The McRib Is Back—and This Is How It’s Made

McDonald's infamous pork sandwich is the latest menu item to have its origins revealed.
Nov 3, 2014·
Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor.

When the compressed pork-slurry sandwich known as the McRib last appeared at drive-throughs across the county, a photo of the uncooked, unsauced meat popped up on social media and proceeded to gross a lot of people out. The sandwich has returned yet again, but this year, we’re dealing with a very different McDonald’s—one that’s rather desperate for you to understand just where your fast-food order came from and how it was made. So the billboards pronouncing the return of the McRib are illustrated with a pork-butchering diagram (subtext: This is real meat!), and the company is superseding some lousy cell-phone photo of the raw product with a high-gloss video showing the inside of the factory where the faux ribs are manufactured.

Here’s the irony of the video—the end product is exactly what was shown in the photo that went viral. What rolls off the line at the production facility looks the same. But as Wes Bellamy, whom McDonald’s brought to the processing plant in Oklahoma City to see how the proverbial sausage is made, says in the video, “It’s kind of crazy, because it’s different now that I know what went inside of it,” despite the spitting similarity.

That’s the secret sauce of McDonald’s entire “Our Food. Your Questions” campaign: The company isn't changing or fixing any of the issues that have caused concern from consumers and public health advocates. Rather, it's just telling the full story about how it's all done. And just like that entrée you order at the corner bistro because the farmer's name is printed alongside the ingredients, some people are buying it.