The McRib – is it any good?

McRib side view

It’s been an eight year wait believe it or not, but finally this week, fans of this on and off menu special need anxiously wait no more. This week sees the McRib return to McDonald’s restaurants across the nation. And with it’s return, the hype has building and building, ever since McD’s teased the return last month; but you’re probably not the only one asking -is the McRib any good?

I snagged a couple as soon as possible, for, er, science of course. Here’s the results of the in depth testing. The good, the bad and the ugly. First here are some pictures of the McRib in all its riblet-glory:

McRib box
McRib box
McRib in box
McRib in box
McRib side view
McRib side view
McRib inside the bun
McRib inside the bun
McRib close up
McRib close up
McRib interior close up
McRib interior close up

Lets start with the McRib patty itself. As you can see in the picture above, it’s an unabashedly processed product. The rectangular patty has embossed rib shapes, pressed into place by god knows what industrial production. Indeed the sandwich relies on meat restructuring, a process developed by the US Army nonetheless.

The pork patty has a fairly coarse texture with a lot of chew and bite, its not a mushy affair by any means; the seasoning is also relatively restrained too, and theres a definite porky aftertaste. Think of it as a mildly seasoned breakfast sausage.

Most of the heavy lifting flavorwise is done by the BBQ sauce smothered liberally all over. It’s a mix of sweet and smokey, and thankfully doesn’t swerve in either direction too much. It is however fabulously messy and sticky. Be prepared going in with this one.

The bun is a high point of the McRib, a sort of hoagie roll. It stands up admirably to the sticky sauce and patty.

The toppings are something of a let down, at least my two test McRibs were. The sole toppings are diced onion and McDonald’s signature dill pickles (that have a little extra anise-like smack than most to my taste). The toppings on my sandwiches were thrown on with little care, and over all, the sandwich demands more pickles, and personally speaking, more onion. It needs that added sharpness and acidity to cut through the sweet BBQ sauce and fatty pork.

Overall, I can see why fans flock to the Golden Arches for this one, its a fun change of pace from the routine chicken and beef. It’s not a slam dunk by any means. The McRib looks every part the 1980’s borne sandwich that it is. It’s an artificial, lab grown monster from a different era. Just look at today’s fast food menus with artisan this and fresh that. It’s still pretty tasty of course, after all who doesn’t love a slew of salt, sugar and fat wrapped up in a floury roll? I sure do.

I’d pick one up again the next time the promo rolls around, but hey, maybe don’t leave it eight years again McDonalds.

The McRib is now on sale at all US McDonald’s for a limited time and is priced at $4.20; get it while supplies last. Or alternately, move to Germany, where the McRib is a permanent menu staple. Who knew.

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Hi there, I'm Stuart, nice to meet you. I'm a food writer of more than 15+ years experience writing about food and drink in all its forms, fine dining through the to the grocery store. I've also got a secret obsession with fast food too... You can email via stuart@amatteroftaste.xyz