It had been a long time coming. Ever since the McRib first made its debut in 1981, the McDonald’s delicacy has been standing out as a unique and beloved creation. So when McDonald’s announced on January 25th that it was bringing back the iconic sandwich to Canadian menus, people got excited.
The McRib is more than junk food, it is a cultural phenomenon, as evidenced by social media platforms lighting up with posts celebrating the McRib’s return, and by mainstream media covering the story.
Even Tania was caught in the frenzy, sharing with me the Ultimate Homemade McRib Recipe from Serious Eats.
The McRib has appeared on and off on the menu but was last sold in Canada in 2014. Many Canadians had given up on ever seeing the sandwich again, as McDonald’s USA had announced in 2022 that the elusive McRib was finally back… embarking on a “Farewell Tour”.
Other members of the Waffle’s family had no idea what they were missing. Inspired by Justin’s working class leadership, I was going to fix this. No, not that Justin. This one! →
The anticipation and excitement was contagious. Ms. Waffle agreed to pick up some McRibs on the way back from a shopping trip. Turns out, the saucy sensation is not available at every location, so she had to make a long detour to make it happen. God bless.
Soon, we all had the pleasure of indulging in the magical McRib. Well, not quite, as the Waffle Jr. opted for a cheeseburger. I wanted to ban her to the outlands but I figured it wouldn’t be worth the drama and would keep me from rediscovering the flavors, textures and smells of the elusive and exclusive sandwich.
The McRib was designed to be a pork alternative to the traditional beef patties that dominated the McDonald’s menu. Served on a roll with sesame seed, it has a distinctive rib-shaped pork patty, is smothered in tangy barbecue sauce and topped with pickles and onions.
The distinct shape, the aroma of barbecue sauce, it looked bigger than I remembered. I stared at it, not sure what to do. Mini-Waffle expressed some disappointment because there was no actual rib meat in the McRib. I am not sure why he expected rib meat. The name, maybe? Not sure.
At any rate, I wouldn’t let his high standards bring me down. Even though the McRib may draw inspiration from authentic barbecue, it ain’t it. It bears minimal resemblance to genuine ribs and doesn’t have the depth of slow smoked BBQ ribs. Indeed, it is not smoked and doesn’t even undergo grilling, it is instead cooked on a griddle. The McRib is just a delicious fantasy.
The generous coating of tangy barbecue sauce was everywhere. Even on the box. This could get messy. I was also not going to be discouraged by the botched construction, with uneven distribution of the onions and picklers. One of them was even folded! But I am a forgiver. After all, they must be swamped by all the orders pouring in!
The McRib’s unique texture is legendary. It is tender yet has some chew, offering a satisfying mouthfeel. The bun was fresh and soft, the meat juicy, the sauce thick and sticky. To contrast, the crunch of the pickles and the onions creates a delightful textural contrast that adds to the overall enjoyment.
The star of the show is probably the barbecue sauce. It is sweet, tangy, and slightly smoky. It works great with the pork, creating a delectable combination of sweetness and savory. The pickles provide a refreshing and slightly acidic touch while the sliced onions add some pungency. My mind wondered how it would taste with the McD’s classic rehydrated onions.
Maybe I’ll experiment next time.
Because yes, there will be a next time. Soon. Because in this corner, we may be hoping that the McRib is here to stay. But we know the clown wants to play games. Not today, clown!