REVIEW: McDonald’s McRib (2021)

McDonald s McRib  2021 Sandwich

I have had a McRib. In fact, I have had more than one McRib. If I had to guess, I’d wager that I’ve had somewhere between three and five McRibs. Each fall, there are some immutable truths: your brother-in-law will attempt to persuade you to let him take you deer hunting, people will spend the week after the time change complaining about how early it gets dark, and McDonald’s will act like they are doing the world no small favor by bringing back everyone’s favorite processed pork-parts patty.

And every three or four years, I go, “Do I like a McRib? People go nuts for these things. But I can’t remember…” And so I eat one and then go right back to forgetting. But now that I am committing my thoughts to the Internet — and provided the domain fees for this site continue to be paid — I will never again forget how I feel about this annual porkwich.

Here’s how I feel: I probably don’t need to eat another one of these again in my life.

That’s not to say this sandwich is aggressively bad or that it is an affront to my gastric sensibilities; it’s fine. But “fine” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and the fact of the matter is this: there are 15 better menu items you can order from McDonald’s.

Furthermore, if you have an unyielding hankering for a pork-patty sandwich, you can probably get a cheaper and more delicious one somewhere else. QuikTrip, a multi-region chain of convenience stores, sells a much better and cheaper BBQ pork riblet sandwich. I mean, sure, you have to microwave it yourself, but it’s a small trade-off for a vastly superior product.

So, what is it about the McRib that keeps me from — ba-da-ba-ba-ba — loving it?

The pork patty itself is perfectly okay. It’s meaty and chewy, and what one probably expects from “restructured meat” composed primarily of pork shoulder. It’s inoffensive (if uninspired). There are no “subtle undertones” or “complex nuances” to be had; it is chewy, and identifiably meat, and that’s pretty much it.

McDonald s McRib  2021 Onions

The same can be said of the pickles, which are McD’s standard, flimsy sour discs, and the onions, which are respectably crunchy and tangy. The bun is a bland (but again, just fine) homestyle roll that is dusted with some sort of seed. (Nearly everything on the Internet identifies it as a sesame seed bun, but this isn’t true. The ones on the McRib bun are tiny and round and yellow, like a poppy seed, but not. I think this is called “corn dusted”?)

Anyway, what I think really ruins the McRib is the bath of sweet sauce the patty receives. The sauce is tart and pungently tangy, like ketchup that has gone south, and the sandwich is absolutely SWIMMING in it. You cannot take a bite of this thing without splurting or dripping the sticky red goo everywhere. It is a slasher-film of a lunch.

McDonald s McRib  2021 Side

In the end, I think this sandwich thrives off of two things: 1) nostalgia and 2) limited availability. I’d be genuinely surprised if many people try one for the first time this November and instantly begin a countdown clock until its sloppy return.

Purchased Price: $5.29
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 520 calories, 28 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 890 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugars, and 24 grams of protein.

(Editor’s Note: Last year, I decided we would review the McRib every time it returns, and each time it would be a different writer. I’m doing it mostly for funsies, but I also want to read different takes on this sandwich. If you’re interested, here’s our review from 2020.)

REVIEW: McDonald’s Glazed Pull Apart Donut

McDonald s Glazed Pull Apart Donut Full

When Dunkin’ dropped the “Donuts” from its name, I never would have guessed good ol’ Ronald would be the one to stumble over from the 2 am drive-thru line and try to pick it up.

Sure, McDonald’s added several baked goods to its McCafe menu last year, which is clearly competing with Dunkin’ and Starbucks for morning notoriety, but a donut at McDonald’s? It all feels a little too “dreams do come true” for my Standard American Diet heart to handle. But that’s exactly where we are with McDonald’s first Limited Time Only offering to its McCafe Bakery menu: the Glazed Pull Apart Donut.

The donut is described as light and airy and coated in a delicious, sweet glaze. Visually and conceptually, a bunch of donut holes all shoved together in a pull apart fashion, I love this donut. In terms of its execution, it’s just okay. Before I go any deeper, can we address the elephant in the room — why wasn’t this called the McDonut? Gold.

I asked the cashier if it’s served warm like the Cinnamon Roll, and she said they could warm it if I wanted, which I opted out of so I could try both ways when I got home. At room temperature, the donut is relatively firm but soft — it doesn’t give under the pressure of my fingers but has a gentle and slightly bouncy chew.

McDonald s Glazed Pull Apart Donut Innards

The fluffy texture of the yeasty dough reminds me of the bun on McChicken in the best way. It has that artificial squish akin to Wonder Bread, and I find it endearing in this context. The sweetness of the glaze is relatively mild with a vanilla flare and a touch of salt. I get much more of a fried bread flavor than I was expecting for a fully glazed doughnut; it’s kind of savory when compared to Dunkin’ or especially Krispy Kreme, and I wish it were a touch sweeter.

