I love the McRib. Like, to the degree where I will eat 50 of them in the fall and look forward to the sandwich’s return to McDonald’s the way I used to look forward to Christmas when I was a little kid kind of “I love the McRib.”
McDonald’s gold standard for rib-shaped pork patties cannot be topped, the perfect marriage of meat, a downright obscene amount of barbecue sauce, and the right level of accoutrement (although I’m more the type to just order the sandwich sans pickles or onions and enjoy the pure meat-and-sauce joy.)
But what do I do for the other 10 months of the year? The only place you’re finding a Ribwich (and that’s the term I’m going to use, with generous acknowledgment to The Simpsons for coming up with it for Krusty Burger) is either in the supermarket freezer case or at the gas station. And the freezer case I’m disqualifying on grounds that no sane person should be eating something like that at home (maybe—OK, definitely—some other time, just not now.)
So I’m going to hit up every convenience store, gas station, and gas station convenience store I can find that’s within a walk or a bus ride of Mystery Ship Studios world headquarters in beautiful downtown Kent, Washington, try all of them, and share the experience with you.
We begin at 7-Eleven; I sourced two of these ribwiches from the one at 64th and Meeker.
The first thing that jumps out is that the sandwich is fairly generously sauced; it’s not McDonald’s sauced, but (spoiler alert) nothing is in gas station land, and that’s probably for the best if you’re eating on the go.
But there’s enough sauce there that the bread actually sticks to the pork patty a little, the sticky sauce acting as an adhesive out of the microwave.
And I like the sauce. It’s a little sweet, a little smoky, and while nobody’s going to confuse it for Sweet Baby Ray’s, if you put that stuff in a sauce packet at the condiment station, I wouldn’t say no to putting it on a gas station cheeseburger (and you bet your ass we’re getting there down the road. Stay tuned.)
The meat is…well, it’s meaty. It does have a certain amount of that ersatz filler flavor that you expect from a meat patty that is pork-plus-whatever-the USDA-allows, but there is far worse in this category (again, stay tuned), and this pork actually tastes like pork.
It’s nowhere near as good as what you get at Mickey D’s, where that patty is actual pork and not a chemistry set, but it’s a serviceable chunk of meat by gas station standards.
Where the sandwich really shines is in its value for the money. You get one of these for $1.99 or two for three bucks. That makes it one of the cheapest gas station ribwich sandwiches (and it’s cheaper by miles than the $4.69 McDonald’s charged for the McRib in Kent last year.)
And yet it’s also one of the highest quality.
I’m genuinely delighted by this entry in the contest. Talking about the rest of these entrants will be…well, an exercise in trying to follow a tough act.
If you like the McRib, get yourself to 7-Eleven, my little trash pandas, for this is worth your cash.