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December 17, 2012 2:23 PM   Subscribe

"Just as Christianity was offered as an alternative to the pagan ways of ancient people, so was the McRib offered as an alternative to the chicken nugget." Yes, the McRib is back ("and front, and other parts probably best not to mention"), hitting stores today. A product of "restructured meat technology," the meat in the McRib is manufactured at a processing plant at McDonald's HQ in Illinois. Not sure if there's a McRib near you available for purchase and consumption? The McRib Locator is here to help.

McRib previously on the blue.
posted by jbickers (112 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
The other white meat pink slime.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:25 PM on December 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


Ronald McDonald run Flavortown!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:25 PM on December 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


Obligatory background soundtrack
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:25 PM on December 17, 2012


We don't need another gyro...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:26 PM on December 17, 2012 [25 favorites]


What a long, strange product rollout it's been.
posted by porn in the woods at 2:27 PM on December 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also, every time I see this the name of this product in print, I think of imaginary hip-hop hero MC Ribs who's got grills of all kinds.
posted by porn in the woods at 2:29 PM on December 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


I actually ate at a McDonald's on Friday. I accidentally left my copy of Before Watchmen: Rorschach there; I hope a kid didn't find it. Unless he's already a really fucked-up kid, in which case, maybe it will help.
posted by thelonius at 2:30 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm glad we're finding more ways to use more meat that would otherwise be considered inedible.

Twirling into the future.
posted by GDWJRG at 2:31 PM on December 17, 2012


Well, I guess I'll just be adding "Restructured Meat Technology" to my list of "names that I should have used for the garage band that I should have started back in high school" now.
posted by fifthrider at 2:31 PM on December 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


How is a sandwich an alternative to finger food? I guess it's a more valid alternative than a beverage would be, but I think it's a bit of a stretch.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:36 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


McRib: The triumph of BBQ-sauce over common-sense.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:37 PM on December 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


if you're looking for a non-meat byproduct sort of way to enjoy this fast food, might i mention that the morningstar vegetarian hickory ribs are a pretty good substitute. still junk food, of course, but delicious on a roll with some cheddar.
posted by nadawi at 2:37 PM on December 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


At least the McRib got a second coming
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:37 PM on December 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Restructured meat technology" seems relevant to the stem-cell post below, too.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:38 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


On a "completely unrelated" note, here's how hot-dogs are made.
posted by Algebra at 2:39 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I accidentally left my copy of Before Watchmen: Rorschach there

First visit of night; Fruitless. Feel slightly depressed. Soon, there will be McRibs. Millions will perish in sickness and misery.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:40 PM on December 17, 2012 [14 favorites]


The sauce is good, but I can't get past the meat itself.
posted by Edgewise at 2:42 PM on December 17, 2012


I think you mean: the McRib is back.
posted by boo_radley at 2:42 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I tried a McRib in January after many years of curiosity. I'm not a food snob and I enjoy a fast food burger from time to time. But that shit was disgusting. I had a stomachache within 2 minutes of my first bite. The meat flavor was awful and not adequately hidden by the BBQ sauce. Stay away.
posted by scose at 2:47 PM on December 17, 2012


I've never had a McRib and thanks to a recent conversion back to vegetarianism I probably never will. I can only imagine that the things're damn tasty, though, with enough of that addictive substance called sugar to kill a diabetic rhinoceros. Otherwise there's not much reason for why they sell the way they do, gimmicky rationing program or not.
posted by item at 2:48 PM on December 17, 2012


Didn't Ray Kroc use Grimace's McRib to create Birdie? But then later they got kicked out of Playland for eating the apple pie or something.
posted by Kabanos at 2:49 PM on December 17, 2012 [21 favorites]


Ronald's Journal. October 12th, 1985: Dog carcass in sesame seed bun this morning, burst stomach in fryolator. This drive-in is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The soft-serve machines are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "McRibs!"... and I'll whisper, "Would you like fries with that?"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:01 PM on December 17, 2012 [48 favorites]


I'm with scose. I can eat at McDonald's with no complaint but when I finally tried a McRib last year I was horrified.

