The McDonald’s McRib is back, hitting restaurants nationwide today. The legendary boneless pork sandwich, famously molded to resemble a rack of ribs, is both a feat of modern engineering and shrewd marketing.
It garners almost as much attention for its pseudo-meat shape as its impermanence on restaurant menus.
The barbecue-sauce-smothered sandwich was supposed to return at the end of October, but was pushed back to help boost end-of-the-year sales.
Better late than never.
1. The McRib came about because of a shortage of chickens.
In a 2009 interview with Maxim, Rene Arend, McDonald’s first executive chef and inventor of the Chicken McNugget, explains that the McNugget was so popular when it was first introduced in 1979 that demand quickly outstripped chicken supply.
The legendary pork sandwich was developed out of necessity. Franchises that didn’t have the Chicken McNugget needed a new hot-selling product — and that’s when Arend scrambled back to the test kitchen.
2. The McRib was inspired by Southern BBQ.
Flickr/Southern Foodways AllianceRene Arend modeled the McRib after the barbecue-sauce-slathered pork sandwiches he ate during a visit to Charleston, South Carolina.
The decorated French-trained chef, who once whipped up fancy culinary creations for the Drake Hotel, is also credited with coming up the unique shape of the sandwich.
Although the McRib doesn’t contain a single bone, Arend suggested the meat be patterned after a slab of ribs instead of the classic round patty.
3. The McRib is a product of “restructured meat technology.”
Rene Arend came up with the idea and design of the McRib, but it’s a professor from the University of Nebraska named Richard Mandigo who developed the “restructured meat product” that the McRib is actually made of.
According to an article from Chicago magazine, which cites a 1995 article by Mandigo, “restructured meat product” contains a mixture of tripe, heart, and scalded stomach, which is then mixed with salt and water to extract proteins from the muscle. The proteins bind all the pork trimmings together so that it can be re-molded into any specific shape — in this case, a fake slab of ribs.
4. The whole process from fresh pork to frozen McRib takes about 45 minutes.
Director of McDonald’s U.S. supply chain Rob Cannell explained how regular pig gets transformed into the famed McRib in an interview with Maxim: “The McRib is made in large processing plants—lots of stainless steel, a number of production lines, and these long cryogenic freezers. The pork meat is chopped up, then seasoned, then formed into that shape that looks like a rib back. Then we flash-freeze it. The whole process from fresh pork to frozen McRib takes about 45 minutes.”
5. The entire McRib sandwich contains about 70 ingredients — including a flour-bleaching agent used in yoga mats.
Flickr/Calgary Reviews As it appears out of the box, the McRib sandwich consists of just five basic components: a pork patty, barbecue sauce, pickle slices, onions, and a sesame bun.
But, as recently reported by Time magazine, a closer inspection of McDonald’s own ingredient list reveals that the pork sandwich contains a total of 70 ingredients. This includes azodicarbonamide, a flour-bleaching agent often used in the production of foamed plastics.
The entire sandwich packs a whopping 500 calories, 26 grams of fat, 44 grams of carbs, and 980 Read more Wednesday 121219