Warmed up, it tastes mostly the same but has a softer and almost melty texture that helps tame some of the more bready notes that jump out at room temperature. The heat helps activate the sweetness, and I found myself nodding my head in approval — this is what I was looking for. I’m not usually one to warm my pastries unless it seems absolutely necessary, and in this case, I 100% recommend it.

McDonald s Glazed Pull Apart Donut Center

The biggest point of intrigue is the center — is it the best part like a cinnamon roll? Yes, yes, it is. While it doesn’t reach the same ooey-gooey heights that the center of a Cinnabon does, it is softer and a bit more glaze-soaked than the outer wannabe Munchkins are and delivers deliciously sweet satisfaction.

McDonald s Glazed Pull Apart Donut Top

As fun as it was to devour an entire family of donut holes, picking them off one by one like a 90s slasher movie antagonist, I can’t help but wonder how much better it could have been if it were just a touch sweeter and softer. I enjoyed the McDonald’s donut experience, but unless I’m already in line with a massive craving for a donut on the side of my Big Mac, I have zero inclination to go out of my way to eat it again, no matter how fun the form factor is.

Purchased Price: $1.79
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 donut) 310 calories, 17 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 280 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 15 gram of sugar, 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s BTS Meal

McDonald s BTS Meal

I might not be the best person to review McDonald’s BTS Meal because I don’t think I’ve ever heard a BTS song prior to this review.

(I’ll pause here to let you loudly gasp and then sing angrily at my ignorance your favorite BTS song through your screen. I apologize.)

I wrote, “I don’t think” because nowadays, I almost never listen to the radio, and when something just so happens to be playing, and because I’m super lame, I never know who’s singing it. So one of those times might’ve been BTS.

So I thought, to appropriately review this Chicken McNuggets meal with Cajun and Sweet Chili dipping sauces, maybe I should knowingly listen to a BTS song, so I can understand why this fast food combo appeals to Jin, V, um, and the other members I can’t remember off the top of my head that many of you are probably yelling through your screen right now. I apologize.

My first BTS listening experience was with the group’s latest song, “Butter,” which I watched on YouTube. I should point out that it was the original version and not the “Hotter Remix.” After the song was done, I thought, “That sure was a catchy ditty. I think that might be my summer jam.”

Fifty-four listens later (and counting) and several poor attempts to mirror the side step right, left moves in the video that led to a sprained ankle, I’m pretty sure it’s my 2021 Summer Jam.

Even with one song swirling around in my head, I might not be the best person to review McDonald’s BTS Meal. But then again, I might be the best person to review McDonald’s BTS Meal because I order Chicken McNuggets 8 out of 10 times when I go to McDonald’s for lunch or dinner. Also, being a McNugget sauce hoarder helps with my qualifications.

McDonald s BTS Meal Sauce Hoarding

McDonald s BTS Meal Sauces

Speaking of sauces, I’m just going to review the Sweet Chili and Cajun dips because almost all of you know what McDonald’s French fries and McNuggets taste like, which are fried heaven and battered and fried heaven, respectively.

McDonald s BTS Meal Sweet Chili

A Sweet Chili sauce isn’t new to the US. It made an appearance back in 2010. But, comparing the ingredient lists shows that this 2021 version is a bit different. Much like the original one, this tastes like the sauce that comes with spring rolls. However, this one has a better sweet and spicy punch than the one that came out over a decade ago, which I thought was bland.

McDonald s BTS Meal Cajun

As for the Cajun one, after dipping my pinky finger into it and then tasting it like I was a TV cop trying to figure out if the cocaine is authentic, I thought it reminded me of my beloved Hot Mustard, but with some noticeable differences, mainly being not as spicy or mustard-y. With it being close to my favorite McNugget dip, I can’t help but love this Cajun sauce more than the other.

McDonald s BTS Meal Tiny Heart
I think my McNuggets were trying to make a tiny heart hand sign.

The previous McDonald’s celebrity meals with J Balvin and Travis Scott can be recreated with some customizations. But the BTS Meal probably won’t be because of the two limited edition McNugget sauces, which are both tasty and worth a try, whether or not you love (or know of) BTS.

Purchased Price: $7.99
Size: Medium
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Sauce nutrition facts not available on McDonald’s website, so here are the numbers for just a medium fries and 10-piece McNuggets) 740 calories, 40 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1100 milligrams of sodium, 68 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 28 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Caramel Brownie McFlurry

McDonald s Caramel Brownie McFlurry Cup

While not as often as Dairy Queen Blizzards, McDonald’s has been mixing several new and exciting McFlurry offerings over the past few years. In 2019, we got stroopwafel and snickerdoodle McFlurry flavors. Last year, the Golden Arches introduced an Oreo Shamrock one in the spring and a Chips Ahoy variety in the fall.

