This pink goop is “ammonia-treated lean beef trimmings” and truly does look like strawberry soft serve. It’s a mash-up of mystery meat parts that are stripped by a machine and then added to burger patties and chicken nuggets to help beef up their appearance (It’s actually not a mystery, but it’s really gross).
McDonald’s did use beef trimmings in its products up until 2011 — a very common practice for low-cost meat products, even in grocery stores — but the image association of pink slime and McNuggets remains today.
A popular TikTok trend shows fast-food employees drawing back the curtain on how our favorite meals are made. For example, Chick-fil-A uses real raw chicken to make its nuggets, while Panera allegedly defrosts pre-packaged mac and cheese.
It comes as no surprise then that TikTok user Isaac, who works at McDonald’s, is racking up views for his behind-the-scenes videos. Of course, other users asked him to show how McDonald’s makes chicken nuggets.
In his video showing the process, which now has almost 2 million views, Isaac slams a bag of frozen chicken nuggets on the counter to get them to unstick. He then puts a bunch of frozen nuggets into a fryer basket and shakes them around. Finally, he puts the basket into the fryer, and the frozen nuggets emerge as the classic McNuggets we all know and love.
No pink slime!
What caught the attention of several TikTok viewers, however, was that there are apparently just bags of frozen chicken nuggets readily available.
Others seemed skeptical about where the bag of nuggets came from in the first place, but Isaac answered the question in the video’s comments: “Tyson.” The process is allegedly the same for spicy nuggets, except Isaac says the bags are red.
Collectively, everyone could agree on one thing — that McNuggets taste best when they’re freshly fried.
“I don’t even care if they started out as pink slime,” one brave person commented. “Nothing beats fresh nuggets and fries.”
“I never knew how they were supposed to taste until I worked at [McDonald’s] and had them fresh,” another added.
If you liked this story, check out this article on what happened when a McDonald’s customer ordered a 10-piece McNugget meal and got something else entirely.
More from In The Know: