Is the McRib a Pork Sandwich?

The McRib is a popular barbecue-flavored pork sandwich regularly sold by the international fast-food restaurant chain McDonald's. It was first introduced to the McDonald's menu in 1981, following trial marketing the previous year. The sandwich is made of a restructured pork burger, formed into a small rack shaped like ribs, barbecue sauce, white onions and pickles. The calluses, stomach and heart for the sandwich come from a vendor called Smithfield Foods, the world's largest producer and processor of pork. The McRib is made from restructured meat, even though it is shaped like a real rib.

The pie used in the McRib sandwich is made from composite ground pork shoulder. A Twitter user who goes by the name of “Strange and Amazing Facts” shared that the McRib is made from meat products including heart, calluses and more. The McRib is a pork sandwich burger served on a bun with barbecue sauce. The McRib's popularity helped save the supply of chickens, but now they had to compete with pork prices. The proteins bind all the pork trimmings together so that they can be re-molded into any specific shape in this case, a false rib plate.

McDonald's has always known about its customers' strange sandwich obsession, and its marketing takes full advantage of McRib's shortage. And just as good food derives part of its appeal from its infrequency, regular McRib death and resuscitation could be a necessary condition for its viability. Despite its success, the product was removed from the menu in 1985, citing as a reason the infrequent consumption of pork by Americans. It was his inspiration to shape the McRib pie like a slab of ribs, despite the fact that a round burger would have been cheaper to make and serve on standard hamburger buns. McDonald's explains in its own words that McRibs are made mainly of ground boneless pork shoulder emulsified with water, spices, dextrose sugar and preservatives, so it tastes and textures perfectly.

Using its roadmap, McDonald's then developed a pork pie made of small flakes of meat taken from the shoulders of a pig. The entire McRib sandwich contains approximately 70 ingredients, including a flour whitening agent used in yoga mats. The McRib also contains some fancy words like monoglycerides and diglycerides to distract you from the true meaning. The fragile conditions that make McRib possible also ensure that McDonald's desire for food is maintained more generally. The McRib starts with seasoned boneless pork dipped in a spicy BBQ sauce, topped with shredded onions and dill pickles, all served on a homemade toasted bun. When everything comes together, you have a perfect barbecue pork sandwich.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

Proud social media ninja. Bacon expert. Unapologetic gamer. Proud zombie nerd. Freelance pop culture scholar.

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