The billboards herald it as if it's the return of the Messiah, the sandwich gleaming from on high in all of its liquid-smoke-and-high-fructose-corn-syrup-glazed glory: The McRib is back!
The elusive McDonald’s item, inspired by the pulled-pork sandwiches of the Carolinas, has always featured what amounts to a very incongruous jump in faux-food logic: The pork-parts slurry is fashioned into the shape of a small rack of ribs, complete with bones. While Southerners may love a hunk of fried catfish, bones and all, stuffed between two slices of bread, people aren't going to grind their teeth through the rib of a hog.
Seen nude and raw, as a photo posted on Reddit shows, McRib meat looks far less like an anatomical representation of pig anatomy than like pork mush that’s been driven over by deep-tread tires.
In 2011, Willy Stately wrote for The Awl that McDonald’s sole, erratic pork offering is in fact an act of arbitrage—that the chain only sells the sandwich when the commodities market is flooded with cheap pork futures, allowing it to make a killing during its limited run despite its seemingly low price.
If you can demonstrate that McDonald’s only introduces the sandwich when pork prices are lower than usual, then you’re but a couple logical steps from concluding that McDonald’s is essentially exploiting a market imbalance between what normal food producers are willing to pay for hog meat at certain times of the year, and what Americans are willing to pay for it once it is processed, molded into illogically anatomical shapes, and slathered in HFCS-rich BBQ sauce.