Taste One for the Team: The McRib

Oct 26, 2010
Exec. Prod. of Franchises & Series. He previously reported for HuffPost, L.A. Daily Journal, and Biloxi Sun-Herald.

Taste One for the Team is TakePart's periodic foray into the world of fast-food stunt meals and gimmick nutrition. We taste these crimes against food so you, our innocent readers, won't have to. First up? The McRib...

Few fast-food items inspire as much adulation as the McRib, McDonald's ground pork patty sandwich, slathered in BBQ sauce, pickles and onions, and served on a hoagie roll.

Entire websites are devoted to tracking its rumored appearances across the nation, like some sort of edible Bigfoot. The elusive sandwich even got its own Simpsons doppleganger—the "Ribwich."

The true McRib was pulled from McDonald's regular menu back in 1985, but has intermittently reappeared in select locations. The anti-delicacy was the subject of a tandem "farewell tour" and "bring back the McRib" campaign (both orchestrated by McDonald's to stoke the McRib's legend among fans).

The McRib isn't even a rib sandwich at all. The pork patty has no bones; it's machine-shaped to look like it might. That deception doesn't seem to bother McRib fans. 

The McRib was last offered at all McDonald's stores nationwide back in 1994. That availability interval has certainly elevated its place in the pantheon of fast-food gimmicks (and fueled its rabid fan base). One worshipper told NPR's Guy Raz that he drove 10 hours to get his BBQ sauce-slathered pork fix.

All that McRib mystique will continue to build until November 2, when, to the delight of McRib fanatics across America, McDonald's will roll out the "sandwich" nationwide.

Except. Well.... some lucky locations already have the McRib. So, as a public service to TakePart readers (and to launch this new series), we hoofed it over to the McDonald's in Century City, California, and carried back two McRibs to TakePart HQ, to Taste One for the Team.

[A programming note before the tasting: although we are strong advocates of eating local, sustainable, healthy, organic food here at TakePart HQ, we are by no means enemies of fast food. Some of us here really like to eat fast food (we're more likely to consume after a few drinks). We just recognize that gorging on processed, factory-farmed fats packed in sodium is not something to be done habitually. We're Tasting One for the Team to help you, our faithful TakePart readers, decide if you should indulge in the latest corporate stunt food, or if you'd be better off saving your calories for something else.]

On to that tasting. Four intrepid TakePart HQ staffers took the plunge. And the results? Well... let's just say the marketing folks at McDonald's probably won't be retweeting this story.

Megan: "When my gag reflex kicked in, I wasn't sure I was going to get it down."

No Photo Shop was needed for this photo. The special effect is all McRib. (Photo: TakePart)

Laurel: "It was like biting into a rancid fat patty full of gelatin."

Matt: "Disgusting. Fatty. Repulsive."

Max: "You know that awful taste in your mouth you get after you vomit? That bile aftertaste? I got it almost immediately. And it was still there 20 minutes later."

So there ya have it, folks. Even drunk, we won't be ordering more McRibs at TakePart HQ. Our verdict is one big "pass."

If—against advisement—you insist on your McRib fix, here's what you're in for:

500 Calories. 240 Calories from Fat. 24g Fat. 10g Saturated Fat. 980mg Sodium. 22g Protein. 

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