REVIEW: McDonald’s McRib (2020)

McDonald s McRib  2020

The McRib is back…for the 57th time! I was surprised to learn it debuted way back in 1981, and that it has apparently been eight years since McDonald’s has offered it nationwide in the U.S.

Even though the McRib is far older than the internet, it might be the perfect food for our social media-focused world. It trends every time McDonald’s unleashes it. Also, furious debates ensue about whether the hype is warranted or just brilliant marketing, and if it is the best or worst fast food item in history. Because on social media, there can be no in-between. But in the frenzy created whenever the restructured boneless pork patty sandwich with BBQ sauce, pickles, and onions is released, an important question is rarely asked.

Does it taste good?

McDonald s McRib  2020 Pickles Onions

It seems like an obvious query, of course, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really thought about it. Like, I’m guessing, the majority of you fine readers of TIB, I’ve had a McRib a few times in my life. But I don’t remember the last time I had one, or even if I enjoyed it.

So I was left to ponder, is it actually a tasty meal? Or do I — and many of you — buy it because of that innate human desire to snatch up limited-time items (even though, when you think about it, everything on Earth is a limited time item)?

I also find it more than a little coincidental that after initially flopping, the McRib was brought back on a limited basis in 1989, the year after the hair band Cinderella taught us, “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone).” Seems like some McDonald’s marketing exec was a Cinderella fan.

So back to the question at hand…does the McRib taste good?

McDonald s McRib  2020 Patty Closeup

Well, not really, but it wasn’t bad either. The texture was not as rubbery as I was expecting, so I guess that’s a positive. The pork patty, complete with fake grill or bone marks (I’m not sure which it’s supposed to be), didn’t have a strong flavor. It was definitely pork-like, but I probably could have been convinced it was chicken or turkey. McDonald’s claims the BBQ sauce is tangy, but that’s a bit of a stretch. It seemed like a generic BBQ sauce. The pickles and onions were fine, and the latter added some nice crunch. Simply put, it was an average-tasting sandwich.

McDonald s McRib  2020 Bite

It reminded me of one of those microwavable sandwiches you get out of those sketchy, old school wheel of misfortune-type vending machines. You know, the ones where you make a selection after spinning the food around and then open that plastic door while hoping to retrieve the vittles with your hand and fingers intact.

Would I ever buy a McRib if it were available year-round, like it is, according to McGoogle, in Germany and, for some reason, Luxembourg? I doubt it, and if McDonald’s announced the McRib as a permanent menu item tomorrow, then the one I just had today would probably be my last. But when they bring it back in a year or two and social media makes me feel like I’m missing out, then yes, I must sheepishly admit that I’ll probably have another. I guess McDonald’s knows a thing or two about marketing.

Purchased Price: $3.39
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 520 calories, 28 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 890 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 24 grams of protein.

(Editor’s Note: Starting this year, I’m going to have a different TIB writer review the McRib every time it comes back. Why? Just for fun AND content.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Oreo Mocha Fudge Blizzard

Dairy Queen Oreo Mocha Fudge Blizzard Cup

What is the Dairy Queen Oreo Mocha Fudge Blizzard?

It’s proof that the marketing department at Dairy Queen is lazy! OK, maybe they are not lazy, and I’m sure they have lots of other important work keeping them busy. But the Oreo Mocha Fudge Blizzard was part of the fall Blizzard menu announced back in early September (which, by the way, was still summer), and now the same flavor is the Blizzard of the Month for October. The DQ website even proclaims it to be “new.” This new-ish Blizzard features Oreo cookies, choco chunks, and coffee.

How is it?

Let me preface this review by saying I’m not a coffee drinker, and I think I’ve only had it maybe five times in my life. With that said, it’s not that I dislike the taste of coffee but rather that I view it simply as a vehicle to get caffeine into my bloodstream. As a kid, my preferred vehicle (besides the Ferrari poster on my wall) was Mountain Dew, then Red Bull and Monster, and now just any of the 217 varieties of energy drinks at the convenience store will do the trick for me. So I’ve never really felt the need to drink coffee, and being one who spills drinks with great regularity, I’ve found it better not to mess with liquids that are hot and/or brown. I trust your enjoyment of this Blizzard will partly depend on whether you like coffee, but I was a bit surprised how much I enjoyed this considering my coffee indifference.

