Here Comes the McDonald's McRib Again — and I Ate the Entire Thing!
Though the official New York area relaunch of the McRib is not until this coming Tuesday, a quick canvass of the area McD's demonstrates that the sandwich was already being touted at most franchises. Accordingly, I grabbed one.
Let's first disentangle the nomenclature and mythology. According to Wikipedia, the product was invented by Derek Plowman and added to the regular menu of the chain in 1981. It was withdrawn in 1985, but has been periodically re-introduced as a specialty, in an attempt to cloak it in an artificially generated desirability. Nevertheless, the McRib unarguably has developed fervent fans -- though not necessarily on the Lower East Side, where I was the only one of approximately 50 patrons eating it.
In irreducible terms, the thing is a pork hamburger, pure and simple, similar in composition to the pork burger offered in Italy and other parts of Europe. Perhaps McDonald's feels that Americans don't want any burger not made with beef.
The McRib is oblong in shape, and has been molded so that little protrusions on both sides resemble rib bones, intended to look like a short rack of pork ribs. Well, only in the most superficial way. The product has been reformulated frequently during its intermittent 30-year run.