Burger King has ribs now! Is that the appropriate level of excitement? I can’t tell, because The King has given me no direction on how to feel about his new ribs. I look to fast food restaurants’ media and marketing departments to tell me how I should feel about their food, and there is absolutely no information about the ribs on their website. Usually, companies assault you with their new products on the front page of their sites, making sure you know damn well that there’s a new product and you’re going to love it. I couldn’t even find the nutritional information on the ribs. I had to find that through other, nefarious means. Is Burger King trying to hide them? Should I be worried?
I’m glad I called my local BK earlier to make sure they were carrying the ribs, because, again, there was no indication of their existence at the restaurant. No big pictures on the drive-thru menu, no posters in the window…nothing. There is no way in the world for you to know these ribs exist, unless you stumbled upon a news story about them on the Internet. (Or the editor of the website you review for told you about them.) I felt like I was in on some sort of secret, like In-N-Out’s not-so-secret secret menu.
I don’t even actually know what these things are officially called. The box says, “Straight from the grill”, but there’s no name on it. The side of the box at least has little pictures of ribs on it, so at least I know I’ve got the right product.
Edit: The Internet just told me they’re called BK Fire-Grilled Ribs. Mystery solved.
According to the box, you can get either six or eight pieces, but my secret nutritional information source says that you can also get a three-piece box. Who knows? Burger King certainly isn’t going to tell me. And that creepy King never talks, so he’s of no help. Yeah, you just keep standing over there with your arms crossed, The King. Looking all creepy and smug, knowing that nobody knows a damn thing about your ribs.
I dunno about these guys. They look kind of weird. And…burned. There is a pleasant smell of grilled meat faintly wafting from the box, but it does smell a little like what happened when I tried to use a grill once. Considering I once managed to ruin a package of ramen, I think you see where I’m going with this.
These certainly don’t look like any ribs I’ve ever seen before. I guess they’re supposed to be short ribs? Hey, wait, is that…is that a bone I see? Oh, these are actual ribs! Up to this point, I thought they were just going to be strange and boneless, like that mutant piece of meat on the McRib. Burger King copies all of McDonald’s other ideas, so I just figured this would be more of the same. Good thing I noticed the bones before I bit into them. That could have gone poorly.
They look mostly like seriously failed chicken wings. Or perhaps the severed limbs of infant burn victims? Okay, that’s just tasteless. C’mon now. Seriously though, it looks like a Chihuahua caught on fire in the Burger King parking lot and they decided to call it a “happy accident.” I mean, I’m not a rib expert, but these just don’t look right.
They don’t taste right, either. The first one I tried was dry and terribly burned. The second one was moist, and by that I mean greasy, and burned. And that’s pretty much the story for the rest of the box. The few moist bites I got showed that the meat closest to the bone had some good flavor and texture, but there wasn’t much of that on those little ribs. One person on the Internet noted that they got barbecue sauce with theirs, so I made sure to ask for some at the window. The King’s serf assured me that it was in the bag. It was not in the bag.
The ribs seemed like they didn’t have any seasoning on them, unless you count “burned” as a seasoning. If I’ve learned anything from Bobby Flay, besides the fact that you can cook anything on a grill (I think I saw him make a bowl of Frosted Flakes on there once), it’s that your ribs need to be properly seasoned, whether that’s with a dry rub or a wet one. If I’ve learned anything from the various barbecue shows I’ve seen on the Travel Channel, the nation is polarized between wet and dry rubs, but I’m pretty sure they’d all agree that a naked rib is a no-no.
Honestly though, any seasoning they might have applied to it would have been overpowered by the taste of charred flesh. The flavor stayed in my mouth long after I’d finished the ribs, leaving me feeling like I’d just eaten a box full of the remains of someone’s tragic house fire. No amount of barbecue sauce is going to cover that up. Speaking of covering up, I see now why Burger King is keeping these ribs under wraps. These ribs just ain’t right.
(Nutrition Facts – 6 ribs – 450 calories, 33 grams of total fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 140 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,290 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugars and 35 grams of protein.)
Item: BK Fire-Grilled Ribs
Size: 6 ribs
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Some meat was moist. Feeling like part of a secret club. Actual meat on a bone and not fake, formed ribs. Getting to call a Burger King employee a serf.
Cons: Charred as all get-out. The King, being smug and creepy. Lots of dry meat. Making infant burn victim jokes. Charcoals-in-my-mouth taste will not leave.