And we gave them all positive reviews.

Well, I’m here to continue that thumbs ups streak in 2021 because right after scarfing down McDonald’s new Caramel Brownie McFlurry, I wondered how soon is too soon to get another.

The treat features caramel topping and brownie pieces mixed with soft serve. As you can see in the photos, the one I picked up looks like, well, let’s just say not as put together as the promotional photos I’ve seen. But, I believe there’s an ancient wise proverb that says, “Never judge a McFlurry by how it’s been mixed.”

McDonald s Caramel Brownie McFlurry Top

While mine looks like an explosion and fire happened at a Rolo factory that was brought under control by a herd of dairy cows shooting milk from their udders, that sticky mess in the cup was magnificent. But, let’s be honest, combining ice cream, caramel, and brownie pieces, no matter how it looks, has a scientifically proven 95 percent chance of tantalizing the taste buds.

McDonald s Caramel Brownie McFlurry Brownies

While caramel gets top billing in the name, the sweet stars of the show are the brownie pieces. They’re how the chocolatey treat should be — fudgy, dense, chewy, and able to sit in soft serve without getting soggy. They taste like a batch made from a boxed mix, but that’s not a complaint. The chunks are also plentiful. Almost every spoonful I scooped out had one in it.

McDonald s Caramel Brownie McFlurry Caramel

The buttery and sugary caramel topping McDonald’s uses isn’t too noticeable in this McFlurry because there are many brownies to contend with, so it plays less of a role in the treat. But the golden gloop adds a nice third texture that goes well with the chewy brownies and creamy ice cream.

My taste buds did notice a cheesecake-like tang every so often. It wasn’t off-putting, but I’m not sure where it came from.

McDonald’s Caramel Brownie McFlurry isn’t a transplant from a European country (though, it was available in Canada in 2017), doesn’t feature an iconic cookie, or has green food coloring, so it might not be as exciting as recent limited time flavors. But shoveling spoonfuls of it into my mouth excites my taste buds.

Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: Regular
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 630 calories, 19 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 280 milligrams of sodium, 101 grams of carbohydrates, 67 grams of sugar, 1 gram of fiber, and 13 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich (2021)

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Full

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, there’s been a fast food crispy chicken sandwich war going on, thanks to Popeyes launching a chicken sandwich that was so popular, it sold out.

Since then, the number of restaurant chains that have attempted to replicate that deep-fried success goes beyond the eleven fingers on my hands. The latest to enter the war is a little fast food chain called McDonald’s.

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Wrapper

The Golden Arches is offering three versions of its new Crispy Chicken Sandwich that feature a new southern-style fried chicken fillet — Regular (with pickles and a toasted, buttered potato roll), Spicy (with pickles, Original Spicy Sauce, and a toasted potato roll), and Deluxe (with tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, and a toasted potato roll). I ordered the first two.

Coming off those wonderful Spicy Chicken McNuggets, I felt the chain was going to do an excellent job with its new Crispy Chicken Sandwich. But, oh my goodness, they went beyond my expectations. Oh wait, wrote, “beyond.” I meant to write, “below.”

And there’s another B-word I’d like to use to describe the two sandwiches I had — bland.

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Split

With both, the issue with them mainly starts and ends with the new fried chicken fillet. It doesn’t have any distinctive flavors that would make me want to eat it on its own. Combining that with just pickles and a buttered potato roll with the regular one ends up being a joyless event.

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Juicy

However, I will admit that texturally these are the best chicken fillets I’ve had from McDonald’s. The breading has a nice crispiness to it, and the fillets in my sandwiches were juicy and tender. I could squeeze them and some liquid would ooze out. Its thickness was also impressive.

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Spicy Full

McDonald s Crispy Chicken Sandwich 2021 Spicy Top

While the Spicy version includes the Original Spicy Sauce, said sauce is also as bland as the fillets and its name. It does bring some heat that’s significantly below McDonald’s Mighty Hot Sauce, but hotter than the chain’s Hot Mustard. It’s just spicy, though, thanks to the habanero peppers in it. McDonald’s puts out some tasty sauces, so I’m surprised this doesn’t have any flavor.

The only real highlight of the sandwiches was the new potato roll, which has a nice fluffiness and slight sweetness. Besides that, the pickles do bring a tangy kick to the proceedings. But both aren’t enough to save either sandwich. Maybe what’s on the Deluxe version will help.

Purchased Price: $4.99*
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10 (both version)
Nutrition Facts: Regular – 470 calories, 20 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1100 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 27 grams of protein. Spicy – 530 calories, 26 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1230 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 27 grams of protein.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.