The McRib: Antithesis of an Adventure in Pork

Q. Why does fast food use so much chicken and beef, and very little pork?
A. The McRib. It’s so bad, everyone else is afraid to even try.

I confess: we go through the McDonald’s drive-through a few times a month. It’s convenient. It’s cheap. The food is manufactured to appeal to children, and since we never grow tired of the unholy trinity of sugar, salt and fat, adults will usually eat it too.

few items on the McDonald’s menu aren’t too bad: if you can avoid thinking too carefully about where ingredients might come from and how they are processed, the fruit-and-yogurt parfait isn’t a horrible breakfast and the salads aren’t the worst choice for lunch.

Source: Wikimedia Commons; Author: Fritz Saalfeld

Source: Wikimedia Commons; Author: Fritz Saalfeld

Since I am an avowed enthusiast of pork, one recent afternoon when I was driving somewhere without children in the car (and fantasizing about the 3 pounds of pulled pork that I smoked for 16 hours which currently sits in a vacuum-sealed bag in my freezer), I decided to try the “limited time” offering known as the McRib sandwich.

The McRib is an abomination of manufactured foodstuffs, in both its name and its composition – there’s no rib, no bone, and no texture or flavor remotely reminiscent of barbecue. The McRib consists of a toasted “hero” roll, a rectangle-shaped “patty” of semi-ground “pork” – totally devoid of flavor but for its drenching in a syrupy, artificially smoke-flavored “barbecue sauce” – and a topping of a few dill pickle and white onion slices.

It surprises me to learn that there is an actual cult following for the McRib sandwich. Apparently some people await the return of this thing every year. These people, it must be said, lack an essential ability to taste, because it’s just awful. It tastes like if Chef Boyardee decided to start making “pork cutlets in barbecue-flavored sauce” in kipper cans.

I’d only recommend the McRib to people who also like Soylent Green and the little colored food cubes on the original Star Trek series, and so it earns the first “Antithesis of an Adventure in Pork” Award.

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