McRib season is back, unofficially bridging the months between fall and winter. And every year there’s always some drama about it. This year, it’s a claim by McDonald’s that 2022 marks the McRib’s “farewell tour,” a claim upon which I’m calling a hearty load of bullshit. But year in and year out, the debate inevitably rages about the quality of McDonald’s ultra-hyped pork sandwich. “Guys, the McRib is gross,” proclaims a chorus of social media posts. “It’s not even made from real ribs!”
To kick things off for the 2022 McRib season, Twitter user Mike Sington (whose bio says he’s a former senior executive at NBC Universal and “Hollywood’s Ultimate Insider”) posted a video of a McDonald’s McRib being made, with the caption, “Can this even be considered food?”
The tweet, which quickly went viral, shows a truncated clip of a video that was posted to YouTube earlier this week, which features a POV demonstration of a McDonald’s employee assembling a McRib sandwich from beginning to end:
The video itself is straightforward. It’s originally from popular YouTuber Stephen Patula, who uploads videos of what it’s like to work at McDonald’s on a regular basis. You can see him grabbing some frozen McRib patties, cooking them on the griddle, then transferring them to a heated holding tray filled with barbecue sauce. When an order comes in, he runs a bun through the toaster, tops it with onions and pickles, then brings out one of the cooked and sauced patties to finish it off. He closes the box around the freshly prepped McRib. That’s it.
As a former kitchen staffer, I can’t see any fault in his operating procedures. The kitchen’s not in disarray. Patula faithfully uses gloves through the whole process. And while some people seem to agree with Sington’s mild horror, many of the thousands of replies to his tweet are just dunk after dunk after dunk.
“Twitter sucks for a lot of reasons,” user @uxcryptid said, “but it never gets old watching some out of touch rich guy log on and be absolutely stunned at some basic, predictable way of the world known to anyone who’s ever worked a service job.”
“Were you under the impression they were actually smoking and de-boning ribs back there[?]” replied user @EliotETC.
Inevitably, news outlets covered the reaction from a different point of view. The New York Post published a piece titled, “Video showing how McRib is made has McDonald’s customers reaching for barf bags.” It cherry-picks Twitter responses of those referring to the McRib as “nasty.”
As I mentioned earlier, this is the McDonald’s McRib being assembled exactly as it should. The kitchen is fine, and everything is carefully prepared to spec. Not to mention that if either McDonald’s corporate or the franchise owner found reason to object, the video wouldn’t exist online in the first place. Former McDonald’s chef Mike Haracz pointed out on Twitter that the video likely received the green light from just about everyone.
“This is from a McD ‘approved to post on Tik Tok’ owner/operator…which I’m sure was approved by corporate,” Haracz said.
The way the McRib is prepared is typical of pretty much all fast food. If you’re freaked out by the preformed state of the pork patty, well, think about McNuggets for two seconds.
The McRib is not a perfect sandwich by any means. There have been allegations against McDonald’s pork producers for years involving claims of animal cruelty. If we want to fight for a change in the way McDonald’s does things, our issue shouldn’t be with how the McRib is assembled. Try focusing instead on the way the animal products are sourced. Or insisting that employees receive fair wages and safe working conditions. Or seeking assurance from the company that it will protect workers from being harassed by customers.
We’re all entitled to our opinions on fast food, of course. But come on, pick your battles. When it comes to the POV McRib video, there’s really no fight to be had. And hey, if you think McRib is so repulsive, you can go ahead and make a gourmet McRib at home for yourself.