It’s been a rough year, and we deserve a win. Luckily, McDonald’s agrees. The fast-food giant announced Friday morning on Twitter that the almighty McRib is making its way back into our hearts — and stomachs — nationwide, for the first time in eight years, on Dec. 2.
That’s right: The boneless pork sandwich slathered in barbecue sauce and topped with slivered onions and pickles that first made its debut in 1982 will soon be back again, everywhere, for a limited time (though it has made random regional returns, most recently in 2018 and 2019). “There’s nothing quite like the taste of the McRib,” noted vice president of Menu Innovation, Linda VanGosen, in a press release. “To our customers, it’s become more than a delicious, saucy moment… it’s a season, and it’s taking the internet by storm. That’s why this year, we’re proud to serve the McRib nationwide for everyone to enjoy.”
People are legit freaking out about the news online.
But what’s in it?
We can’t speak for this year’s iteration, but after the 2018 limited release, some pointed out that the McRib seemed a little different from the sandwich of the past:
And they were right, as the ingredients had changed over time. In 2011, Time pointed out some of the more questionable sandwich ingredients (of which there were about 70, with 34 in the bun alone), including azodicarbonamide (a flour-bleaching agent most commonly used in manufacturing foamed plastics like gym mats) and ammonium sulfate (a fertilizer). In 2018, those ingredients were nowhere to be found, according a McDonald’s ingredients list from that time; as of Friday, neither McRib nor its ingredients were posted on the food giant’s website, and a spokesperson did not respond to a request from Yahoo Life for the full ingredients list.
In 2018, the item had about 45 ingredients, with the patty is made of pork, water, salt, dextrose (a form of sugar) and rosemary extract. The sauce had 18 ingredients, three of which were sugar or variations of sugar, and the bun had 17 ingredients, but most were recognizable or pronounceable.
As for the nutritional information, McDonald’s said in 2018 that the McRib contained 480 calories, 22 grams of fat, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 24 grams of protein, 890 milligrams of sodium and 12 grams of sugar.
“Although they decreased the amount of ingredients from 70, there are a lot of preservatives and highly processed ingredients present,” registered dietitian Beth Warren, founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Secrets of a Kosher Girl, told Yahoo Lifestyle at the time. “Also, there is added sugar in the bread and the grains are refined. Overall, this points to the sandwich being pro-inflammatory, especially if eaten in excess and over time.”
The McRib was also still high in fat, and the 7 grams of saturated fat was pushing the American Heart Association’s daily recommendation to stay under 13 grams a day for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, Warren said, adding, “The total carbohydrate count is three servings of carbs and the sugar content is also high for this type of meal.”
Still, it’s OK to treat yourself to a McRib here and there. “It’s an enjoy-on-occasion item, so I would say that means about once or twice a month,” registered dietitian Julie Upton, co-founder of nutrition website Appetite for Health, told Yahoo Lifestyle. Just “be sure to keep your intake for that day well-balanced in quality carbs, low in saturated fat and added sugar, and high in vegetables to balance out the indulgence,” Warren said.
This story was originally published on Dec. 5, 2018 at 12:53 p.m. ET and has been updated to include the McRib’s return to McDonald’s menus in 2020.
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