Happy McRibmas! Five fun-in-a-bun facts about the McDonald's McRib
Today is McRibmas -- one of the most important holidays on the calendar. That's because the infamous, sauce-slathered, probably-mostly-pork sammie is now back on the McDonald's menu -- for a limited time, of course. The McRib enjoys a crazy cult following not at all unlike the devotion shown to some actual cults, and to those devotees I say, "F*ckin' A -- there are worse things you could worship!" In honor of this year's McRibmas, I've compiled the top five fun-in-a-bun facts about the McDonald's McRib.
- An ode to the McRib sandwich, which will disappears soon
- Merry McRib-mas! A holiday poem in celebration
In 1976 McDonald's founder Ray Kroc managed to convince European chef Rene Arend to leave his gig as executive chef of Chicago's exclusive Whitehall Club to run the McDonald's test kitchen; the reasons for Arend's sauté pan-to-fry basket career change is still the subject of speculation. In 1984 he told a reporter for The Morning Call that "it wasn't an easy decision" and he "thought about it for eight years before making the move." He'd cooked for major hotels in Europe and America as well as for the club, he said, and he wanted to try something new -- and to reach more diners with his work.
I bet an entire year's worth of McDonald's McRib profits that, despite chef Arend's protestations, his motivation for becoming chef Daddy McRib was a McLoad of McMoney.
Sure, McChef Arend says he was inspired to build the mighty McRib while eating a bunch of true Southern pulled-pork sammies while in Charleston, South Carolina (this was probably the last time anything inspired by anything in South Carolina turned out well), but the massive popularity of his one-off new product, Chicken McNuggets, caused a chicken shortage; there was more demand for cluck than suppliers could keep up with. The mostly-no-really pork sandwich was introduced to give the franchise stores a new product in lieu of the nuggets.
So which is the McChef's greater creation? The McNuggets or the McRib? Lucky for
customers, they have at least a limited time every year when they don't have to choose.
Years ago a rumor started that quickly became an urban myth (now an urban legend) that McDonald's was using Australian kangaroo meat in the McRib sandwiches. McDonald's did nothing to quash the gossip, but when the company finally did start listing the ingredients of its menu items, it was clear that in all the seventy-odd, occasionally unpronounceable ingredients in the McRib patty, there was no kangaroo meat.
Or did secret McDoo scientists in underground McLabs just make up long, intimidating ingredient names to cover up the inclusion of tender, juicy, fake-grill-mark-scored flanks and asses of kangaroos? We may never know the truth.