I tried the polarizing McDonald’s McRib sandwich and thought it didn’t live up to the hype

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When I tried the McDonald’s McRib, I thought it was slightly under-sauced. Erin McDowell/Business Insider
  • McDonald’s McRib sandwich returned to menus across the US on December 2 last year.
  • It’s back again this year for a limited time starting on Monday, November 1.
  • When I tried the sandwich, I thought it didn’t live up to the huge expectations set by devotees of the McRib.

The McRib, a sandwich comprised of a seasoned boneless pork fillet dipped in barbecue sauce, topped with onions and pickles, and served on a toasted bun.
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A McRib sign is seen at a McDonald’s restaurant on November 3, 2010. David Paul Morris/Getty Images)
The McRib was first released in 1981. However, after four years, it was removed from the chain’s menu. It returned in 1989, again in 2010, and was released last year in December.

When I tried it, I thought it was a unique menu item compared to the other offerings at McDonald’s, but was slightly underwhelming considering the hype McRib fans have for the sandwich.

I decided to get my McRib as part of a meal, which ended up costing $US8.39 ($AU11), but the sandwich by itself costs $US4.49 ($AU6) at my local McDonald’s.
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The McRib sandwich box. Erin McDowell/Business Insider
After securing my McRib and getting it home, I took it out of the bag and immediately took note of the special McRib box.

I was excited to see what all the hype was about and whether the sandwich lived up to my huge expectations.

The McRib, a seasoned boneless pork fillet dipped in barbecue sauce, is certainly unlike anything else on the McDonald’s menu.
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McDonald’s McRib. Erin McDowell/Business Insider
The McDonald’s McRib is topped with onions and pickles and served on a toasted bun. 
The first thing I noticed about my McRib was that it was lacking in the barbecue sauce department.
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McDonald’s McRib. Erin McDowell/Business Insider
The promotional photo of the McRib on the McDonald’s website shows the pork fillet practically drenched in barbecue sauce. I was expecting a finger-licking, napkin-filled eating experience, much like eating actual ribs. Immediately, I knew that wasn’t going to be the case.
I found the number of pickles and onions that came on top to be pretty generous.
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McDonald’s McRib open with pickles and onions. Erin McDowell/Business Insider
However, nothing could distract me from the glaring lack of enough barbecue sauce.

Granted, this was the first day my local McDonald’s was offering the menu item, so perhaps there will be a bit of a learning curve when it comes to getting the sandwich just right.

Enough anticipating – biting in, I was pleasantly surprised.
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Me taking a bite of the McDonald’s McRib. Erin McDowell/Business Insider
Before trying the McRib, I have to admit I was a little nervous because, frankly, the whole concept didn’t sound that appetizing to me. However, I wasn’t turned off by the menu item at all.
The rectangular sausage patty used in the sandwich tasted really similar to the one McDonald’s uses in its breakfast sandwiches.
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McDonald’s McRib. Erin McDowell/Business Insider
It was well-seasoned and really juicy. There was a slightly more lunchtime flavor to it from the toppings and the barbecue sauce, but it did remind me of the breakfast item.

The bun was also nicely toasted.

The pickles and onions were both crisp and fresh-tasting.
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McDonald’s McRib. Erin McDowell/Business Insider
In fact, I felt the toppings were the most flavorful part of the sandwich.
Despite the enjoyable topping and flavor of the pork, I couldn’t get over the lack of barbecue flavor.
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Open-faced view of the McDonald’s McRib. Erin McDowell/Business Insider
I completely understand that the lack of sauce could be chalked up to an error at my specific McDonald’s. Looking at other people’s McRibs on Twitter, I noticed that a majority of theirs were much saucier than mine.

However, it should go without saying that no matter what McDonald’s you go to, you should expect to receive the same product. Maybe next time I’ll ask for more sauce on the side, just to be sure I’m getting the full experience.

Even though the sandwich didn’t remind me of eating ribs, I enjoyed it overall and would order it again. But is it worth the hype? Not in my opinion.
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Me with the McDonald’s McRib. Erin McDowell/Business Insider
The meat was juicy, the toppings were fresh, and the flavor was pretty different from other McDonald’s menu items. If I had one critique, it was just a little bland.

Due to the positive aspects of the sandwich, I perhaps understood why it might be some people’s favorite menu item and remind them of simpler times long before the pandemic.

However, did it deserve entire websites devoted to begging the chain to bring it back? I don’t think so. Maybe this is simply a case of fast-food fans wanting items they can’t have.