The McRib is a barbecue pork sandwich periodically sold by the international fast-food restaurant chain McDonald’s. It was first introduced to the McDonald’s menu in 1981. After poor sales it was removed from the menu in 1985. It was reintroduced in 1989, staying on the menu until 2005. From 2006 onward, it was made available for a short time each year. The McRib consists of a pork patty, barbecue sauce, onions, and pickles served on a roll. Despite its name, it is primarily composed of pork shoulder meat, according to McDonalds. The patty is also composed of restructured meat products such as tripe, heart, and stomach and blended with salt and water to extract salt-soluble proteins, which act as a ‘glue’ that helps bind the reshaped meat together. The McRib has 70 ingredients, 34 of which are contained in the bun.

It was developed by McDonald’s first Executive Chef Rene Arend, who had fathered Chicken McNuggets in 1979. ‘The McNuggets were so well received that every franchise wanted them,’ said Arend in a 2009 interview. ‘There wasn’t a system to supply enough chicken. We had to come up with something to give the other franchises as a new product. So the McRib came about because of the shortage of chickens.’ It was his inspiration to shape the McRib patty ‘like a slab of ribs,’ despite the fact that a round patty would have been cheaper to manufacture and serve on standard hamburger buns.


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