Mystery meat

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I’ve always been a little puzzled by fake meat products for vegetarians and vegans. Fake hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, deli slices–even fake pepperoni. What’s the point of trying to replicate the look and feel of meat? The vegetarian/vegan lifestyle is all about abstaining from animal flesh, right? Perhaps fake meat is a gateway to vegetarianism. Or are these products really for friends and family of vegetarians to eat as a show of support? “I love you so much, I’m willing to eat this Tofurkey.”

Equally baffling is McDonald’s McRib sandwich. I had never tried a McRib before, but after seeing a billboard declaring, “The McRib is back,” my interest was piqued. My husband has sampled many a McRib and said the sandwich was good. He was excited I wanted to try one since I rarely eat junk like the McRib.

The McRib is a boneless pork patty that is covered in barbecue sauce and served with pickles and onions on a roll. Its standout feature is that the patty is pressed so that is resembles a side of ribs. This is truly weird.

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The only thing that may be stranger than the McRib’s boneless ribs is its promotional Web site. A “McRib DJ” thanks users for visiting the site and declares that “Saucy love is back.” He then directs you to get free McRib downloads and listen to one of four McRib radio stations.

The free ringtones are pretty funny–they’re heavy metal odes to the McRib, but how is this supposed to get people to buy more sandwiches? I feel like this ad agency got caught up in creating a slick Web site and new technologies instead of focusing on the basics of selling.

Here’s a YouTube video featuring “The Simpsons” version of the McRib–the Ribwich. Although it’s in German(!), it’s still funny.
This Wikipedia entry gives a full synopsis of the episode.

As far as taste goes, I was surprised to find that the McRib isn’t terrible. The barbecue sauce helped a lot, and the pickles and onion added some extra flavor. You could do a lot worse when it comes to fast food.

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1 Comment

Filed under Reviews, Savory

One response to “Mystery meat

  1. Jennifer

    Strange enough, that if the Mc Rib was made of plant proteins, and then smothered in the same BBQ sauce, and pressed into the same shape perhaps none would be the wiser AND it would be slightly better for you “junk” wise…So called fake meat is around because there are people who actually grew up eating meat, but don’t want to eat it anymore. This may be health related, or because of compassion for animals. Either way, meats from the flesh of nuts, grains, beans (plant based) are just as viable of a food as meat from the flesh of animals. Unfortunately…they have been labeled as fake or faux, so they are not understood by the greater populous as something REAL. That has GOT to change.

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