Dairy Queen Oreo Mocha Fudge Blizzard Spoon

The coffee taste is rather mild and subdued, and if you get enough Oreo cookies and chocolate in a spoonful, you might forget the coffee flavor is even there. Oreo and choco chunks are two Blizzard staples that have appeared many times over the years, along with various sugary friends and for a good reason.

Dairy Queen Oreo Mocha Fudge Blizzard Dig

The big Oreo pieces are always tasty, especially when you get one with some crème filling still attached, and I love the way the magical Oreo dust gets mixed in throughout the Blizzard. And the choco chunks deliver an extra dose of chocolatey goodness throughout. The coffee flavor is just enough to make this version different, but not so much that it overpowers the chocolate flavors. It’s like the coffee knows that he or she is not the star of the show and is happy to play a supporting role.

Anything else you need to know?

This Blizzard does not contain coffee straight from the pot but instead has coffee concentrate, which includes ingredients that I can neither pronounce nor define, like polydimethylsiloxane. According to Wikipedia, my one-stop-shop for all research, polydimethylsiloxane is the “most widely used silicon-based organic polymer due to its versatility and properties leading to a manifold of applications.”

Dairy Queen Oreo Mocha Fudge Blizzard Top

Now that I have cleared that up for you, I researched whether this Blizzard might have any caffeine. After minutes more of research, my answer is that it probably has little, if any, but I don’t really know. Judging by the mild coffee taste, I don’t think too much coffee concentrate is used, so I had to drink a can of Lightning Tornado Laser Super Turbo Energy Drink that I picked up at 7-Eleven to finish this review.


In general, I think there are three types of Blizzard: ones that are just OK (with ice cream and candy/cookies/brownies a Blizzard can never truly be bad), ones that are solidly good, and then a handful that truly stand out, like the long-gone-but-not-forgotten Nerds Blizzard.

This one falls into the middle category. It’s not worth dropping what you are doing to head to DQ (especially since it will likely still be around in November as part of the fall menu). But it’s certainly worth ordering one the next time you visit.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: Small
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small) 740 calories, 30 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 340 milligrams of sodium, 108 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 84 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Blue Bell Fudge Brownie Decadence Ice Cream

Blue Bell Fudge Brownie Decadence Ice Cream

What is Blue Bell Fudge Brownie Decadence?

It’s the newest and fanciest of all the Blue Bell ice cream flavors. It features chocolate French ice cream with fudge brownie chunks and whipped topping with chocolate flakes. What makes ice cream French, you might ask? It’s made with eggs, which makes it thick and custardy. Side note: custardy is fun to say, but if you keep saying it all day, people around you are likely to get annoyed.

How is it?

If you put decadence in the name, it better be something special. And this is. Before digging in, I thought maybe there would be too much chocolate going on. Instead, it was a perfect symphony of different chocolate flavors, all teaming up to make my mouth happy.

Blue Bell Fudge Brownie Decadence Ice Cream Spoon

The brownies truly are decadent. They are chewy — almost even a little gooey somehow — and taste more like homemade brownies instead of the non-descript chunks in many ice creams. These brownies have a rich flavor, and there are plenty of them.

Blue Bell Fudge Brownie Decadence Ice Cream Top

The ice cream is smooth and creamy, as it should be, with the perfect level of chocolatiness. It did remind me a little of custard, but I’m not sure if that was the power of suggestion from reading the label. Regardless, the ice cream did its part to keep the decadence rolling. The chocolate flakes are a bit overshadowed by the brilliant brownies, but they add some nice texture and taste to the mix.

Blue Bell Fudge Brownie Decadence Ice Cream Top First

The only letdown is the whipped topping. First, there is a lot of it — much more than just some swirls or ribbons like I was expecting. If it tasted great, that might be fine, but it really doesn’t. It’s like Cool Whip-flavored ice cream. In limited amounts, like as a topping, that could be a nice contrast to the chocolate, but it just seems like too much of it here. Even so, this flavor achieves its stated goal of being decadent. But despite my quibble about the whipped topping, it’s a big winner.

