Every year, the foodtastrophe known as the McRib sneaks its way back onto the McDonald's menu. And every year, food bloggers take a break from Instagramming photos of artisanal cronuts to look down their snarky noses about it. You can't even google the word McRib without an immediate and unending flood of anti-McRib blog headlines: "The McRib: The Worst Food in the World," "21 Gifs of Dogs Eating Their Own Feces Instead of the McRib," "Enjoy Your McDiabetes and Early Death, You Fat Piece of Shit."
I get it. The McRib is bad. There are a million reasons not to eat a McRib. It is overly processed, it is made from ingredients that push the qualifications of "food," and it has less nutritional value than eating the box the thing comes in. All of these are very real facts and I get them. But there's one important argument that food bloggers tend to overlook when getting on their high horses to tear down the McRib: IT IS FUCKING DELICIOUS.
Seriously, have you ever actually eaten a McRib? Let me paint this picture for you. You open the cardboard box up and there is this wonderfully weird red sandwich-like object staring back at you. After you take in its wafts of completely manufactured aromas, you sink your teeth into your first bite and it's this salty, gelatinous, porkish creation that tastes vaguely of barbeque. Note that at no point am I calling it "ribs." I've eaten some good, real ribs in my life. I've had some in Texas that were outrageously delicious and blew my taste buds out of my mind. The McRib cannot be compared to those. The McRib is not ribs. It doesn't have bones. It is it's own distinct, spongy, textured meat-esque food. And it is, as mentioned, delicious.
Image via Reddit.
This week, a photo of a frozen McRib made its way around the internet, and yeah, it looked gross. You know the way your dead relatives look when they are lying in their coffins as pale, lifeless versions of their former selves? That's what a McRib looks like before it's been cooked. (In this case, "cooked" = "prepared" and "prepared" = "thrown into an industrial strength microwave for 20 seconds and squirted with a special sauce from a plastic bottle.") But here's the thing: any food that you're eating at McDonald's, or any other chain restaurant, looks that bad before it's been cooked. Sometimes even worse. Have you ever seen how chicken nuggets are produced? Basically, they grind down the entire chicken except for the feathers—that includes bones, veins, and all kinds of other random chicken parts—into a paste that looks exactly like soft serve ice cream. Then, by some magical process, they turn them into chicken nuggets as we know and love them. I fully realize that the McRib is not a crowning achievement in the culinary arts, but how is it worse than chicken nuggets or anything else on a fast food menu? But for some reason, people seem to single out the McRib as the food they love to hate.
Most foods in general are going to look pretty disgusting before they're prepared. Even "good food"—the most locally raised, grass-fed meat—is still going to look like a prop from a B-horror movie. It's like when your doctor tries to scare you away from smoking by showing you what a smoker's lung looks like. It's nasty and disgusting and horrible. Then he shows you what a healthy lung looks like and guess what? It's nasty and disgusting and horrible.
I want to note that I'm not the world's biggest fan of McDonald's—which is saying something—because I have a stomach like a garbage compactor. I will routinely polish off multiple Doritos Locos tacos as a Sunday lunch. A White Castle Crave case? Sure, bring it on, why not? I'm not picky. But even I can only eat at McDonald's once every year or so. This is mainly because it causes my body to completely shut down for repairs. Not a "food coma," which is when your stomach is blissfully full of good food. I mean SHUT DOWN. See, I like to think of my body as a factory where thousands of tiny workers in hard hats are employed 24/7. When I eat anything from McDonald's, my body's foreman gets on the loudspeaker and says, "OK, everyone, all hands on deck to the stomach. This asshole ate at McDonald's again." And all of the little men that normally maintain my physical body as a functioning unit put in overtime hours to repair the damage while I pass out watching How I Met Your Mother on my couch for several hours in a lifeless pile of self-loathing.
But for as physically draining as I find McDonald's, I feel compelled to defend the McRib from food snobs who've probably never even tried one. In fact, I would like to counter their arguments now…
"I saw a photo of a frozen McRib online where it looked like a gray piece of IKEA furniture."
Hmm, true but also, it is delicious.
"A McRib is made of D grade meat that barely has any actual pork in it."
Yes, but it is delicious.
"One McRib has 450 calories, 24 grams of fat, and 75 grams of cholesterol."
And it is delicious.
"McRibs are bad, even by fast food standards."
Three words. De-lic-ious.
Look, I'm not saying I want to eat a McRib every day of my life. In fact, I definitely do not want to do this or I would most certainly die a diabetes-related death. What I'm saying is that for the one time a year when I eat the stupid thing, all of your negative foodie blogging and unflattering photos aren't going to stop me from savoring it. I realize it's gross. I realize it's unhealthy. But I also realize it's delicious and… "ba-da-ba-ba-ba… I'm fuckin' lovin' it."