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The McRib is back!!! So what’s the big fuss?

photo 1

I’m so excited! The sandwich of my dreams — that fickle, now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t McRib is back in area McDonald’s restaurants.

Must hurry! Quick, quick, quick. Have been deprived of the McRib for a full year. Who knows how long it will last this time. Must run to Mickey D’s and get my bag of Mcribbed goodness. I open the bag and here is what I find inside.

photo 3

It is just how I remember it from last year — an oblong box through which peeks a sausage patty cleverly formed to resemble an actual rib. I open the box and this is what I find inside.


Yum. Who can resist this delicious looking sandwich?

Okay, kidding. This is what I actually found inside.

photo 2

Could some nice person please explain the cult of the McRib to me?

91 comments Add your comment

Sean M

November 12th, 2010
2:34 pm

you bought that rib from Community Q yesterday at lunch, didn’t you??!! I can’t believe you violated it like that. and I can’t believe I saw JK in person. so star struck.


November 12th, 2010
2:43 pm

Explain the cult? It’s hard to explain. I consider myself a fairly committed foodie — I’m the one to whom friends turn for restaurant recommendations, I’ve been to Seeger’s, The Dining Room, Eugene’s, Bacchanalia as well as all up and down Buford Highway.

However, I have a secret soft spot in my heart for the McRib. I don’t know why. It’s a wholly guilty pleasure. It bears little resemblance to real barbecue, and it isn’t intended to have much in common with it. I’m not sure it even qualifies as pseudo-cue. It’s kind of its own, weird, McDonald-ized entity, and yet, I’ll admit to seeking them out.

Hungry Gringo

November 12th, 2010
2:48 pm

I always think of the Krusty Burger “Ribwich” from the Simpsons.

Krusty: “Sorry folks. The animal we made the Ribwich from went extinct.”
Crowd: “The cow? The chicken? The pig?”
Krusty: “No. Think smaller – and more legs.”


November 12th, 2010
2:54 pm

I hate McDonald’s…but was so excited to see this back a few weeks ago. I think I like it because it is different — it’s pork and BBQ sauce. Better than bland chicken or standard hamburgers.

Hugely popular in Spain, where they eat more pork…


November 12th, 2010
2:56 pm

I don’t get it. Sorry. Can’t explain.


November 12th, 2010
3:01 pm

I think that you got robbed on the sauce and onions. Got mine the other weekend and it was dripping sauce and had a nice, uniform layer of onions for crunch.

No one’s claiming it’s fine dining or that it’s good barbecue. That said, it’s fast food’s best version of comfort food. Lots of salt so it’s “juicy,” lots of sauce to underscore the unnatural pork flavor and a nice crunch of pickles and onions. The bun is the weak player imo but overall, this isn’t about good eats.

It’s part nostalgia and part comfort food in a “Kraft Dinner” kind of way. Plus, a long absence does make the heart grow fonder.

micky d

November 12th, 2010
3:02 pm

they put something addictive in it. or possibly radioactive. its barely edible and yet every year or two they start selling it again i go buy one, take two bites, hold back the vomit in my mouth, and then throw it away. maybe its a case of wanting what we can’t have. i seem to remember them being really good when i was a kid. they’re not the same though.

if only they’d bring back the mcblt – cold side cold, hot side hot!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by accessAtlanta, John Kessler. John Kessler said: The McRib is back!!! So what’s the big fuss? [...]

Josh H

November 12th, 2010
3:25 pm

Ha ha, great post John. Sam Sifton would be proud – I hear he’s got a Whopper review in the works.


November 12th, 2010
3:46 pm

I can proudly say I’ve never, ever even tasted a McRib. Not that I’m against fast food, because every few months I get the craving for a Quarter Pounder with Cheese (or a Royale with Cheese for you Pulp Fiction fans), but because it’s kinda “formed” into a rib-ish shape ala The Flintstones.

Just always grossed me out.

Then again, I’m still freaked out by that whole Double Down thing from a few months ago. Never could bring myself to taste one of those either, and it had NOTHING to do with what shape it was in!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by McDonald's in ATL, Jenny Turknett. Jenny Turknett said: This is hilarious…. The McRib is back!!! So what’s the big fuss? [...]


November 12th, 2010
4:52 pm

JK: Virgin Mary is still my favorite sandwich you have reviewed. Still funny with a bone in rib. I think the McRib is made out of pig squeezings. I wonder if someone will do an expirement on how long it takes to break down in a glass jar.

On a side note, I need to go eat some Wendy’s fries before the revamp hits Atlanta with skins on and sea salt…….


November 12th, 2010
10:29 pm

It’s easy. Name another sandwich from a fast-food restaurant like it.

