McDonald's McRib is back - for a limited time - at participating restaurants. Although the McRib has made limited regional appearances for some time, this is the first time it's been rolled out nationally in 16 years. I think the last time I'd had a McRib was sometime in the mid-1980's, so I decided that I'd succumb to the heavy hype the McRib has been receiving for the past few weeks and pick one up on my way home from work.
Mickey D's takes a chopped-pork patty stamped into a bastard replica of a rack of ribs, quite literally drowns it in sauce, and then serves it on a soft split-top bun with chopped onions and sliced pickles. Get extra napkins - or grab a couple of paper towels if you get it to go and take it home - because the McRib is one damn sloppy sandwich to eat. When you open the clamshell box it comes in, sauce is everywhere: on the sandwich, inside the box, on the outside of the bun. I watched the McD's crew member build them, and it seemed at the time that he was taking reasonable care not to be a slob when he was slapping them together, but I think it might be impossible to assemble these neatly.
Okay, so how do they taste? Well...strange would be a good word to describe it. The pork patty has a good porky flavor, and the onions are a nice touch. And surprisingly, the sharpness of the pickles helps to cut some of the rather obnoxious sweetness of the barbecue sauce. It's a pretty decent sandwich, but for one thing that I'm finding it hard to describe. See, all of McDonald's burgers have this unique and immediately identifiable flavor to them. It's got to be something in the seasoning blend they use, and the McRib uses the same seasoning. So behind the pork, behind the sauce and onions and pickles, it still tastes like a McDonald's patty. For some people, I guess that's a plus. For me, it earns a shrug. Since I can get very similar boneless analog-rib products anytime from Banquet and even ALDI, and I'm not all that fond of McDonald's non-breakfast items anyway, I'm not convinced that the McRib is really worth $4.00 and 16 years.
You know what's going to be really fun, though? When some morons with fifty bucks and a video camera try to force a meme by combining McRibs with Double Downs, Whoppers, and Baconators and post a video of their puke-inducing 8000-calorie Dumbass Burger on YouTube.