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Philip Mallegol-Hansen

The McRib

Ever since I first visited the U.S. at an age of 14, I’ve had a bit of a personal goal that most people find odd: To sample each of the mainstream American fast foods.

The question of why always comes up. What about the idea of slogging through mediocre food, most of which frankly just tastes like salt and fat anyway, is it that I find appealing? That is a question for another day, for now let us accept that this is simply one of my small pleasures in life. Which brings us to the McRib.

The McRib sandwich is, to my knowledge, not a menu item that has ever been served outside of the U.S. And even within the U.S., its position on the McDonald’s menu is… elusive at best1. Given those two factors, when my wife asked me for a serving of McNuggets earlier in the week, and I came to learn that the porky sandwich is currently on the menu, I decided this was finally my time to cross one more item off of the great American fast-food list.

The McRib box, sitting on my coffee table.
The McRib in all of its "glory".

The McRib in all of its “glory”.

A closeup of the pork patty, haphazardly sprinkled with onion and pickles.

My verdict is, perhaps unsurprisingly, underwhelming. And I don’t just mean “It’s clearly tossed together in the box by some underpaid worker who didn’t care to actually construct my sandwich” underwhelming, that level is par for the course when it comes to fast food. I mean that even when I grade on a curve, in comparison to the standard McDonald’s menu, it’s just meh. The Quarter Pounder is better, the Big Mac probably is as well.

The McRib is a “phenomenon”, it gets hyped up and released in limited quantities, giving people the sensation of being in an in-group when they eat it. I suspect that’s what keeps it alive, and to their credit that is excellent work by the McDonald’s marketing department. They’re playing their cards right.

But the McRib? It’s just meh.

  1. I suspect that is on purpose, but we’ll get to that. ↩︎