Well, it’s been all over the news in the form of new McDonald’s television spots—the McRib sandwich is BACK! Where it went I’ll never know, but now it has returned from its journey (but only for a limited time).
I’ve never had the pleasure of tasting a McRib sandwich, but I hear from those who have that it’s savory taste is something to relish, and ingest, as often as possible during the limited time period that “rib” is apparently in season.
I know what ribs are. They are tasty strips of meat sandwiched between bones that once made up a pig’s rib cage, slowly smoked for hours and slathered with barbecue sauce every 10 minutes until they eventually melt in your mouth. It’s a southern delicacy.
I don’t know what a “McRib” is however. It appears to be a rack of ribs, it’s shaped that way, at least. There’s the larger piece of meat that has cross strips of what would be the bones of a traditional rib rack. But the entire shape of the McRib rack is made from the same type of meat stuffs, with no actual bones. This is the perplexing part. Do McRibs come from “boneless” pigs? Pigs made entirely out of rib meat? And by the size of McRib’s McRack, miniature potbelly pigs at best?
Order a “rib sandwich” at a hole-in-the-wall southern barbecue stand and you’ll get a few actual pork ribs stuck between two pieces of white bread. The idea of the “sandwich” in this case isn’t the convenience of portable hand-held food as much as it is receiving a smaller portion of a traditional rack of ribs and two pieces of bread to eat with it.
The McRib is entirely different. For some reason, people in McDonaldland prefer manufactured rib racks made out of what one hopes is actual pork, although likely not the rib meat, slathered with a sauce designed to enhance digestibility and placed on a hoagie roll garnished with the same onion flakes that don your child’s Happy Meal burger. To me that just ain’t right, but people have varying opinions on how “awesome” the McRib is.
We interview a lot of famous people for stories in The Pulse. For some reason the editors here tend to assign me the comedians. I’ve interviewed many, many funny stand-up comedians, and I always ask the same question at the end of each phone conversation: “McRib sandwich: culinary delight or fast food tragedy?” Here’s how a few of them have responded over the years:
Southern-born-and-bred Lewis Black: “Culinary delight in Maine because they don’t know shit about barbecue up there. It should be banned in the South because we all know better.”
The west coast comics had differing opinions. Bobcat Goldthwait said, “I don’t eat meat and I’d eat one. It’s all of the stuff from the scrap tray mashed together with barbecue sauce on it so it’s probably meatless anyway. And hey, my friends, get all excited when they bring it back out so whatever.”
Carlos Mencia, star of “Mind of Mencia” responded, “It’s something that sounds so good, and I would devour it, and then ten minutes later I would regret it and then an hour after that I would really regret it.”
I’m not sure I would either. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with McDonald’s. I’m with Mencia—McDonald’s food always sounds like a good idea before you eat it. So I’ll likely take the advice of Richard Lloyd, of the band Television, when I asked him the same question: “I don’t go in McDonald’s.”