WIN A McRIB! The Five Reasons Why the McRib is the Greatest Fast Food Item of All Time [The Ryan Dixon Line]

Want to win a free McRib? Then play Fierce & Nerdy’s Search for the Great McRibiography!

Here’s how to win your FREE McRib:

1. Read Ryan’s Dixon’s now classic manifesto: The Five Reasons Why the McRib is the Greatest Fast Food Item of All Time

2. In the Comments section below, share your own personal McRib story or why you think the McRib is the Greatest Fast Food Item of All Time.

3. Fierce & Nerdy’s Blue Ribbon panel (made up of Ryan Dixon, Jersey Joe, and F&N editors Ernessa T. Carter and Amy Robinson) will select the best stories that touch upon the core values of the McRib. (What are those values, exactly? We’re working on it.)

4. Winners will be mailed a coupon for one free McRib!

And that’s it. It’s easy. Almost as easy as going to going to your local McDonald’s and ordering yourself a McRib.

But hurry, just like the McRib, our contest is for a limited time only: all stories must be posted by TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1st.

And now, let’s get on with the show…


Why Me? How did an always poor, mostly anonymous and only occasionally witty blogumnist living in Burbank, CA suddenly find himself as the protagonist in a real-life, 21st century Horatio Alger novel?

In 2010,  I was quoted in the Wall Street Journal, my voice was heard on NPR and perhaps the greatest corporation in American history became my follower on Twitter.

And I owe it all to one saliva-inducing, two-syllable word: McRib.

My journey to becoming a PhD in Pork Product and being hailed as the world’s foremost expert on McDonald’s legendary and enigmatic sandwich all began with a seemingly innocuous FaN blogumn that I wrote in December 2009 arguing that the McRib, an object of both mirthless odium and near-religious devotion, was simply the Citizen Kane of rapidly-processed culinary cuisine.

I had resolved myself to the fact that this blogumn had probably sunk to the never-to-be-read-again seabed of the fathomless internet ocean until a reporter, working on his own McRib story for the Wall Street Journal, read the post, contacted Fierce & Nerdy and interviewed me. With the publication of that front-page article, I stepped upon the national stage to take my rightful place as the Susan Boyle of fast foodies. (Google “Ryan Dixon McRib” and 38,200 results come roaring back at you. Google “Ryan Dixon” and I don’t even make an appearance until the second page.)

Until last fall, our nation had suffered through a sixteen year McRibless drought where only select pockets of the country had been able to celebrate the annual arrival of those banners, draped under the Golden Arches, inscribed with that immortal phrase “The McRib is Back.” Yet after those glorious autumn days of last year, we feared that at least another decade would pass until we could once again hold the warm sponge bread in our hands while licking the delicious, tangy BBQ sauce off our fatty fingers.

Thankfully, our fears have proven to be unfounded as our prayers have been answered:  the McRib has come back to us just when we needed it the most. In a period of great partisan divide, we as a nation can come together and eat a sandwich that will fill the hearts of those who taste it with the splendor hitherto known only to suicide bombers who’ve been greeted by the 72 Vestal Virgins in Paradise.

The McRib is indeed back! (Until November 14th, that is.) And so is my blogumn, serving up…


1. The McRib is the Last of its Kind.

005-mcrib-cleantopLet me come right out and say it: The McRib has no ribs. It is a patty of pork product with rib-shaped strips pressed into it. Even then, the rib-shaped strips don’t look like actual ribs as much as they do french toast sticks, yet that’s all the more reason to love it.

We live in an all-natural, organicized society where coastal dwelling disciples of the Michael Pollan cabal want their food farm fresh, free range and, whenever possible, real. In a world where McDonald’s now sells apple slices, KFC heralds its grilled chicken from on high, and Subway’s Jared has become the most famous calorie-killing Jedi since Richard Simmons, the McRib stands alone; a fast food Fortinbras.