Folks get tired palates. When you have incorporated drive thru meals as part of your eating routine, it REALLY hard to face ‘the rotation’ every week (by that, I mean Wendy’s one day, Arby’s the next, etc.). Getting a different choice that doesn’t totally suck is a nice change of pace.

This also explains the swooning response folks had when a ‘Whataburger’ was seemingly announced for the Atlanta area. It turned out to be a false alarm, unfortunately. But why would folks freak out over another fast-food chain? Because they’re different.

If the existing companies want to increase their sales, they have to continue to introduce new products without messing up their existing sales, or forcing franchisees to purchase stock in a new item that might not sell. So they create this seasonal item approach.

My favorite seasonal item? The original shamrock shake from McDonalds. That mint flavor was a wonderful thing. But, as a kid, you got those so you could turn your tongue green & stick it out at girls to freak them out.

Good times, good times.


November 13th, 2010
12:23 am

Krusty: Mmmmmm… The Ribwich! I don’t mind the taste!


November 13th, 2010
6:04 am

Every single time they bring this thing back, I wonder….WHY?!?! It looks disgusting… It’s a poorly formed “mini slab of ribs–with no bones”… I can honestly say I’ve NEVER tried one, I couldn’t possibly bring myself to. It’s basically the same concept of their “nuggets” and “chicken patties”–purified meat, formed, frozen, and then sold to the masses… But, it must be “good” to some people–or maybe they eat it for a moment of nostalgia… I don’t get it. There are SO MANY other options that would be SO much better!! But, if you like it, enjoy it–you won’t see it again for a few years…


November 13th, 2010
6:49 am

Can’t explain the cult, but here’s a secret: you can get a very, very similar thing to QuikTrip. lol, less sauce of course and no pickles and onions. Makes a for a good “drunk” meal.


November 13th, 2010
7:00 am

I tried one of these and found it absolutely disgusting. Probably the worst sandwich I had ever sampled. I took a couple bites and tossed it. Repulsive.

'' Soo Wee "

November 13th, 2010
7:20 am

I wonder what the McRib meat looks like before it is molded into it’s pressed form? Betcha all of the pig from hoof to tail gets ground up into that porky rib patty.

It’s also weighs in at 500 calories sans fries or a drink.

G P Burdell

November 13th, 2010
7:43 am

This picture reminds me of how much mayo, ketchup, mustard and/or special sauce gets slathered on fast food sandwiches. When you bite into them the sauce squirts out on your face and hands. Eventually the bun get wet and falls apart.

Requesting only a small amount of condiments does not work. Ordering without condiments is the only sure way to manage the situation,

Did you eat it?


November 13th, 2010
7:44 am

I remember the only McRib I’ve ever eaten. Worst heartburn I ever had.

Gentle Ribbing

November 13th, 2010
7:55 am

This is probably heresy to suggest in the McRib Community, but try the Morningstar Farms riblets with diced onions and a few pickles slices on a nice bun. Seems pretty close to what I remember a McRib tasting like.


November 13th, 2010
8:05 am

The cut of the McRib? Easy. Take all the meat they can’t sell at the store, take out all the stuff they won’t feed back to the pigs, put it all in a industrial blender with some stuff you can’t pronounce, blend until smooth, form into un-natural patties, cook. But this is the key: after cooking, smoother it in a extremely sweet sauce this is what they people want.

Adam's McRib

November 13th, 2010
8:12 am

It’s about being a little kid again. Forget about all the important corporate adult stuff and sit there with a big smile on your BBQ-painted clown face!


November 13th, 2010
8:15 am

It may be unfair to answer a question with a question, but my question is not, “Why is the McRib so popular?” My question is, “Why doesn’t McDonald’s make it a permanent addition to the menu?” For those of us who like pork, it’s about the only fast food option around. The popularity of barbecue and barbecue sauce is obvious, so you put together a meat and topping enjoyed by many, and there you go!

Sure, it’s not for everybody, but there are plenty of other fast food items that aren’t for me. Why does anybody want honey mustard poured over chicken? Why would anyone put cheese on a Whopper? When Wendy’s cheese has a stronger flavor than its burgers, why would anyone order cheese on a Wendy’s burger? Why does anyone want cheese on a fish sandwich? Why do McDonald’s, Hardee’s, and Captain D’s insist on serving the most awful French fries, and why is Wendy’s going to ruin theirs now? Why would anyone with a choice opt for White Castle over Krystal? Why don’t more places serve slaw dogs? Why does anybody serve that artificial-tasting lemon “tea” that pours out of a soda machine instead of a brewed urn?

Hey, there’s a big menu up there. We can all find something to eat and let other folks enjoy their choices. That’s one McRib, fries, and a Diet Coke, please!

Adam's McRib

November 13th, 2010
8:24 am

Well said rc35.
Can’t we all just get along? Don’t be a fast food hater.
And In the end, The McRib you take, Is equal to the McRib you make.


