Forty slices of Wonder Bread, half a gallon of whole milk, 48 eggs, and 40 pounds of ground chicken: these are some of the basic ingredients viral TikTokers Nick DiGiovanni and Lynn Davis (better known online as Lynja from cookingwithlynja) used to make the world’s largest chicken nugget last month. The nugget weighed 20.96 kilograms (46.21 pounds), which, according to DiGiovanni, is approximately 1,300 times the size of a regular-size chicken nugget.
“I genuinely really love chicken nuggets,” said Nick DiGiovanni, who is from Milton and known for competing in the cooking show, “MasterChef,” in 2019. “We basically used my dinos nuggets recipe and multiplied that by a couple hundred.”
DiGiovanni and Davis are the first to officially hold this previously unbroken record. Their baking process is documented in an eight-minute YouTube video, which currently has more than 2 million views.
This is not their first collaboration — or even their first world record. Last year, DiGiovanni and Davis set the record for the world’s largest cake pop with a mega confetti cake creation that weighed 44.24 kilograms (97.53 pounds). Both creators started making Internet content in the early days of the pandemic. DiGiovanni reached out to Davis via DM in 2020, and the two became fast friends and have made several videos together.
The first step for creating the jumbo nugget was dumping bread and milk in a bowl and mixing it together.
“A lot of people just have never heard of doing that,” said DiGiovanni in a phone interview, “But that’s the way to make a good juicy nugget. Put that bread in there after soaking up all that milk and then you’ll put it into kind of a nasty looking mush, but once that’s incorporated in the actual nugget mix it really holds all that moisture and retains it throughout the cooking process.”
According to Zach Blank, DiGiovanni’s head of operations, Guinness World Records has strict standards for how much a food item has to weigh in order to be a contender for previously unbroken records. For the world’s largest chicken nugget, it was 15 kilograms, or just over 33 pounds. The video documenting their record was actually the culmination of about 3 months of planning and work with Guinness World Records and consulting with chef Bill Collins to develop the recipe.
To prepare for the mega nugget, DiGiovanni and his team made a trial nugget, which took 12 hours to bake. On the day they set the nugget record, the process took 10 hours to film, and they were under the supervision of a food inspector, a surveyor, and a Guinness World Record adjudicator named Claire.
“What I really loved about breaking these worlds records is the engineering involved,” said Davis, who is a retired MIT trained engineer. “With the chicken nugget, a wire cage had to be created so when we put all that ground chicken on a pan, it didn’t all just leak out and flatten out.”
The wire cage was made of wire screening from Lowes which Collins, a personal chef with a background in recipe development from western Massachusetts helped them put together.
“I was thinking about how you actually get this huge amount of ground chicken into and out of a pan,” explained Collins. “I made it so you can pull the side down, so we could apply more breading around it while it was baking to give it more of the right look and texture.”
The nugget was so large, it couldn’t be baked in a traditional oven. They prepared the nugget in DiGiovanni’s studio in Cambridge, loaded it into his car, and drove it over to Cambridge School of Culinary Arts to be baked in its industrial oven. Once in the oven, they checked on it every couple of hours, and toward the end, they folded the wire cage down and used paint brushes to apply egg wash and breadcrumbs to the sides of the nugget.
After about eight hours, the nugget was ready. The team brought it back to DiGiovanni’s studio where it was officially weighed. When the record breaking nugget was officially certified, the duo cut the nugget like a cake and distributed it amongst the crew and people who were there.
“It wasn’t bad. It’s kind of like meatloaf,” said Davis. “I thought it was very edible.”
Davis brought her share to a friend’s house and ate it with gravy and potatoes. DiGiovanni, hungry after the long day of filming, ate a giant hunk plain. Blank froze some and is “still snacking on [it] to this day.”
Serena Puang was a Globe intern in 2022. Follow her on Twitter @SerenaPuang.