McRib Confidential

McRib Confidential
Warning: The McRib is back It’s a seasonal plague, like the flu. Public health officials have produced an online map so you can avoid the worst infestations.

Often mistaken for an innocent sandwich, the McR is composed of “Restructured Meat” made from pulverized and re-glued pig innards, ammonium sulfate, polysorbate 80, sodium benzoate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oils, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate, soy flour, sodium stearoyl lactylate, ascorbic acid, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, calcium peroxide, calcium propionate,high fructose corn syrup, xanthan gum, and sodium benzoate. And let’s not forget azodicarbonamide, used to make yoga mats.

Want to see what it looks like before it’s covered in sauce? Sure? Okay then, look here.


“This Is What McDonald’s McRib Actually Looks Like,” Nell Casey, Gothamist

“What’s the McRib made of, anyway?” Chris Gayomali, The Week

“The McRib: Enjoy Your Symptom,” Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

“Former McDonald’s Worker: The McRib Hasn’t Changed For Over 20 Years,” Mary Beth Quirk, Consumerist

“McDonald’s McRib Sandwich a Franken Creation of GMOs, Toxic Ingredients, Banned Ingredients,” Anthony Gucciardi, Natural Society

“The Invention of the McRib and Why It Disappears from McDonald’s,” Whet Moser, Chicago Magazine



Image (“What McRibs Are Made Of”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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One Response to “McRib Confidential”

  1. HL Says:

    Jay Leno did a featurette called “Fast Food or Building Material”. He asked the audience to vote on whether a picture showed fast food or building material. He showed the McRIb ‘before’ picture and a majority of the audience agreed that it was wall insulation.

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