November 13th, 2010
8:26 am

Well John, Didja eat it?


November 13th, 2010
8:31 am

I tried the McRib once – when it first came out in the late 80’s. Once was enough. No; more than enough.


November 13th, 2010
8:34 am

rc35 – it’s because not enough people like it that they don’t keep it on their permanent menu. For those who do like it, looking forward to it guarantees that when they go to McDonald’s, they’ll choose it. If it were available all the time, you’d alternate the McRib with other things or might choose to go somewhere other than McDonald’s to eat.


November 13th, 2010
9:16 am

If you make it sweet enough, Americans will eat anything.

JF McNamara

November 13th, 2010
9:32 am

I don’t know what’s so special about it. It just is. Its not the most appealing to look at, but did you eat it? I add cheese and its addictively good. Plus, there’s a little bit of that absence makes the heart grow fonder effect. If it were a regular menu item, I don’t know if I’d eat them as often or have the same affection for the sandwich.

Anyway, I’ve already had 6 this year, and I’m trying not to overdo it. I’m getting it while I can and I see a lot of them being eaten inside of McDonalds when I’m there. Its just tasty.


November 13th, 2010
11:31 am

I tried the McRib back in late 1981/early 1982 when it first premiered and it wasn’t bad, especially when it’s made to order, with a well toasted bun, onions and pickles. Like all McDonald’s food, order them as a special order and then immediately eat. Never good after sitting more than a few minutes. Along with the double cheeseburger with onions only, these two are my favorite fast-food “guilty pleasures.” (Though their breakfast sausage burrito and sausage/cheese McMuffin are good too. How can McD ruin either of those?)


November 13th, 2010
11:32 am

Welcome to “FAT” city!!!!!


November 13th, 2010
9:13 pm

It’s not a rib, it’s barely even recognizable as pork, but it serves as an effective delivery system for some tasty BBQ sauce… which is enough. Face it, you didn’t walk into McDonald’s expecting something real and good did you? As it is, it’s a nice change-up from their barely-recognizable-as-beef burgers.


November 13th, 2010
9:54 pm

Would you believe you had me going? I saw those bones sticking out and though, “Wow! That looks real!”

Summit Dawg

November 14th, 2010
5:44 am

Yea, my favorite from Mickey D’s…..wish it was a dailey item on menu!!!!


red ryder

November 14th, 2010
6:22 am

this is a disgusting piece of “mystery meat’. if you put enough BBQ sauce on a dead cat people would eat it!!


November 14th, 2010
7:03 am

Dead cat? Nah. Surely they would disclose if it were cat, right?
“Welcome tuh MacDonnal’s. Woju like to try thu new McKitty?”


November 14th, 2010
7:38 am

The reason it is seasonal is that it is difficult to raise boneless pigs!

Adam's McRib

November 14th, 2010
8:04 am

If you guys can’t answer the original question:
“Could some nice person please explain the cult of the McRib to me?”
your post is just a waste of electrons and everyone’s time.
Why don’t you do everyone a favor and find the “I hate McRibs and want to make juvenile comments about it” blog?


November 14th, 2010
8:42 am

Good food. I have driven over 30 miles out of my way when traveling to get a couple of McRibs and a coke. I think if they kept it around thats all people would buy. Do not forget the frys. They make them taste even better.

Not a Fan

November 14th, 2010
9:10 am

You know what there chicken nuggets are made from? Chicken beaks and buttholes!

Not a Fan

November 14th, 2010
9:13 am

Those of you who drive extensive miles to eat this or eat this junk on a daily basis need to know that you’re eating a rat patty!


November 14th, 2010
9:27 am

haha John yes this more suited to your palette, does mcdonalds get a 3-star rating from you?


November 14th, 2010
9:28 am

haha McHorsemeat sandwhich doesn’t roll off of the tongue does it


November 14th, 2010
9:32 am

Yeah, McRib is to BBQ pork as Long John Silvers is to seafood. There may be some pork and there is a red sauce. But people eat them likely because they are psuedo food.


November 14th, 2010
9:38 am


November 14th, 2010
10:49 am

Everybody knows when you dress a hog there is a McRib section in all of them. You only kill hogs in cold weather so thats why you can’t get them year round. Eat that pig on a bud it sure is good for you. And good for you (the other white meat).

Thurston Howell, III

November 14th, 2010
11:37 am

Lovey and I would never eat a McRib. Only grain-fed free-range pork for us, prepared by our own chef. You people who eat McRibs are so plebeian. I may have to shower after being on the same blog as you.


November 14th, 2010
1:10 pm

Had had one the other day and found an eye, thought it was a piece of pickle….LOL


November 14th, 2010
9:23 pm

Think of it as a pork McNugget on a bun, slathered in McDonald’s barbecue sauce and punctuated with onions and pickles.