And why is it always pictured as being served with a Dr. Pepper?
posted by Bookhouse at 3:02 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


The use of the phrase "confirmed sightings" on the McRib locator page makes me think that the sandwich is made out of Big Foot meat.

(real northwestern Sasquatch slathered in donkey sauce and extra regret)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:02 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Because you should never eat one without a physician present.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:03 PM on December 17, 2012 [12 favorites]


Now where will the off-brand dog foods get their pig snouts?
posted by tommasz at 3:03 PM on December 17, 2012


How is a sandwich an alternative to finger food?

Well, in this case, one might use one's fingers to fling the sandwich as far away as possible before consumption.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:05 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


How is a sandwich an alternative to finger food?

Warning: Sandwich may actually contain fingers.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:06 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


The other pink slime.

Actually, when I found out what pink slime actually was, it at least sounded like a good idea. Part of the wastefulness of the modern American diet is that they only serve the muscle meat of the animal and don't really eat any organ meat or other trimmings. Most other cultures, even ones in Europe, find ways to cook and eat organs, tendons, ears, and feet. And even traditional American food had it with things like scrapple, which unfortunately is nearly impossible to find outside of the Northeast.
posted by FJT at 3:11 PM on December 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


It certainly is like some sort of crystallized fungus that only appears when ambient and cyclical conditons are in its zones of favorablity.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:11 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: may actually contain fingers
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:11 PM on December 17, 2012


MCRIB IS PEOPLE! MCRIB IS PEOPLE! MCRIB I ...
posted by octobersurprise at 3:12 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


People aren't even people, anymore.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:13 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


morningstar vegetarian hickory ribs

During a few years of vegetarianism, I got acquainted with Morningstar Farms' fine products, particularly the hickory ribs and the faux chicken nuggets. These are super-tasty and trump any of their meat-laden counterparts in your grocer's freezer aisle.

In fact, I think I'm going to make my own vegetarian McRib at home this week with Morningstar Farms ribs, featuring 100% less snout and 100% more Tillamook Sharp Cheddar cheese on top.
posted by porn in the woods at 3:16 PM on December 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


That would just be a nice sandwich and not a McRib, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:19 PM on December 17, 2012


I was just at McDonald's on Friday (because I am a sad, sad man), and thought "Hey, shouldn't the McRib be back by now?" I guess my timing was off.
posted by ckape at 3:24 PM on December 17, 2012


Think smaller. Think more legs.
posted by Ratio at 3:29 PM on December 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


I had one for the first time recently, after all these years of going without. Meh. I thought it tasted like their breakfast sausage patty, with bbq sauce.
posted by 2N2222 at 3:29 PM on December 17, 2012


McRib is back! That means I can quote my hilarious comment from last time and get more favorites:

I recently heard a theory that all the McRibs actually come from mines that McDonald's owns. It's the only known source of McRib and there is a finite supply. Basically we're experiencing Peak McRib.

posted by mullacc at 3:30 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man, I hate it when people get all alarmist about processed food (Their french fries don't spoil! Won't somebody think of the children?!). But my least favorite panic device is the vilification of mystery ingredients. "It contains a compound used to treat highway surfaces! You'll put that in your body?" (um, that's salt). It has an ingredient that's commonly used as a rocket coolant! Don't touch it! (yep, my people call it "water").

There is a ton of issues to address with our food production, distribution, and eating habits. But please, pick your battles.
posted by sourwookie at 3:30 PM on December 17, 2012 [12 favorites]


...scrapple, which unfortunately is nearly impossible to find outside of the Northeast.