Anything else you need to know?

If you do not reside in the southern third of the country, you may not be familiar with Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries. You also might think it is the same company that makes Blue Bunny ice cream. It’s not; Blue Bunny is headquartered in Iowa.

This is where I must deliver a stern warning, just in case you ever happen to discuss this topic with someone from Texas. Unless you are fixin’ to start a kerfuffle, or perhaps even a brouhaha, DO NOT ask a Texan if Blue Bell and Blue Bunny are the same thing. And, even more importantly, DO NOT say that Blue Bunny is better than Blue Bell unless, of course, you are looking for an all-out donnybrook.

I’m not originally from Texas, but I have lived in the state long enough to know that many Texans will defend the honor of Blue Bell until well…wait for it…they are blue in the face. You have been warned.

If you don’t live in Blue Bell country and really want to try it, you can order four half-gallons directly from the creamery for overnight delivery, but I have another warning. It’s not cheap, and depending on where you live, it might almost be cheaper to fly to Texas and try it in person. Just for fun, guess how much it is to get four half-gallons (costing about $20 at the grocery store) overnighted to your door.


It’s $135!


Since I’m not a native Texan, I do not have an innate love of Blue Bell and feel like I can be an impartial judge here. My verdict is that this is one of my new favorite ice creams, and I’ll shed a little tear if it doesn’t become a permanent member of the Blue Bell lineup.

Is it worth $135 if you can’t get it in your area? No, of course not. But I’ve got a lot of family “up North,” as Texans refer to most other states, and I’d be happy to bring you some for the bargain price of $125 next time I’m visiting.

Purchased Price: $5.85
Size: Half-gallon
Purchased at: H-E-B
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 240 calories, 15 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 20 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Caramel Apple Pie Blizzard

Dairy Queen Caramel Apple Pie Blizzard Top

What is the Dairy Queen Caramel Apple Pie Blizzard

It’s one of the stars of the Dairy Queen Fall Blizzard Menu. It contains apple topping, pie pieces (or more accurately, pie crust pieces as I’ll explain below) and caramel coated truffles with vanilla soft serve and the obligatory garnish for all pies, whipped topping.

How is it?

Let me ramble a bit before I answer that question. I had high expectations for this Blizzard because I love me some apple pie. I’m not talking about grandma’s secret recipe pie with the steam rising from the top as it emerges from the oven. Yes, I’m sure your Gammy’s pie is delicious, but for some reason I’ve always been partial to the industrial strength versions.

The main reason I went to middle school every day (OK, most days, unless I could successfully fake a stomachache) was to get one of those tasty, sugar-loaded Hostess apple pies at lunch. And even now, I still tear up a little thinking about the long-extinct fried apple pie at McDonald’s, despite the real risk of permanent mouth injury caused by its hot-as-lava filling. This Blizzard reminds me of that Hostess/McDonald’s pie taste, without the latter’s third-degree burns. And the addition of the truffles make this something special.

Dairy Queen Caramel Apple Pie Blizzard Closeup 1

There’s so much going on with this Blizzard, but everything blends together beautifully. This certainly isn’t the best-looking Blizzard ever, and even when you take away the whipped topping, it’s ordinary looking. But as I learned in middle school when I wasn’t eating Hostess pies, don’t judge a book, or a Blizzard, by its cover.

Dairy Queen Caramel Apple Pie Blizzard Pieces

Because I am dedicated to my craft, I took the time to extract the three different pieces for you to examine (crust, apple, truffle from left to right). If it disgusts you to know that I had to suck and lick the soft serve off each piece, then just don’t read this sentence. I even dissected the truffle so you can see its guts spill out.

Dairy Queen Caramel Apple Pie Blizzard Truffle

The crust pieces maintain their crispness even while encased in soft serve, the apple chunks deliver a subtle but satisfying fruit flavor, and the caramel coated truffles are very indulgent with their ooey-gooey center. It seems like most new Blizzards either feature chocolate or some sort of berry as the main component, so this one also stands out for being unique.

