DIY McDonald’s McRib Sandwich with Pork Perfect
Paula: Hello Stranger. You’ve been spending a lot of time on the road these days. Clocking endless miles on your odometer while scanning the McRib Locator for sightings of your elusive object of desire. Your family misses you, and it’s increasingly difficult to explain your absence at work. So, share this recipe, a spot-on copycat version of McDonald’s McRib sandwich, as an intervention, of sorts. No joke! It’s easier than you think to master the infamous salty pork patties (lovingly shaped to resemble fake ribs) that are dunked in tangy barbecue sauce and served on a hoagie roll with pickles and onions. Imagine this feast in your own backyard!
Scott: I want to thank you for this, Paula. You resisted my cries, lo, the cries of America, to reverse-engineer this classic for so long that I was certain it would never happen. And now, this pork-perfect flavor gift arrives, floating on a split top hoagie. P.S. I’ll be doubling up on the sauce and the pickles.
DIY McDonald’s McRib Sandwich With Pork Perfect
This recipe really nails the sweet and tangy notes of McDonald’s version, a deceptively simple sandwich that has appeared on and off their menu for years. (A brilliant marketing ploy that keeps the McRib’s cult fan-base eagerly awaiting its return).
Here’s the basic approach: The McDonald’s sandwich is not actually made with rib meat, it’s a pork patty shaped into fake ribs. To mimic the flavor and texture, you grind pork loin chops (or shoulder) with bacon and Pork Perfect seasoning (which adds just enough sweetness) and a bit of water. You can do this in a food processor.
Once the meat is ground, you form patties into “rib slabs” that fit your hoagie roll (I’ve done 4- and 8-ounce patties, depending on the bread I have on hand). Then the patties are frozen solid and griddled (straight from the freezer) on a hot cast-iron skillet (I do this over a charcoal fire to infuse the meat with flavor).
Finally, the patties are dunked in barbecue sauce and served on a toasted bun with onions and pickles. If you like things on the spicy side, add pickled jalapeños or banana peppers to the mix.
1-1 1/4 lbs butterflied loin chops (or boneless pork shoulder)
2 strips thick-cut smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch slides
2 teaspoons Pork Perfect seasoning
1 tablespoon water
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, plus more for serving
4 hoagie rolls, split in half
Pickle slices, for serving
Onion slices, for serving
Pickled jalapenos or banana peppers, for serving (optional)
Slice the pork chops into 1-inch cubes, then place the cubes in the bowl of the food processor with the bacon. Pulse the processor until the meat is combined and coarsely chopped. Sprinkle the Pork Perfect seasoning over the meat, add the water, and pulse a few more times to distribute the seasonings.
Transfer the meat to a parchment-lined baking sheet and divide into 4 - 4 ¼ ounce portions. Run your hands under cold water, and then shape each portion into a rib rack. Cover the meat with an additional sheet of parchment and place in the freezer until the patties are completely frozen (30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your freezer).
When you’re ready to cook, prepare your grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire. When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, heat a well-seasoned cast iron pan over direct heat for 5-10 minutes. Place each pork patty, flat side down, on the skillet and cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Use a metal spatula to flip the patties and continue to cook another 4 or so minutes, until the internal temp of the pork is 135℉ (carryover heat will bring the meat to temperature as it rests).
Allow the patties to cool on a baking sheet while you lightly toast the hoagie rolls.
Use tongs to dip each patty into a bowl of BBQ sauce, coating both sides of the meat. Place the meat on the bottom of the toasted roll, top with pickles, onions and top bun and serve immediately with additional sauce on the side.