You're welcome to my helpings of it. Scrapple is that rare food whose name matches its composition precisely; it has crap in the middle.
posted by delfin at 3:31 PM on December 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


contains a mixture of tripe, heart, and scalded stomach

Which is a quaint and noble use of ingredients if it's menudo, haggis, or scrapple--but get it in the hands of McD's though and its suddenly "toxic". Sure it's bad, in the sense that mcD's food usually is, but not dangerously inedible like so many passed along facebook links love to present.
posted by sourwookie at 3:36 PM on December 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Scrapple is that rare food whose name matches its composition precisely; it has crap in the middle.

And I bet it's still more natural and sanitary than nearly all hamburgers.
posted by FJT at 3:39 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


it has crap in the middle.

But also an apple!
posted by clarknova at 3:42 PM on December 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Next up: Injecting nanotechnology into McRib stem cells!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 3:43 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


And why is it always pictured as being served with a Dr. Pepper?
posted by Bookhouse at 3:02 PM


Obviously the "barbecue sauce" is rendered Dr. Pepper.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 3:46 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Menudo, Haggis, and Scrapple? Who knew that McRib was ethnic food? And part Scottish, at that?
posted by Sunburnt at 3:48 PM on December 17, 2012


Actually, the manufacturing facility is not at Ronald's secret lair if TFA is to be believed. Oak Brook and West Chicago are about 20 minutes apart by car. I would be surprised to see any industrial volume meat production occurring in Oak Brook. I'm sure the neighbors wouldn't stand for it.
posted by hwestiii at 3:54 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a McDonald's on the way to my in-laws that usually has a message on the sign outside, such as "TRY NEW CHERY BERY CHILER [sic]". The last two times McRib has been back, the sign has read, "MCRIB IS BACK MMMM", which is what I say to my wife every time we drive past it, no matter what the sign says. Also sometimes I say this in bed.

She just told me yesterday that she drove past and the sign just says "MCRIB IS BACK", no "MMMM". Very disappointing.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:04 PM on December 17, 2012 [21 favorites]


Obviously the "barbecue sauce" is rendered Dr. Pepper.

Actually, a Dr Pepper reduction is an excellent foundation for a BBQ sauce.
posted by sourwookie at 4:09 PM on December 17, 2012 [14 favorites]


There are at least three decent-to-excellent rib places within a thirty minute drive from where I'm sitting right now. I am not a BBQ purist, but while a Quarter Pounder is just a bland and gristly hamburger served with ok french fries, a McRib is not anything like actual ribs. I just don't understand the appeal.
posted by emjaybee at 4:16 PM on December 17, 2012


I was just at McDonald's on Friday (because I am a sad, sad man)
Did you find my comic book? I WANT IT BACK.
posted by thelonius at 4:20 PM on December 17, 2012 [14 favorites]


Which is a quaint and noble use of ingredients if it's menudo, haggis, or scrapple--but get it in the hands of McD's though and its suddenly "toxic".

Well, yes, right? I'm sure McD's starts with perfectly fine ingredients for all of their products, but they all (to my tongue) come out tasting like blah. Not as bad as toxic, but pretty damn blah.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:22 PM on December 17, 2012


The McRib would offer a far more authentic eating experience if they inserted a fake plastic bone in each “rib.”
posted by mubba at 4:27 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'll eat the fuck out of some fast food, but the McRib is just nasty.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:31 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Learning that the McRib was a replacement for the Chicken McNugget raises the question: Why on earth don't they chicken-fry the fuckers? I don't care much for barbecue ribs, but I would gladly do horrible things for chicken-fried ribs -- maybe even if they were just well-blended tripe that had been molded into rib-like shapes.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:35 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a pity that we're still giving them attention for their crappy products, even if it's just to point out they're crap. Oh well.
posted by deo rei at 4:35 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure why whenever a post about fast food comes up people feel like they gotta tell everyone how poorly they react to that particular food item. Like, really, you've gotten sick from the McRib but the millions of other people who are going to have one this year are just, what, delusional about how they didn't get sick?

