Yesterday, Ronnie and I decided to go to McDonald's for lunch to celebrate the book launch. We only eat out a few times a year, and it seemed like a great time to get out of the cabin for an afternoon and celebrate with some "grid-food." It gets me out of cooking and doing dishes for a meal. McDonald's does have a french fry that you can't recreate at home because it is made with artificial beef tallow scent and flavoring for that distinct taste. It is an engineered flavor and unhealthy, but one I still like to have once in a while to remember the days I spent chugging them alone in my car.
As we pull into the parking lot, Ronnie says, "Hey! The McRib is back!"
I respond, "I don't think I have ever had one. Should we try it? Do you remember ever eating one?"
"No. Not that I can remember...," Ronnie says.
I replied, "Considering I just learned about the 3% "other" allowed in the 100% ground beef, I think I might try the rib thing. I know it probably isn't any better nutrition-wise, but I am curious why some people wait all year for it." So I ordered two McRib meals with unsweetened ice teas. We don't drink soda or sugary drinks.
I parked the truck, opened our McRib boxes, and were both surprised to see giant chunks of poorly chopped onion and a pale patty swimming in a thin watery BBQ sauce. Growing up in Kansas - BBQ sauce isn't thin enough to see through, so it seemed a little weird.
"I'll give it a shot anyway." I thought.
On my first bite and after two or three chews, I realized I had made a colossal mistake. I had bitten off a portion of the patty that didn't have sauce, onions, or pickles. It was a musty flavorless, strangely textured, and slightly rubbery patty.
It had been a 45-minute drive to get to the fast-food joint, and I was starving. I figured I better give it another try. Another bite full-on, with all the fixings, and I was amazed at the total lack of flavor. BBQ sauce is supposed to knock your socks off, complimenting the meat, but this sauce had to be thin and flat not to make the flavorless patty seem like a textured sauce sandwich.
Not wanting to give up on much needed, at this point, calories, I lamented as I chewed and worked on searching for flavor. How and why do people think this is good?? I asked Ronnie how he was getting along with it. His response was, "This is horrible. I am never doing this again. Every time we go out, we are disappointed. I guess we did it to ourselves with good food at home."
I thought about our homegrown, non-soy-fed, pasture-raised, Berkshire pork ribs I had made a few nights before, and there was no comparison. They were not the same in any way. I felt bad for people who thought this was delicious food. Did they not know what they were missing out on by having real pork ribs? It didn't seem like food to me, and it was expensive. Our lunch cost 17.00. I could have bought a ten-pound tube of beef for just a few dollars more. Or I could have purchased two slabs of baby back ribs and a BBQ sauce! I could have porked out on ribs! Forget the fries!
The patty has been engineered to be cheaply made and sold for a high profit. I decided to look up the ingredients. 100% pork as an ingredient can cover virtually any part of the pig, including trimmings and tripe, which is the stomach. I have butchered enough pigs to know the chewy texture in my patty wasn't just meat protein, and with a little further digging, I found HALF of the patty consists of fat! It's a giant fat sandwich with 22 grams of fat. Let me put this in context for you. A medium slice of bacon has 3.3 grams of fat. This sandwich is equivalent to eating six and a half pieces of bacon and not nearly as tasty!!
I understand there are die-hard McRib fans. I respect people's choices to treat, spoil, or even overindulge in a product, but I would urge you... PLEAD with you... if you like this sandwich for its flavor, seek out some REAL pork ribs. Find a decent BBQ joint that has been in business for a long time. Purchase some pasture-raised pork or pork from a farmer's market and find that the "McRib flavor" can be ten or even 100 times more delicious! Great food is work, and a better, more delicious meal is just a little effort away.
Remember! Every BBQ pit-master started by lifting a grill lid with very little knowledge!
New Facebook pages are popping up all over the USA to shop local farms. We have a page here in Kansas. "Shop Kansas Farms." Where you can find local farms to buy real and unprocessed foods. Check for one in your area and shop local. The products are better when not mass-produced. Grow yourself a little to seek more splendid flavors in life!