Monday, November 15, 2010

The Prince Tries a McRib: The Post-Mortem

The sandwich in question, resting on a totally classy placemat.

So as many of you have no doubt heard, McDonalds' McRib made its triumphant return to the fast food giant this month. People across the country have been going nuts over this thing. I admit that when the McRib was in its heyday, I never ventured to try it. I always missed out on its subsequent limited engagements, as well. When I learned last month that it would return, I decided that I would try one, come hell or high water.

So this weekend I decided that I should just take the plunge and snag one from the local Mickey D's. I was a little leery of eating the sandwich (and McDonalds in general) since I saw that picture of the pink paste that eventually becomes Chicken McNuggets, but I pressed on for the sake of my readers. What would you do without me?

The McRib box very helpfully informs you that you are about to eat pork through the use of this well-drawn picture of a pig. This would prove invaluable later on when I tasted the sandwich and needed to convince myself that it was pork and not possibly man-flesh. I don't know what the scoop is for though. Presumably it is loaded up with powdered preservatives.

The McRib passed in the inital occular patdown. That's a McRib all right. It's also pretty saucy and messy, just like ribs! This might not be too bad.

When you go down one layer deeper we see the actual porkish patty and tangy BBQ sauce along with a shitload of onions and pickles. I've never had ribs covered with onions and pickles so I don't know why the sandwich is covered with them. I honestly don't understand why McDonalds puts onions on their Happy Meal burgers either, but that is a topic for another time. I could talk for days about that.

Next up came the cross-section of the sandwich. I feel that this adds some legitimacy to the whole sordid affair. It also allows you to check out the inner working of the McRib. It wasn't pretty. After looking at the cross section for a bit, I got the creeping suspicion that the McRib began it's life as a pink paste much like the Chicken McNuggets that now haunt my nightmares. That didn't exactly inspire confidence in me.

I decided that it was time to put up or shut and just dove right into the sandwich. I took my first bite and came to the immediate conclusion that the McRib pretty much just tasted like BBQ sauce. That's it. It wasn't even a particularly great BBQ sauce. It was just a sauce. The only other flavor was the bread. Despite being a flavorless patty that looks surprisingly like a sandal, the McRib did actually contribute something to the sandwich. It added texture. Unfortunately, the best way to describe the texture of the McRib patty itself is "slippery." It had a spongey quality to it and yet my teeth slid through it very easily. Almost too easily. I immediately began to think about weird meat grown in sci-fi labs a la "The Space Merchants" (Nerd Alert!). Strangely enough I did not throw up. It could have actually been weird future meat I probably would have kept it down. I just didn't enjoy it.

Thoroughly repulsed by my first bite, I decided to give it another one and see if it got any better. It may shock you to find out that it did not. The second bite was as bad as the first. Possibly worse since I knew what I was getting into this time.

I threw in the towel after that.

Fortunately for you, I like to play with my food, so I took this picture that very clearly shows the "ribs" of the McRib patty, which makes absolutely no sense to me. Did they test market and ribless version and find that customers wanted the illusion of bones in their sandwich? Did it make the experience more believable? I wish I knew.

Thankfully I had the foresight to order a Quarter Pounder with Cheese for myself on the off-chance that I did not like the McRib. After my experiment I was looking like a damn genius. That's not to say that the burger was good though. It sucked pretty bad too but it didn't McRib suck. The guy at the drive-thru also screwed up in a good way and gave me two orders of fries instead of the one I ordered, so the night was not a total loss.

Thinking on the McRib's popularity, I am left scratching my head. Is this the way it always was? Was it better back in the day? I really don't get why people love it so much. Hell, The Simpsons even did an episode about Homer touring the country and eating the Krusty Burger version of the sandwich. The McRib is some kind of weird cult icon and I just feel left out. It's like The Rocky Horror Picture Show of fast food sandwiches.

The other thing that really burned me up about the McRib is that it made me think about the delicious BBQ I could be having instead. There are a million places I would rather eat a BBQ pork sandwich from and they would all be phenomenal. I guess the McRib is kind of like getting a McCrab Cake. If you are a smart eater then you know better than to buy it. In this case I was not. Lesson learned.

Anyway, if you are a McRib fan then I am sorry for denouncing your god. I know how fanatical you guys can be. Don't bomb my house or anything. Just keep those sandwiches away from me. I'm still having trouble sleeping thanks to this thing.


  1. That looks good and bad at the same time. I'm curious to learn more about your stance on onions on Happy Meal burgers... because I've always loved those little onions on the burgers... those and the pickles make those hamburgers, in my opinion. But, as you wrote, it's a topic for another time...

  2. Well.... I had no intentions of trying one and after this write up, I definitely don't have intentions.

    Thanks for your hard work.

  3. My placemats look pretty good, don't they?

  4. Point #1: I'm really excited about Greg's sentence structure first and foremost. My problem with the onions basically boils down to a problem with raw onions in general.

    Point #2: McRib can be avoided.

    Point #3: The placemats are classy as shit.

  5. The thought of McCrab Cake makes me throw up a little bit!

  6. Why? Do my ellipses remind you of all those terrible little diced onions...?

  7. I do so love these. So glad they're back!