And the majority of those 70 mystery ingredients? They're in the bread. Just like with all the other sandwiches in McDonalds. The patty itself has 5-7 ingredients, depending on how you count "preservatives": Pork, water, salt, dextrose, preservatives (BHA, propyl gallate, citric acid).

It's just like how MSG got maligned in the US in the late 50s because a random doctor who had no evidence invented something called "Chinese restaurant syndrome" and it got linked to MSG--even though it occurs naturally in a bunch of other foods and has been in use all over asia for like a hundred years, and all the studies ever done on it show no ill effects.
posted by danny the boy at 4:40 PM on December 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


Not as bad as toxic, but pretty damn blah.

I just don't understand the appeal.

I think you're missing the big picture. People go to McDonald's for consistency, convenience, and familiarity. Like a computer OS, the "kernel" of McD's is franchised off and replicated a thousand times across the US and across the world. Plastic seating, smiling clown, puck shaped breakfast egg, and gleaming industrial kitchen machinery, all stamped from the same uniform mold.

Yes, there are better single establishment eateries and also regional chains. But, you know what? Sometimes you're far away from your house, or in a strange city, or even a strange country and for whatever reason, call it culture shock or fatigue or inertia or decision exhaustion, but you just don't know where to go or what to eat. When you see those arches and step in, the familiar sights, sounds, tastes, and service permeate around you. Know that McDonald's has worked extremely hard so in that wherever you are, whether in Seattle or Atlanta or even Beijing (with some consideration to localization) it becomes that shitty McD's that you pass by everyday on the way home, and in that moment, however brief, the distance between two places comes just a little bit closer.
posted by FJT at 4:53 PM on December 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


I don't doubt that the McRib is fundamentally food, i.e. nutritious. Eating cockroaches and crickets and earthworms would keep you alive and hearty as well.

> On a "completely unrelated" note, here's how hot-dogs are made.

People who like to eat hot dogs do not like to be reminded how they are made and for those of us who dislike hot dogs I bet most of us have a pretty good guess how they are made. Who are these 5 million people that downloaded that youtube?
posted by bukvich at 4:57 PM on December 17, 2012


"Give us your poor, your tired, your decision exhausted, yearning for comfort and McRib."

It's a totally cynical thing to do, no?
posted by deo rei at 4:59 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


i totally know how hot dogs are made and i think they're delicious.
posted by nadawi at 5:03 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


omg the msg bs. my mom is utterly convinced she's allergic to msg. what she is allergic to is corn, but refuses to understand that corn starch is just as bad as popcorn for her. so, yes mom, you probably totally get sick when you eat out at chinese places, but that isn't actually a reason to not eat chinese food i make because i know you're allergic to corn and wouldn't put fucking corn starch in it. /rant
posted by nadawi at 5:05 PM on December 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


Give us your poor, your tired, your decision exhausted, yearning for comfort and McRib.

and Western-style toilets. I adapted fairly well to squat toilets, but let's just say for the first couple of months I was familiar with the location of most McDonald's in Beijing.
posted by FJT at 5:07 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I picked one up for my husband, yesterday. Now I feel like I was blessed with some early McRib privilege.
posted by Fig at 5:09 PM on December 17, 2012


Wasn't somebody in the past few weeks telling a story about putting a McRib sandwich in their dogs dish, and the dog just sniffed it, came over and stared at them with accusing eyes?
posted by mannequito at 5:13 PM on December 17, 2012


Thanks for getting the word on out the McRib, MeFites! We wouldn't have heard about this otherwise.
posted by DU at 5:13 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I had a yen for barbecue today, so I stopped by a local rib shack and had a sandwich of exquisite pulled pork with just enough crunchy bark to make a smoky contrast to the tender inside meat. The sandwich was slathered with a piquant sauce that balanced at the pinnacle of tart, hot, and sweet. It was topped with a dollop of chow chow and a couple of pickles, served on a toasted bun. It came with fries and collard greens. It was $9. That's, what, three bucks more than a McRib meal?

