Perdue’s turkey ThanksNuggets make us thankful for dark meat

breaded turkey nuggets on sheet pan
Photo: Dennis Lee

Just last week, Perdue released a limited-time-only item called ThanksNuggets. There were only 100 bags available and they sold out in under three minutes. These curious poultry novelties combined all the flavors of Thanksgiving into two bite-sized nuggets: One includes dark turkey meat blended with a cranberry sauce and stuffing flavor, and one features white turkey meat “inspired” by the flavor of sweet potato.

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Because I’m perpetually curious about foods flavored to simulate other foods, Perdue was kind enough to send me a sample, which included the ThanksNuggets and the suggested pairings of gravy and cranberry relish for dipping sauces. I followed the cooking directions, bakeing them for 12 minutes, and then had my first frozen nugget lunch in who knows how many years/decades. I added some instant mashed potatoes on the side, just to uphold the spirit of a lazy Thanksgiving.

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gravy relish turkey nuggets mashed potatoes
Photo: Dennis Lee

The white meat nugget was vaguely shaped like a turkey, though I did have to crane my neck a little to figure out what it was. A plain bite didn’t yield a ton of flavor, and it was hard for both my fiancée and I to detect anything remotely resembling sweet potato. A glance at the ingredients indeed showed no actual sweet potato. The breading did have some sweetness to it, more than, say, a typical Perdue frozen chicken nugget, but I’m not sure I would have noticed unless someone (or the packaging) pointed it out.

However, dipping the nugget in the gravy was fun, and it makes me wonder why people don’t use gravy as a dipping sauce for nuggets in general, all year round. I’m going to start rethinking my dunking habits.

On the other hand, the drumstick nugget with dark meat had actual cranberry bits in it. This turkey nugget was also sweet, and after a few bites, it became weirdly compelling to eat. It was particularly juicy, and I soon realized I had grown to like them, especially dipped into the cranberry relish. Did I notice any “stuffing” flavor? Not particularly, but I was enamored enough with the cranberry that it didn’t matter.

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This makes me wonder: Why aren’t turkey nuggets a regular, more widely available item? Or dark meat nuggets, for that matter? Because I’d go to town on those—or maybe a mixed bag of dark and white nuggets, to simulate the whole bird. Overall, I wouldn’t really consider this a lazy replacement for Thanksgiving, because so many of the holiday’s traditional flavors aren’t coming through sufficiently in nugget form. But I would absolutely eat these again. If there’s a wider release, try them. They’re worth it for the fun.

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Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

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DISCUSSION

There were only 100 bags available and they sold out in under three minutes.

This kind of nonsense makes me furious.