The McRib Hack

December 16, 2020
McRib hack montage

So McRib is back and I got excited. I mean, it’s the McRib . . . the only sandwich at McDonald’s thats as McDonalds as the freaking Big Mac. Now it has been more than a minute since I have had one and I just couldn’t eat a McRib and post about it.

I had to make it better.

So here it is, My McRib hack, which I swear to whatever higher power you believe in, is worth the minimal time to make. Take my advice and find yourself a local Carniceria/Mexican Grocery store for all the ingredients listed futher down. And fasten your seatbelts, because this McRib is gonna take you south of the border.

The McRib hack ingredients

  • McRib
  • Pickled jalapeños
  • pickled habaneros and onions
  • avocado salsa
  • chicharron
  • spicy red salsa


I knew out the gate I was going to spice things up. I love the flavors of Mexican street food so adding salsa or pickled jalapeños quickly came to mind. Eventually my final incarnation for this McRib hack was an ode to Torta Ahogada: Mexico’s answer to Chicago’s Italian Beef sandwich(when ordered “wet”)

Yes the bread, is soaked in salsa which makes for a messy meal. But aren’t messy meals the best ones?

McRib hack before

On paper, the McRib has the makings of a fine sandwich. Smokey meat, sweet and tangy BBQ sauce, the bite of raw onion and the sweet smack of sliced pickle is not unliked the kind of sandwich one would find at a hole in the wall BBQ joint. Of course at the price McDonald’s offers, ones expectations can only go so far.

McRib Hack pickled jalapenos 1

My first move was to beef up the pickle department. Rather than replace the pickles the McRib comes with, I chose to enhance the pickle experience with pickled jalapeños. I can’t get enough of these guys and always keep a jar at home for McRib hack type emergencies. I split ’em half and you best believe I left the seeds in.

McRib Hack pickled habanero and onion 2

Spice was going to play a big role in my McRib hack. I also happened to have some pickled habaneros and onions. I should preface that these were a quick pickle, which means I soaked them in lime juice and vinegar for a couple hours in the fridge. For these, I do take the seeds out. Pro Tip: this a fantastic condiment on carnitas tacos or anything very fatty. The heat and acidity cut through rich foods incredibly well.

If you haven’t gotten into avocado salsas . . . you should. Basically a green salsa with a tomatillo base, avocados are added to make it creamy. I like to add a fair amount of spice and cilantro as well. This is one of the best salsas you can buy at a Mexican grocery store, just remember it’s fresh made so don’t look for it in the aisle with the jarred stuff. At this point my McRib was looking like a carnitas torta which got me thinking . . .

McRib Hack chicharron 1

. . . Chicharron. These chunks of fried pork skin are sold at Mexican Grocery stores/Carnicerias along with carnitas by the pound. I like to get a piece with some meat on there too. I cut it up into chunks and layered it on the McRib. At this point I was feeling pretty awesome.

And so I took it the 9s. Grabbed some fiery red salsa from the local carniceria where I got my chicharron and turned my McRib into a full on Torta Ahogada. At least, one in my playbook. As messy as it was to eat it was also incredibly worth it. Heavy, rich, spicy and over the top, it was a fitting addition to a sandwich event that happens every so often.

McRib hack=total torta transformation or the “triple T” effect. If tacos are taking over Tuesdays, I think Tortas have a shot at the Golden Arches. Find yourself a McDs and a good carniceria and your McRib hack dreams will be golden.

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