I understand that not everyone lives at the Crossroads of American Barbecue, where a myriad of proud purveyors of pulled pork vie for diners' dollars, but other than the sheer novelty of it, I don't get too enthused about the McRib.

(McNuggets, though! I can eat those all day.)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:21 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Swine is currently trading at 82 cents per pound, which looks like counter-evidence for the thesis of this earlier post.
posted by moss at 5:23 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Pssst--I don't how long it takes to get from pen to patty, but I imagine what its trading price was weeks or months earlier may be more useful.)
posted by sourwookie at 5:40 PM on December 17, 2012


Wasn't somebody in the past few weeks telling a story about putting a McRib sandwich in their dogs dish, and the dog just sniffed it, came over and stared at them with accusing eyes?

Woah. If that's not a scientific survey based in fact, I don't know what is. Next thing we know people will be claiming that the Bible is made up.

Infidels.
posted by item at 5:41 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Haters gonna hate. McDonalds is no worse (or better, admittedly) than any other mass-marketed American food. McRib is no worse than anything else at McDonalds. I like real BBQ, I like real ribs, I like quinoa, I eat at the macrobiotic place here regularly, I eat a largely vegetarian diet, and I like McRibs. So much so that when I got my McRib a few weeks ago (they came to Austin early, I guess?) and the McDrone asked me of I wanted to add a second McRib to my meal for $1 I said "Hell yes!"

They're delicious.

and the patty is shaped sort of like ribs. Like a play-doh set would form ribs
posted by dirtdirt at 6:04 PM on December 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have never eaten a McRib. I've been crazy enough to want to try one several times in my life, but those times have never synched up with the availability / opportunity to purchase a McRib. Maybe this time. Who knows.

I did have a girlfriend once who was strangely sensitive to subliminal messaging and marketing.

She thought the name of the sandwich was "McRib is back."
posted by gauche at 6:21 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Correction to the description: as the linked bizweek article states, the McRib patties are made by OSI, which is a supplier to McDonalds, and not located at the McD HQ in Oakbrook.
posted by wotsac at 6:24 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


And why is it always pictured as being served with a Dr. Pepper?

Dr Pepper was originally a laxative tonic whose purpose was to keep you regular. Even today it's distinctive taste is that of prunes.*

So my guess is that for health and safety reasons McDonald's doesn't want the McRib staying inside you for very long, possibly to help prevent you from dying of it; so when they sell you one, they sell you the means to flush it out at the same time.

*Note that this actually appears to be a long-lived urban legend
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:29 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Western-style toilets

Touché.
posted by deo rei at 6:33 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Western-style toilets

Touché.


Douché.
posted by slogger at 7:02 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know it's pork because they squeal when you cook them. True story. They are delicious.
posted by gjc at 7:07 PM on December 17, 2012


How do you keep flies from landing on your McRib?

Unwrap it.
posted by porn in the woods at 7:13 PM on December 17, 2012


As someone who eats taco bell more frequently than i would like to admit, i only got about 10 or 15 comments in to this thread and people's descriptions of the actual mcrib grossed me out.

Somehow i can handle The Jungle and mexican pizzas, but thinking about eating this thing really grosses me out.
posted by sio42 at 7:35 PM on December 17, 2012


I guess the real question is if they've figured out how to harvest the squeal yet.
posted by ckape at 7:38 PM on December 17, 2012


the meat in the McRib is manufactured at a processing plant at McDonald's HQ in Illinois.

As noted by commenters above the plant is nowhere near the HQ.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:47 PM on December 17, 2012


This food sounds horrible! When is the meetup?
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:47 PM on December 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Actually, a Dr Pepper reduction is an excellent foundation for a BBQ sauce

I haven't gone so far as a reduction, but easily the most crowd-pleasing sauce I regularly is a ketchup/Dr. Pepper/chipotle based sauce.

