Just in time for Halloween, the McRib sandwich was released by the popular fast food chain, McDonald's. The perfect Frankenstein of all fast food offerings, the McRib features "reconstructed meat product" as its popular reshaped boneless rib shaped patty.
The McRib was released in 1981 and then periodically taken off the menu and reintroduced since 1994, forming a generational cult following. Rene Arend, McDonald's executive chef, is credited with the idea of shaping the boneless meat concoction into a molded representation of a portion of ribs. Fan pages on Facebook and other self proclaimed enthusiasts rush to the restaurant each time the sandwich release is announced and tracking pages which follow the release of the sandwich with locator maps. Even the popular animated TV series, the Simpsons, spoofed the following of the McRib in one of their episodes.
The McRib is comprised of over 70 ingredients. Among these are chemicals such as ammonium sulfate, polysorbate 80 and azodicarbonamide. Azodicarbonamide is more commonly known for its role in the manufacturing process of rubber products like the soles of shoes or yoga mats.
If the chemicals do not dissuade the loyal following of the sandwich, possibly a closer look at the definition of reconstructed meat product will. Yes, it is parts of pork. Some of the known pork parts included are tripe, heart and scalded stomach. The term restructured refers to the process by which these and other ingredients are cooked and blending with salt and water to stimulate the salt soluble proteins which helps to stick everything together and create a more solid reshaped meat.
Some might think that the grosser parts of pork could possibly be better for you. This is not the case. Of the more odd ingredients included in the McRib, many people might guess that the heart would be the lowest in calories. In examining the nutrition facts of a single raw pork heart, before the processing which it would go through to go into the sandwich, it is revealed that this has 267 calories per serving with 89 calories from fat. Perhaps more disturbing is the cholesterol, which is 296 milligrams, or 99% of an average daily value in a single serving.
After undergoing the restructuring process, the popular McRib finished product sandwich rings in at 540 calories and a whopping 980 milligrams of sodium. On the other hand, a homemade pork rib recipe is noted on average to have around 371 calories per serving with 401 milligrams of sodium. While few people would describe homemade ribs as diet food, making better bad choices can have significant benefits on improving nutritional and health status.