Food Review: McDonald’s McRib

I believe it was Helen Keller who said, “Life is either daring adventure or nothing.” Now, granted, Helen Keller wrote that in 1940, and the first McDonald’s wouldn’t open for another 15 years in Illinois (which, she was still alive by that point! I didn’t realize she was alive in the 1960s, and for some reason that seems odd to me, as I think of her from a far more distant time). And the McRib wouldn’t be created until 1981. And granted, Helen Keller dealt with a lot more turbulent issues than the daring adventure of a McDonald’s McRib, but hey, other than that!

So, I’ve never had a McDonald’s McRib before. I mean, okay, I’ve had a McRib before, but I’ve never had true, authentic McRib before. That is, I’ve never had one as it’s meant to be: seasoned boneless pork dipped in BBQ sauce, topped with slivered onions and dill pickles, and served on a toasted homestyle bun (description courtesy of the arch!). Every time I’ve ever tried, I’ve gotten it without the pickles and onions. For a spell, I didn’t like onions, believe it or not. And I don’t like pickles, and I wisely still do not like pickles. However, for the purposes of authenticity and the real experience, I ordered it as is last night. Yes, I ate pickles, and I hate you all.

For some reason, the McRib has become something of a meme. McDonald’s has capitalized on the idea of it being “limited time only” and made it into a can’t-miss attraction for McDonald’s fiends. I mean, McDonald’s has changed its Twitter handle to “McRib is Back” and look at this meme about it:

But is the meme tasty? Well, before I get to that, fun fact in my research I found (oh yeah, that’s right, I do research for these!), Executive Chef René Arend, who was from Luxembourg, invented the McRib, and he’s also the man behind Chicken McNuggets, which came out in 1979! It was his idea to shape the pork meat like a slab of ribs, which is its famous, unique look. God love immigrants.

Well, heck, slap me with a McRib for my facetiousness: The McRib truly is “limited.” Time is an illusion. The last time the McRib was released nationally was in 2012. What in the McWorld?! I feel like I’ve eaten one more recently than that, so either, again, time is an illusion or I’ve been fortunate (lol) to have the McRib available regionally here in the Midwest. I’m flummoxed!

So, let’s get to what I thought of the McRib in all its unfettered glory.

Here’s what the presentation looked like:


I will say, compared to the Arby’s Deep Fried Turkey Club Sandwich I reviewed after Thanksgiving, this sandwich “holds up” better than it looks. As in, the onions and pickles and meat don’t start sliding out of the bun. Points for the “hold” then.

Now, I hate pickles. I still hate pickles. I hate pickles even drenched in tangy BBQ sauce sitting on a McDonald’s slab of pork meat shaped like a slab of ribs. If I got this again, I would say, “86 the pickles, please!” Also, I love onions, but I’m not as big a fan of the huge bits of onion. That said, the onions work well as paired with the tangy slab of meat. You can’t Kramer and Kramer the two (someone get that reference, please).

The star of the meat obviously is the BBQ sauce, but that frozen meat concoction? It’s freaking delicious. I don’t care what anyone says, I will die on one of the slides at the McDonald’s PlayPlace that that weird slab of meat slithers perfectly down my gullet! It’s also fun to have the horizontal bun instead of the traditional circular bun.

And even though this is 520 calories, it didn’t feel like 520 calories. It’s not going to make you feel like you just overindulged. In fact, I’m sort of kicking myself that I didn’t get a second helping of the McRib …

Instead, what I got, incidentally given Arend, was a “side” of chicken nuggets. Who knew I was pairing Arend’s two greatest creations?! But I also tried McDonald’s Cinnamon Roll to switch up the tangy with the sweet. The roll is exactly what you think it is: dough drizzled with cream cheese icing, which McDonald’s says pairs best with Premium Roast Coffee (it’s part of the McCafé offerings), but uh, I paired it with the McRib. From what I understand, the cinnamon roll is part of a slew of bakery items, like the apple fritter and blueberry muffin, that the company rolled out in October.

Here’s the presentation:

Ugh, so good.

It was delicious. It’s freaking dough with cream cheese icing; what more needs to be said? And yes, it paired great with the McRib. Highly recommend!

I’m glad to see McDonald’s starting to step up during the pandemic. Admittedly, they were a bit slow out of the gate, but they’re sure making up for it on the back-end of this year.

Overall, that was a great outing to McDonald’s. The McRib (minus the pickles; sorry, pickle-lovers!) lived up to the hype, and the cinnamon roll washed it all down beautifully. I believe even Helen Keller can be proud of my adventure.

What do you think? Have you had the McRib yet?

One thought

  1. I prefer sweet relish in fish sauce rather than pickles. Otherwise, I would have used finely shredded and carmelised onions on that McRib sandwich. Those McRib buns would have been toasted with garlic. Pickles would have been replaced with a very small amount of mashed avocado. Which would make a toasted McRib sandwich with carmelised onions, mashed avocado, and garlic. Yum.


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