I’ll never get it (The Elusive McDonald’s McRib)

A few months ago, I asked for your help. Some of you tried to help; others decided to make more work for me by starting a tangential conversation about Arby’s.

The McDonald’s McRib.

Why do people love this so much?

As it turns out, McDonald’s recently ran a McRib campaign, and I had to gain the first hand experience of this sandwich. I realize I’m treading into the murky waters of “bloggers who complain about the McRib,” and it’s like shooting fish in a jelly jar, but I’m all about full disclosure. And, the story takes a rather surprising turn. So hear me out.

I don’t normally eat at McDonalds. Hell, I don’t ever eat at McDonalds. I used to, a lot. I never minded the food. Hey, if you have to eat cheap, and have friends that handed you tons of disgusting food, why not?

There is a McDonald’s within driveable lunch distance from my job. One day, I made the drive over to the McDonald’s. Apparently, this was the same day a school field trip decided to use this very same McDonald’s as a pit stop. Ohh well.

After a long wait in the queue with little pips running around my legs, I ordered an Angus bacon and cheese burger meal, medium fries, with a diet Dr. Pepper. Ohh, and a McRib sandwich.

It was October 29

I unboxed the McRib for evidence gathering purposes.

From the beginning, I’ll start by saying that it looked exactly how I thought it would. Actually, scratch that. I expected the sauce to be tighter and darker. For review, I am on the record describing the McRib sandwich as “a pork burger bathed in BBQ sauce, shaped like a rounded rectangle with “ribs” sticking out, and served with onions and pickles.”

I was right about everything except the ’rounded rectangle with “ribs” sticking out’ part. I guess they stopped adding this frivolous and ridiculous detail.

Biting into this sandwich is like biting into a crunchy peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That is to say, mooshy with the occasional crunch from a bit of raw onion or pickle. After all, the steamed pork patty is allegedly made from unmarketable parts of pork, which are fashioned together and bound by an inherent high collagen (i.e. jelly) level in these parts as well as several binders and even bleaching agents found in yoga mats. The bun is basically white bread. There’s really not much to bite into there. And what you do bite into has no flavor at all.

Where I thought this was going to hit a home run was the sauce. After all, Burger King has, in the past, partnered with Bulls Eye BBQ sauce to make the legendary “Bulls Eye Burger” later rebranded to the “Rodeo Cheeseburger.” The BBQ sauce had to be amazing right?

The BBQ sauce on the McRib is disgusting. It tastes like a bland tomato sauce. There is no sweet component, and it is thin and runny. This was not at all what I expected to find on a McRib. Especially after this image, which clearly gave me the wrong idea.

I’m sorry everybody; I couldn’t eat much more than half of this.

But there was a silver lining to this black cloud.

The quality of the Angus Burger I ate impressed me. I am going to say I’m teetering between impressed and floored. I never in 1 million years expected to experience such a high quality looking and tasting sandwich at McDonalds. I don’t have pictures because I never intended to write about it, but the Angus burger was great.

The burger patty was nicely formed with a coarsely and irregularly ground beef. The cheese isn’t anything to write home about, and the bun, although tidy, isn’t anything too special. They use fresh red onions and thick slices of very good tasting bacon. I’m not going to lie when I say that they probably tricked me into loving this. I’m going to say this though, and I have lots of love for both Red Robin and Five Guys: The McDonalds Angus Burger can give Red Robin and Five Guys burgers a run for their money. The potential is all there; it’s just a matter of some focus.

But anyway, I tried the McRib. I hated it. Unless you hold a gun to my head, I’ll probably never try it again.


9 thoughts on “I’ll never get it (The Elusive McDonald’s McRib)

  • Jeff

    Man, Arby’s is such a great dining establishment.

  • Valerae

    I don’t get it. What’s the point of calling it the McRIB if it doesn’t look like ribs? Is it made from rib meat? We may never know.

    That looks and sounds nothing like the McRib I loved in my youth. Here’s my full disclosure – I’m about to hit the 10 year anniversary of my last bite of McDonalds. But back in high school I ate there all the damn time. I remember REALLY loving the McRib – it was much darker in color and I recall the sauce being tangy and sweet.

    As Alton Brown so politely puts it, I don’t want to count the number of tiles on my bathroom floors three times in one sitting so I think I’ll avoid the adventure of trying the McRib again…besides, I also want to hit that 10 year anniversary of the McD’s ban. I love numbers with zeroes. They make me feel good about myself.

  • -R.

    You sir are a braver man than I. Under no circumstances would I ever contemplate a Mc-AnyThing (15+ years running of being fast-food free (BK, McD, etc)). While I suppose it’s good to know about the Angus Burger should I become stranded in a shopping mall food court, there’s little chance of me ever consuming one. Elucidating write-up however; special thanks to the link about the bun ingredients being shared with gym mats. Yum.

  • Darth

    I said it before, you either love or hate the McRib. I love you, you hate it.

    I will however inform you of a recent trip I had to Burger King. I was hungry and in a rush, so I decided to go there after having not been to one in about 8 months. There were 2 menu options that stood out. The first being the Western BBQ burger, which looked similar to the Rodeo Burger. I believe it is exactly the Rodeo Burger, just renamed – because it was just as delicious.

    Then I noticed their attempt to compete with the McDonald’s Angus Burger, called the Chef’s Choice Burger. In my honest opinion – it was the best fast food burger i’ve ever had. It definitely competed with Red Robin, Five Guys, or any other burger establishment. I highly recommend it. It is far superior than any other burger BK has ever made. It tastes like a REAL burger from a grill, not something you know was pulled out of the freezer and defrosted . . . although it probably was.

  • Darth

    Er – I love it, not you. LMAO. For the record – I was thinking of McRibs when I typed that, not you.

  • C

    Never had a McRib, never will.

    I’ll have to try the Angus burger at McD’s, I did try the Chef’s Choice Burger from BK and had the opposite reaction of Darth. I found the hamburger patty itself to be a little dense, tough and off putting. Biting into a gray burger patty with that thickness all I could think about was the ‘pink sludge’ it was probably made from. I also found the roll to be too hard, dense and weirdly sticky, like it had been frozen and thawed. Not a fan.

    P.S. I worked at an Arby’s for 5 years and I have the 5 year pin to prove it.

    • derryX

      You may be the perfect person to ask this question then-

      My friend Jeff, who commented above, use to have an Arby’s Preferred Customer card. It was like a credit card, and he carried it around so much, the thing split in half longitudinally. When he tried presenting it at a local Albany Arby’s about 4-5 years ago, they looked at him like he had 5 heads.

      Do you know anything about these cards? What perks (etc) did they get you?

      • C

        Sorry, I do not remember those cards at all. I worked at an Arby’s out in Central NY, Arby’s of Weedsport specifically from 1998-2003. Best job ever.

        The only thing our regular and preferred customers got was their own ceramic Arby’s coffee mug that sat on a shelf next to the registers, they could come in and get free coffee and tea anytime they wanted.

  • Darth

    BTW – maybe you should try the DarthRib instead. Get a McRib, ask for bacon on it, and get a small fries. Then pour about half of the fries ontop of the McRib patty. It makes it much better.


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