Home » Analysis » McDonald’s McRib is back! The Culinary Gutter or Hot Culinary Love Affair? You decide

McDonald’s McRib is back! The Culinary Gutter or Hot Culinary Love Affair? You decide

Temptation basically sums up the McRib

I recently read some food blogs with unconfirmed reports that the McRib would be back on October 25th. When I read these words my blood pressure spiked, my face got flush and I became awkward like a 13-year-old boy with sweaty palms at his first boy-girl dance. I had memories rushing forward of its toasted fluffy bakery bun, tangy bbq sauce, pressed federation of sweet and tender pork meat into a boneless “rib” shape and topped with pickles and sweet brown onion.

You may ask, why does Tom, and other loyal McRib lovers, get so excited about the return of the McRib? I think there are two answers:

First, the McRib returns only comes to visit once  every couple of years. When it returns, it is like having a torrid affair with a long-lost lover. At first, you just cant get enough of each other, but then the excitement goes away and  you can’t stand looking at it anymore. Then the McRib disappears overnight,  and then you regret not spending more time together at the end.

 Second, I think many foodies have a strong emotional connection between the McRib and their Childhood.  I remember my first time with a McRib in 1984, when I was a young boy eating my first McRib while watching the Los Angeles Olympics on the television. Even then, I can remember biting through the fluffy and slightly toasted roll and tasting the sweet tang of BBQ sauce. When I bit further the awesome flavor of the fake rib meat mixed with the tart flavor of the pickle, savory flavor of white onion and tang of the BBQ Sauce coming together. When I chewed these ingredients together for the first time,  the flavor and texture profile left me breathless and my pupils dilated. I was just a young boy, but that late summer day, McDonalds made me an addict and lover to their McRib Sandwich.


From this description, the McRib may sound like over processed fast faux food, although this sandwich genuinely has great flavors and textures.  So the question I present to you my fellow foodies, does the McRib represent low-brow table fare that should be ignored or should the McRib be appreciated on its own merits and within the context of its own genre. I will let you make that decision.

To you my fellow McRib lover, it is o.k. to be a full-fledged foodie and still appreciate the McRib. It is o.k. to visit the culinary ghetto, because the ghetto still  has some charm.

To you the foodie haters out there who raise your nose at the McRib, it is more popular than you might realize. When I visited McDonalds during lunch, every single table had ordered the McRib including men, women and old people….even a Priest. I interviewed a couple at McDonalds about their experience with the McRib and the  best quote I received was, “I fed my Son his first McRib today and I am very proud.” LOL

The McRib does not need a star rating as it is already in Emeritus Status on my rating scale.

 Aside: Some funny and interesting pictures from this years packaging. It’s obvious that I am not the only one who has these feeling for the McRib, as McDonalds is actively marketing to people like me. I think it’s pretty funny and marketing genius.

They should have written, "Your old LOVER is back...", but this is a family restaurant so you can't use too many sexual innuendos

Ok I get the pig picture...but what the heck is in that scooper? Lard? Sugar? I'm baffled on this one

This pretty much sums up some of the main flavor profiles.

About Tom Holmberg

Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.


  1. OK Tom, I have to admit that I have never had a McRib. I know loads of people who get all excited about them, but the whole concept always seemed gross to me. Until today…. your post just persuaded me to give it a try. I still don’t have high hopes, but I’m going for it.

    By the way, I just did a search for McRib and found the “Legend of the McRib” at http://mcdonalds.com/us/en/promotions/mcrib.html , which boasts “Even your dreams dream about this.” On their FaceBook page they call it “The Ambassador of Awesome”. That’s some big talk for a sandwich in a box. This should be interesting. :)

    • Hey Karen!
      I am really curious…dare I say even excited to hear how you fare with a McRib. Thanks for forwarding this to link as well! The quote sounded like the movie Inception but for Mcrib or even “the most interesting sandwich in the world”. LOL. Let me know how it goes :)

  2. My curiosity finally got the better of me when the McRib reappeared a year or two ago. And it was my first and last…LOL…

    :o) Beth

  3. Tom, at least you acknowledged that it is “fake” rib meat! When I first bit into it without any prior childhood memories, I thought to myself, what in the world is this crap! I do, however, enjoy their “fake” chicken nuggets once in a while with the sweet and sour sauce!

    • Hey Julie,

      It is definietely fake over processed meat (even on the sketchy side), but I seriously think that every culture has their weird dish that only tastes good to people who grew up in that geography, from formented turtle eggs in the Gallapagos, to sheep instestine soup in Greece. I think that the McRib is the American Version of this special occasion dish, only delicious if you grew up on it. LOL and for the record I really do understand why people find it unappealing.


  4. One vote for culinary gutter. Fast food in general is, but this especially, looks unappetizing.

  5. I savour, result in I found exactly what I was taking a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

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