Is there anything more unnatural than the McRib Sandwich? McDonald’s should never have anything to do with BBQ (although for some strange reason, I do like their BBQ sauce on nuggets, but let’s not tell anybody that). Stick to making inferior hamburgers and leave BBQ alone!! (I’ll probably catch some grief for that considering the cultish following of the McRib.)
Let’s start with the “patty”. Not a single rib bone to be found. Heck, it’s not even rib meat. No, it’s a “restructured meat product” and according to a 1995 article “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”. I don’t know about you, but man am I getting hungry.
What about the ingredients? Fairly simple. Pork, bread, sauce, pickles and onions. 5 things, right? No, try over 70 ingredients including azodicarbonamide, an agent often used in the production of foamed plastics. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
My sandwich came to being out of a two part necessity years ago. One was having leftover ribs after a large cook out. Yeah, I know, leftover ribs? How’d that happen? Overestimating on my part. The second was rib trimmings. You remember us talking about how to trim spare ribs down to St. Louis Style way back in May of last year right? No, well you can refresh your memory with our post on CherrySmoked Ribs. Once you’ve trimmed your ribs, what do you do with all that extra meat? Throw it away? That would be wasteful. Sometimes I save it and grind it up when I am making sausage, but usually I smoke it alongside the ribs and snack on it while the ribs are cooking. This is often called ” the chef’s treat” in BBQ circles. Sometimes I like to smoke it and use it for my version of the McRib.
There really isn’t much of a recipe for my McRib. It all depends on how much rib meat you have leftover and how much of the trimmings that you didn’t eat while smoking the ribs. Sometimes it will make a few sandwiches, sometimes it will only make one. As you can see above, this time there was quite a bit since I had the trimming from two racks of ribs. You want to make sure to remove any bones, cartilage or excess fat from the ribs while pulling and chopping it up.
Next, heat a skillet up to medium/medium high heat. Dump the leftover meat in and add some BBQ sauce. If its your own home made BBQ sauce, extra points for you. If not, use your favorite bottled sauce. This time I tried out Aaron Franklin’s Texas Style BBQ Sauce (which is now available in 150 HEB stores in Texas). Can’t rightly say how much sauce you will need, because it depends on how much meat you have. You want enough to coat all the meat. Next, add in a splash of water to thin the sauce a bit, cover and let heat through. Stir every so often and add more sauce if necessary.
Once your kitchen has taken on the wonderful aroma of BBQ and your meat is heated through, its time to construct your McRib. Take a hamburger bun, ciabatta bun, hoagie roll or bread of your choice (I like to toast mine just a bit. I feel like it helps hold up better with the sauce, but that’s up to you), and top with the warmed up rib meat. Add some pickles and sweet onions, more sauce if you like it messy, and you are ready to eat.
Way better than McDonald’s, that’s for sure. You know you are actually getting rib meat and not some weird combination of various pig parts and unpronounceable chemicals. Just five ingredients: meat, bread, pickles, onions and sauce. Ok, the sauce has more ingredients, sue me. But at least this version has real smoke flavor like BBQ should. So next time you smoke some ribs, save those trimmings and any leftover ribs and treat yourself to what a McRib should really taste like. I’m willing to bet that you will never eat another McRib again.