And yeah, I'll attest to the Dr's efficacy at, uh, moving things along.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:20 PM on December 17, 2012


Wasn't somebody in the past few weeks telling a story about putting a McRib sandwich in their dogs dish, and the dog just sniffed it, came over and stared at them with accusing eyes

The black lab we used to have would have scarfed it in 2 seconds, farted, and then gone about his bidness.

Don't like McRib, but when we're in a big city, starved for time, and in the car, a McDouble is just fine to assuage the burger jones. No matter what, the burger is the same no matter where we are at and reliability counts for something.
posted by Ber at 8:34 PM on December 17, 2012


That McRib Locator is just another way for cruel trolls to taunt us McRibless Canadians. Those markers of McRib sightings North of the 49th? They're all Lies. DISPUTED.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:04 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


No matter what, the burger is the same no matter where we are at and reliability counts for something.

Reliability counts, I guess, but every time I hear this about McDonald's, I'm reminded of the World Cup in Japan several years ago. There was something about it on the news almost every night, and one time, they interviewed an American family who were here for two weeks to take in the games. When asked what they thought of the food, the father cheerfully replied that it was okay, they'd eaten at McDonald's the whole time, so they didn't have to worry about weird food, or getting sick.

In Japan. Say what you will about the food (and yeah, I'm not crazy about it, personally), but at the very least, the average Japanese restaurant is a lot cleaner than a comparable one back home. Not just that, but raising your kids to think that foreign=scary... gah.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:27 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


morningstar vegetarian hickory ribs

This always makes me laugh, because I think "soy protein concentrate" and "textured wheat protein" to be just as weird and gross as "pink slime" AKA "the delicious parts of the pig we don't eat because eating animals makes us uncomfortable".

If you're pounding down frozen veggie patties I don't think you have any moral superiority over people licking strange BBQ off their fingers. Both are modern heavily processed foods, but only one of them is made for people who don't enjoy eating.
posted by karlshea at 9:49 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, you forgot that one involves industrial pig farming and processing, which is fucking disgusting and cruel.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:02 PM on December 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Lately, I've switched to a mostly vegetarian diet, for health reasons.

Even though both are processed, I'll take a googel of Gardenburgers over 1 McRib. A chipotle Gardenburger, on a corn tortilla with salsa and fresh avocado, is a heavenly, heavenly meal.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:14 PM on December 17, 2012


I had my first McRib of McRib season this evening, and I always forget how much I enjoy them when they aren't around. The weird knock-off that my local convenience store chain creates just can't compare. I do wonder about the pickles though - for some reason, I don't remember the McRibs of my childhood having pickles. Have they always, and I just don't remember it?

I actually find the restructured meat ingrediants comforting. They're better than what I thought was in the patty, really. Tripe, heart and stomach are at least identifiable and commonly eaten parts of an animal. Maybe my years of school lunch in the midwest trained the squimish out of me.
posted by madelf at 10:28 PM on December 17, 2012


Well, you forgot that one involves industrial pig farming and processing, which is fucking disgusting and cruel.

Aren't McRibs made of animal parts that would be thrown away (or perhaps given to pets)? And if that's the case, couldn't an argument be made that it would be (marginally) better to eat a McRib than a hamburger?

To a more morally rigid perspective, an animal has still died. But, in terms of reducing harm, if millions of McRibs are eaten, that could potentially reduce the slaughter of thousands of animals.
posted by FJT at 10:31 PM on December 17, 2012


I have to admit, the most indigestible thing I've eaten in a long time was a Clif bar. Those things are a gritty sludge of nasty soy protein isolate that my body refuses to treat as food -- it's like eating a handful of dried mud with sand in it. Though it must be said in its defense that it stays down, unlike the only time I was ever desperate enough to eat at a Carl's Jr.

As for the McRib, I'd need to be pretty close to death before I'd consider putting one in my mouth.