Anything else you need to know?

Dairy Queen Caramel Apple Pie Blizzard Closeup 2

One of the other Blizzards on the fall menu, the Pumpkin Pie Blizzard, has “real” pumpkin pie pieces. But this one is worded a bit differently on the DQ website, which proclaims that it contains “apple topping” and “pie pieces.”

After perusing the list of ingredients and skipping over many, many words that I can neither pronounce nor define, I confirmed that the pie pieces here are indeed just pie crust pieces. That, of course, raises the question of whether a pie crust on its own is a pie, but I’ll let those more scholarly than I debate such topics. So to answer the question at hand — no, you didn’t need to know any of that.


Dairy Queen Caramel Apple Pie Blizzard Closeup 3

The only thing that kept me from giving this Blizzard a perfect score is that the apple pieces are a bit small and rubbery, like they were harvested from a fruit cake. And if you take a bite that doesn’t contain a chunk of apple, there’s really no fruit flavor in the soft serve, so it might have been nice to get some kind of apple flavoring or sauce in there. But those are just minor grouses; overall, this is an exceptional Blizzard, and I’m happy it will be around all fall.

Purchased Price: $4.39
Size: Medium
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Medium) 930 calories, 37 grams of fat, 26 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 420 milligrams of sodium, 133 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 103 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Oreo Fudge Brownie Blizzard

Dairy Queen Fudge Brownie Blizzard Cup

It’s the Blizzard of the Month for August and perhaps the most straightforwardly named Blizzard in history. As you might have surmised, it has Oreo cookies, brownie pieces, and cocoa fudge with vanilla soft serve blended together in the magic DQ Blizzard machine.

Dairy Queen Fudge Brownie Blizzard Top

It’s like one of The Fast and the Furious movies, which according to Wikipedia, is now known as Fast & Furious for those of you who are sticklers for accuracy on movie franchise names. Regardless of whether there’s an ampersand or not, you basically know what to expect going into any movie featuring Vin Diesel — things are going to explode, and you’ll have a satisfying, albeit predictable, experience (assuming you enjoy explosions and not having to think about the plot).

Will you tell your friends how great the movie was, or will you even remember the movie’s actual name in a month or two? Probably not, and that’s what we have here.

Chances are you’ve had an Oreo Blizzard in one form or another (maybe even the Oreo Firework one that actually did blow up, or at least had popping candy). And chances are you’ve had a Blizzard with brownie pieces and/or cocoa fudge. So there’s nothing earth-shattering here (much like every movie featuring another F&F star, The Rock, unless you want to count the earthquake disaster movie San Andreas), but as I’ve said in some past Blizzard reviews, that doesn’t make it any less tasty.

This is kind of like a greatest hits edition of a Blizzard, and it definitely hits the spot, even if it’s not as fancy-looking as some of its Blizzard friends.

Dairy Queen Fudge Brownie Blizzard Spoon

If there is any surprise here, it’s that the textures of the Oreo and brownies work great together. Because both look nearly identical, especially covered in fudge-infused soft serve, you are never quite sure what’s going into your mouth.

While that can be problematic in some situations, like at a middle school lunch table when a friend wants you to taste some grayish mystery meat. In this case, it provides a nice bit of intrigue. Will it be the crunch of Oreo cookies, the chewiness of brownies, or a mixture?

Oreo cookies and brownies also have a difference in chocolatiness, so that adds another level to the flavor. The cocoa fudge amps it up more, but not so much that I feel it’s choco overload.

If you are looking for something unique or with an exciting name, there are plenty of good options on the DQ Summer Blizzard Menu. But if you have a hankering for a familiar, chocolatey treat, you can’t really go wrong with the Oreo Fudge Brownie Blizzard.

Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: Small
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small) 1,480 calories, 62 grams of fat, 30 grams of saturated fat, 2 gram of trans fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 760 milligrams of sodium, 210 grams of carbohydrates, -2 grams of dietary fiber, 160 grams of sugar, and 28 grams of protein. (These figures from the DQ website appear to be inaccurate, as some are almost double those of similar Blizzards, and having a negative number of grams of dietary fiber seems implausible.)