When it comes to crap food, everyone has a guilty pleasure. For some, it's a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos downed in a stoned haze; for others, it's a pint of Ben and Jerry's mindlessly emptied during the latest episode of The Bachelor. Regardless of what poison you pick, it's likely to come with a hefty side of self-loathing.
For the cult of McRib, to which I belong, things are different. For us, McRibs are lusted after and devoured openly, with pride. We embrace our inner fatty-fatty-bo-batty and track the availability of the limited-time-only "barbeque pork" sandwich using an online McRib locator. It is that good.
Feeding the frenzy is the fact that the McRib has never enjoyed full-time status on the McDonald's menu. This makes us want it even more, and executives at the Golden Arches know this, teasing fans with back-to-back "Farewell Tours" in 2005 and 2006.
Luckily, the McRib has turned out to be the Cher of sandwiches. Earlier this month, McDonald's announced that, on November 2, the mythical pork-product sandwich will come out of retirement and return to the Golden Arches for a six-week run at 14,000 slop-food outlets.
Then a delicious rumor hit the Phoenix office — some Massachusetts locations had McRibs early. I dropped everything. Knowing that the McRib is often elusive, I headed to Saugus, where a McDonald's sign had changed its McRib status from COMING to HERE overnight. Oh, McJoy!
First, I hit up the Route 1 Northbound drive-thru for an order of five McRibs. A slow, dramatic un-boxing revealed a sandwich that was much larger than I remembered, and quite a bit messier. It's probably not safe to drive and eat a McRib, but I did anyway.
I steered with my knees as I took my first bite in about a decade. It was damn tasty — a pleasantly spongy ground-pork-and-preservatives patty, slathered in barbeque sauce and slipping and sliding out of a fluffy bun. It's topped with sour pickles and raw onions, which, in addition to providing a foil to the sauce's tangy sweetness, ensure that you will taste your McRib throughout the remainder of the day.
After shoving the rest down the gullet, I reversed direction to get more McRibs at the Route 1 Southbound McDonald's. I buried the remaining sandwiches in the backseat, wiped the sauce from my face, and ordered two more with a big smile.
Maybe this re-emergence will lead to a double-decker McRib, or McDonald's will take a cue from Internet hoaxsters and develop McRibbles, a McNugget-like variation on the sandwich. But for now, I'm happy to scarf down this blissful package of mystery meat, sauce, and pickles — while it lasts.
McDonald's, rolling out McRibs at locations nationwide on November 2.