On preview, FJT, nothing from the pig is thrown away. The McRib competes with "vienna sausage" and spam and the like for pig offal. When the market prices for these parts are high, the McRib disappears again.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:38 PM on December 17, 2012


FJT, I once saw Peter Singer speaking about this very dilemma. The example he used was, say you are a vegetarian who is catching a flight to somewhere, and you didn't realise that food would be served on the flight so you forgot to tell them your preference. They have already loaded and prepared a non-vegetarian meal for you, and so when they bring it to serve to you, do you accept it? The animal has already died, and the food would otherwise be wasted since they (at least in this hypothetical example) brought exactly enough food for each passenger.

I can't for the life of me remember if he said if he would accept it or not, and I'm trying with no luck to find a link to any of his writings that uses the same example.
posted by Joe Chip at 10:53 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


As an avowed meat-eater who grew up in a 'A for effort, D for follow through' Jewish household where we at least tried to keep kosher when we cooked at home, the Morningstar Farms soy patties we had back in the 80's were awesome. Even better, when they were crumbled up, then made into tacos, they were abso-fucking-lutely wonderful. There was something different, something, dare I say it, better than the texture of ground beef. That, and it was the only way to have cheese on our tacos.

The soy bacon of the 80's, though, that sucked. Hard.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:03 PM on December 17, 2012


Also, I *love* that pork arbitrage article, I frequently make reference to it, and if you haven't read it already I highly recommend it. How can you go wrong with quotes like:
Fast food involves both hideously violent economies of scale and sad, sad end users who volunteer to be taken advantage of.
The idea of pork arbitrage always makes me think of the pork futures in Discworld.
posted by Joe Chip at 11:07 PM on December 17, 2012


I generally won't eat fast food because afterwards I feel like I swallowed a car battery. But once in a while, a McRib really hits the spot.
posted by Pudhoho at 11:14 PM on December 17, 2012


My local McDs have had the McRib for at *least* a month now, if not more.

I've discovered that you can order them with cheese, with Mac sauce added, but *not* without the BBQ sauce ("because they come with the sauce", said the drive-through cashier).
posted by mrbill at 11:54 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


when I finally tried a McRib last year I was horrified

Not a defect: that's how McRib addiction starts for everyone.

McRib makes you work for it.
posted by colie at 12:20 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The real question here is "How can I get donkey sauce on my McRib?"
posted by octobersurprise at 2:33 AM on December 18, 2012


Guys, quit saying the McRib is gross or unnatural.

It is made from pure clown meat. There are no bones, as clowns are bendy and wacky and a skeleton would impede their antics.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:11 AM on December 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


I have had a personal embargo on McD's for 11 years, 6 months, and 8 days. This is why.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:25 AM on December 18, 2012


I like McRibs but I don't like the actual McRib. They should offer a McChicken slathered in that bbq sauce with pickles and onion.

I know I say this every time but the McRib and McNuggets are perfectly in line with the cullinary tradition of forcemeat. I don't know when Americans started getting too good for french cookery. It is a little precious to be constantly horrified by the types of food people other than you eat.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:20 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


McRib and McNuggets are perfectly in line with the cullinary tradition of forcemeat

McRib would be an even bigger cult if the marketing department had called it 'The McForcemeat'.
posted by colie at 10:41 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


if you're pounding down frozen veggie patties I don't think you have any moral superiority

uh, i'm pretty sure by describing it as junk food (and later in the thread explaining that i know where hot dogs come from and still love them) i wasn't trying to gain any moral superiority. i was just saying they taste good if fast food molded ribs products were tasty to you.

i enjoy eating a lot. i like incredibly fancy things and $1 taco bell food. i like spending 7 hours in the kitchen to make a spectacular meal and i like walmart's mac and cheese. i don't feel above people eating the mcrib, and i'm not sure why you feel above people who eat molded soy junk food (and acknowledge it as such).
posted by nadawi at 10:50 AM on December 18, 2012


I dislike anything that is BBQ flavored (not necessarily "sauce that is on food that has been barbecued", but stuff where BBQ is touted as the primary flavor) so I always figured that McRibs would be vile on that basis. On the other hand, I also figure it's just more for the people who do like it.

