Friday, November 5, 2010

The McRib Experience (AkA the McSponge)

Well, there has been quite a bit of hype about the return of the McRib. Or, as I call it, the Re-Return of the McHype, since this has got to be the best advertising scheme ever in existence. It's got some sort of magnetic, nostalgic, extra-terrestrial draw that keeps addicts jonesing for it and salivating over its return every year.

I myself had never tried one. I mean, it's McPork. How could it be good? But let's face it, it's been around since 1981, and a "recurring" holiday item since 1985. That's nearly 30 years of history, people. So this year... I don't know if the hype was more intense than usual or if I was just thrilled to see a commercial that WASN'T an angry Political Ad... but I decided that this year, 2010, was the year for ME to taste a McRib. I wanted to see what the Big Deal was. I mean, people literally devote fan clubs to this thing. I personally know people who sneak out of their homes AFTER DINNER to eat one... or two... for "Dessert." So, I've gotta try this thing, right?

Don't get me wrong. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it. I didn't suffer from some delusion that I would take one bite and stalk, Zombie-like, to every McDonald's that I passed until the McRib's "Limited Time" was up.

And I was correct.

The McRib.

A "Formed Pork Patty" roughly in the shape of a (smallish) Pork Rib. But no bones. So, basically, it's mechanically separated pork, formed into a "Riblet" shape. Ok. I can see how people would like that. People love Chicken McNuggets. I myself have never had one of those either, but I understand that most people don't have issues with the "Chopped Formed Meat" phenomenon.
The BBQ Sauce. It's a dark, sweet sauce. It's not awful, it's not fabulous.
Pickles and Onions. Typical McD's pickles here but the onions are not the mini-chopped ones I'm used to here. They're "sliced"... sort of. They're largeish chunks of onion. And they're paired with BBQ sauce and Pickles. That's a classic combination. It works.
The Bun. The bun impressed me. I expected something dry, hard, and flavorless. This one was actually soft, yeasty, and fresh-ish. Am I clamoring to the store to try and buy its equal? No. But it was better than expected.

So, then. Back to the "Pork Patty." The essence of the McRib? It was more like a McSponge. Seriously. It rather closely resembled that sponge you remember from your Junior High School cafeteria tables. (Again, I realize that a lot of people don't mind the "Chopped Formed" food phenom, but... for me... Uck.)

The Wrap Up: While the flavor combination of Oink, BBQ Sauce, Pickles and Onions is classic and good... it's still McDonald's. I won't be rushing back for another one (I barely finished my half of this one) nor will I be eagerly anticipating its next "Limited Time" arrival. But, hey, for those of you who love this thing, Yeehaw. It's back.

(For a Limited Time.)

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