What’s In A McRib Sandwich?

    A studio image of a McRib sandwich sitting on a white surfaceThe McDonald’s McRib sandwich, a legendary, limited-edition boneless pork sandwich, shaped to look like a rack of ribs, is back.

    But how much do you really know about it?

    Here are six surprising, and shocking, things you may not know about one of America’s favorite now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t wonders:

    1. Why was the McRib created in the first place?

    Rene Arend, McDonald’s first executive chef and inventor of the Chicken McNugget, also a French-trained chef who honed his talents at the Drake Hotel, has explained in interviews that the McNugget was so popular when it was first introduced in 1979 that demand quickly outmatched their chicken supplies. Franchises that didn’t have the Chicken McNugget needed something new to sell, and so Arend went back to the test kitchen, and emerged from it with the McRib.

    2. What inspired its creation?

    According to Arend, the McRib was inspired by southern BBQ, and was modeled after the barbecue-sauce-slathered pork sandwiches he ate during a visit to Charleston, South Carolina. Arend is credited with coming up the unique shape of the sandwich. The McRib doesn’t have bones, but the meat is patterned after a slab of ribs.

    3. What exactly is in a McRib sandwich?

    Rene Arend came up with the idea and design of the McRib, but it’s a professor from the University of Nebraska named Richard Mandigo who developed the “restructured meat product” that the McRib is actually made of.

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