I reserve my anger for "Ranch" flavored things, which have replaced the proper use of bleu cheese and horseradish dressings. (Ranch with buffalo wings? Ranch with fried onions? Blasphemy!).
posted by Karmakaze at 10:54 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


The McForcemeat

Mc-Foodie-Donalds? The Pigsnout McSousvide.

FWIW, McDonalds PR appears to be on the case; there are updates within the originally-linked "restructured meat technology" article disputing the claims:
UPDATE: According to McDonald's, "The McRib is made from simple ground pork. No tripe, heart, stomach, offal or similar parts are used."
and also:
UPDATE: According to McDonald's, "Azodicarbonamide is a common ingredient used across the baking industry. The azodicarbonamide used to make breads is highly refined and not the same as the industrial grade used in plastics."
(Not McDonalds-ist, although I could take or leave the McRib; just please don't tell me what's in the breakfast sausage.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:46 PM on December 18, 2012


According to McDonald's, "Azodicarbonamide is a common ingredient used across the baking industry. The azodicarbonamide used to make breads is highly refined and not the same as the industrial grade used in plastics."

Yes, but is the frogurt also cursed? Because that would be bad.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:04 PM on December 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


uncleozzy: ""There's a McDonald's on the way to my in-laws that usually has a message on the sign outside, such as 'TRY NEW CHERY BERY CHILER [sic]'."

I would love it if the sign said exactly that, including the [sic].

FJT: "Like a computer OS, the "kernel" of McD's is franchised off and replicated a thousand times across the US and across the world. Plastic seating, smiling clown, puck shaped breakfast egg, and gleaming industrial kitchen machinery, all stamped from the same uniform mold."

True, but not all of the same quality. McDonald's here in Japan tastes good. Not awesome, of course, but good. The menu is more or less the same as in the US, though, so I imagine the difference is either in the quality of the ingredients used, the care taken in cooking, or, more likely, both.
posted by Bugbread at 7:15 PM on December 18, 2012


I've discovered that you can order them with cheese, with Mac sauce added, but *not* without the BBQ sauce ("because they come with the sauce", said the drive-through cashier).

The patties are cooked and then immediately placed into a pan of the barbeque sauce where they sit in a steam table until the sandwich is assembled. You could probably convince them to cook you a fresh patty, but it would take a while.
posted by gjc at 4:51 AM on December 19, 2012


Ian Bogost and his piece McObjet a.
posted by Wordshore at 4:12 PM on December 19, 2012


Bugbread, I hate to break it to you, but you're almost certainly eating the same beef patty here in Japan as you would be in America. Any non-perishable (or freezable) foodstuff at McDonalds is the same worldwide. Random case in point: several years ago, when there was a bird-flu/random chicken sickness in Pennsylvania, countries around the world, including Japan, halted imports of American chicken. It took a couple months before importing started again, and during that time, there were no chicken products to be had at McDonald's in Japan. No nuggets, no Chicken-filet-o's. The fries, the patties, everything is imported. Worldwide homogeneity, which, I guess, is the goal. Personally, I'm a little saddened if I go somewhere new and can't find something new.

If you're in Tokyo, though:

Brozers, which has a shop in Ningyocho (and evidently one in Ginza) has awesome burgers, lots of pepper in the meat, amazing milk shakes.

Fire House, in Hongo, has pretty damn tasty burgers. I've only been once, but I do recall being fully satisfied by a great burger.

There's also I-Kousya(tabelog link, can't find their homepage), which I saw on a show about the Suidobashi area. I've heard good, good things about this place.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:14 PM on December 19, 2012


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