Are they crispy, or strangely mealy and chewy? Are they all-white meat, or that grayish-purple color McDonald’s used to produce them in? Your nugget experience is just a little different every time, and maybe that’s what makes it so great.

Chickeny Goodness Factor: 8/10

6. Chicken Salad

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

I hate chicken salad. Tuna salad is by far the superior meat salad product. There, I said it.

Chickeny Goodness Factor: 0/10

7. Shredded Chicken

breville
breville

For when you want to eat pulled pork, but aren’t ready to commit to the calories. And I’m sorry, but no matter how good the pulled chicken is objectively, there is just a little something missing that is present in its porky cousin.

Chickeny Goodness Factor: 5/10

8. Chicken Pot Pie

tonispilsbury
tonispilsbury

I’m about to let you in on a little secret here: I am famous for my chicken pot pie recipe. It has gone through several iterations in the five-or-so years I’ve been making it, but one thing is certain: it brings grown men to their knees. The secret to any good chicken pot pie? White wine. When a pot pie is done right, it is the perfect mix of textures, flavors, and heat. When it is done wrong, it is like spitting in the face of God.

Chickeny Goodness Factor: 8/10

9. Chik’n

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

What a tragedy. What a flaccid, vaguely-green tragedy. No.

Chickeny Goodness Factor: 0/10

10. Chicken Caesar Salad

pellesten
pellesten

In an ideal world, all chicken caesar salads would be perfect. Thick, egg-based dressing, garlicky croutons, crisp romaine lettuce, generous shavings of parmesan, perfectly-blackened chicken. But let’s be honest, chicken caesar salads are often the most disappointing thing on the menu. Watery dressing, rock-hard croutons, sprinklings of “cheese” that tastes like plastic, and the worst cuts of chicken. We have to grade this in reality, not in imagination.

Chickeny Goodness Factor: 6/10

11. Chicken Noodle Soup

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

I’m gonna put this out there: I feel like chicken noodle soup is overrated. Occasionally, I have tasted a soup with rich, herby stock and thick noodles and nice pieces of chicken and veggies. But that has been incredibly rare. Most of the time, it’s just some Campbell’s-level mess served with half a sandwich. And I won’t judge it entirely on my experience, but ask yourselves: How good is chicken noodle soup, really? After all the hype, what remains? These are questions we should have on our minds going into 2014, if we want a life of robust soups — and I know I do.

Chickeny Goodness Factor: ?/10 TC mark

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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