The McRib’s annual re-appearance is a ghostly reminder of a time (known in some circles as the late 1970’s and 80’s) when synthetic, overtly unhealthy, “better than real” food was in fashion. All you really need to remember about the dietary choices of this era is that Country Time Old Fashioned Lemonade Drink Mix used the fact that it tasted just like real lemonade as a selling point.

The arrival of the McRib should be a cause for celebration, not scorn, for it bears witness, is in fact the last witness, to a woebegone age when we liked our fast food fake.


2. The Mysteries of the McRib are Unfathomable

the-mantuary-mcribNationally released in 1981, the McRib was originally a regular item on McDonald’s menu until low sales caused the restaurant chain to change its strategy and start bringing it out sporadically for a “limited time only.” For many years after the sandwich was paired each spring with the Shamrock Shake, but then that winning combo was discontinued without explanation and the McRib’s arrival grew ever more unpredictable– sometimes the sandwich wouldn’t appear for several years, then it’d be seen multiple times in the same year or, as was the case in 2006, its arrival was called a “farewell tour,” but it was back again in 2008.

While some saw this inconsistency as a misguided marketing strategy, others began to see patterns within the seemingly patternless morass, giving birth to a host of McRib conspiracy theories (including one that had McDonald’s basing the release of the sandwich on the price of pork) that would befuddle even Robert Langdon.

The enigma that is the McRib has also created so great an epidemic of rumors and apocrypha revolving around which locations are currently serving the sandwich that the website “McRib Locator was created to separate the lies from the truth. Despite these heroic efforts, the mystery remains. The McRib is our first Cryptofood, a culinary cousin to the Sasquatch and Chupacabra, lurking within the restaurant of our imagination.

The ephemeral nature of the McRib also reminds us all of our own mortality. With each bite we both fall back into the past– to that rainy spring day when we ate them with a father now long gone or the romantic evening spent sharing one with a college-aged girlfriend still-missed– and dream about the future, pining for the day when a yet-to-be-born son unwraps his first McRib. When finished with the sandwich, we all pray that, in the final autumn of our lives, there will be enough time to take one last bite.

3. Eating a McRib Is Nothing Like Eating a Real Rib—and That’s a Good Thing

mcribopenHow many times have you gone to a BBQ restaurant, saw the ribs on the menu, began to salivate at the thought of eating them, but stopped just as you were about to order upon the realization that by doing so the mess involved would cause you to end up resembling an underfed zombie who just dined on a trio of kids at a fat camp?

Like its younger, and more universally accepted cousin, the boneless buffalo wing, the McRib gives you the sweet barbecue tang of ribs without the threat of sartorial besmirchment. And, let’s face it; you get a hell of a lot more meat with a McRib than you do on actual ribs. It’s no contest really, you might wanna date real ribs, but you’ll end up marrying the McRib.

(What? You think that the McRib is actually the messiest fast food item of all time? Well, you’ll be happy to know that this year’s pork patty seemed decidedly smaller than the faux-balloon bread bun it rests between and the distribution of the sauce was far more judicious than in years past.)

4. The McRib is THE Polarizing Force in Fast Food

mcribNo one is ever neutral about the McRib. Go ahead; ask your friend, lover, parent or child about it and you’ll hear one of two things:

“I love it!”


“I hate it!”

Let’s get real here folks, this isn’t an argument about whether BK’s Whopper or Wendy’s Bacon Double Cheeseburger is better, we’re in Republicans vs. Democrats, Sharks vs. Jets, Catholics vs. Protestants (circa 1600, that is) territory.

Developing the palette to enjoy a McRib is really no different from having dinner at elBulli, gulping down a piece fugu or munching on a pack of chocolate covered ants. Quite simply, this sandwich separates the posers from the true fast food connoisseur.

And now, for the fifth and final reason that the McRib is the Greatest Fast Food Item of All time…

Need. To. Eat. McRib. NOW!

Sorry, I can’t hold out any longer. I’m starving! It’s off to McDonald’s for me. Wanna meet me there? Then tell us your own McRib story in the Comments section below to win a FREE McRib.  After you do that, why don’t you go ahead and purchase my graphic novel, Hell House: The Awakening. If you do, the second McRib’s on me!