What is the Meat in a McRib Sandwich?

The McRib sandwich is a popular fast food item that consists of a restructured boneless pork burger shaped like miniature ribs, barbecue sauce, onions, pickles, and other ingredients served on a 5 ½ inch (14 cm) roll. McDonald's claims that the sandwich is mainly made of shoulder meat, but the truth is much less appetizing. Chicago Magazine reported that the ingredients actually consist of restructured meat products such as heart, calluses, and scalded stomach. The hamburger is made from pork, water, salt, dextrose, and preservatives and is sprayed with water to prevent dehydration during the freezing process.

The meat is then ground and molded into the shape of a rib rack. Animal rights groups have sued Smithfield Foods, McDonald's pork supplier for the McRib sandwich, due to inhumane treatment of pigs after an undercover video showed horrific scenes of abuse. According to an article in Chicago magazine, citing a 1995 article by Mandigo, the restructured meat product contains a mixture of calluses, heart and scalded stomach, which is then mixed with salt and water to extract proteins from the muscle. McDonald's has been trying to improve its public perception by emphasizing the quality of its food.

However, it has been affected by the uproar over its previous inclusion of pink slime and a meat scandal earlier this year in China. It is also important to note that this grade F meat contains lots of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides residual from genetically modified grains fed to pigs. The McRib sandwich was created by Rene Arend and the restructured meat product was developed by Richard Mandigo, a professor at the University of Nebraska. The hamburger is molded into what looks like a rib cage even though it has no ribs or rib meat.

Its name may suggest otherwise, but the meat in McDonald's McRib sandwich is not rib meat, but a mixture of beef and potatoes. Last November, the Humane Society of the United States filed a lawsuit against Smithfield Foods for their unethical farm conditions. Kevin Nanke points out in his video that McRib burgers at McDonald's contain boneless pork picnic meat.

Tristan Gagliardo
Tristan Gagliardo

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

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