The NickRib

Directions for how to make a great homemade version of the popular McRib BBQ sandwich.


The NickRib

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I had a bit of a Twitter tantrum last week because I’m just plain sick of hearing about the amazing McRib sandwich from McDonalds.  Apparently the word on the street is that it’s just so disgusting that it’s somehow good.

That really doesn’t make sense to me.

That said, the idea behind the sandwich is a great one.  A nice big pork patty on a hoagie bun with BBQ sauce, pickles, and onions?  Sounds good to me!

So I decided to make a homemade version of the sandwich.  The recipe I came up with is really simple and actually cheaper than buying the sandwich from McDonalds.  Plus, now I have a bunch of them frozen so it’s faster for me to make one now than driving to McDonalds.

So let’s all please stop talking about the McRib and start talking about the NickRib.

The Nickrib

6 sandwiches
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Directions for how to make a great homemade version of the popular McRib BBQ sandwich.


2 Pounds pork butt, ground
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
2 Teaspoons black pepper
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Teaspoons coriander, ground
2 Teaspoons cumin, ground
1 Teaspoon red pepper flakes (opt.)
1 bottle (16-18 ounces) BBQ sauce
Hoagie Buns


1) Cut pork butt into cubes. Try to separate fat and meat so you can grind them separately.

2) Grind or process pork. Do the fat first and grind it much finer. Then grind meat and mix the two together.

3) Add in spices to mix meat together.

4) Form six patties from the meat weighing about 5.5 ounces each.

5) Sear patties in a hot pan, over medium-high heat, for about 4 minutes per side.

6) Layer all patties in a baking dish and slather with BBQ sauce. Bake patties at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

7) Add a patty to a hoagie bun and top with extra BBQ sauce, pickles, and sliced onions.

8) Once patties are cooled, you can freeze these by putting each patty individually into small plastic bags with extra sauce. Then put all those small bags into a large gallon sized freezer bag. To reheat, just cut off the plastic from one patty and microwave for about 2 minutes.

The Original

Must to my dislike, I figured that I should probably swing by Mickey D’s and see what all the fuss was about before I tried to recreate this sucker.

I noticed a few things.

1) It costs $3.  That means six would cost $18.  My six homemade sandwiches cost me $13 to make.

2) It made my car smell like a BBQ sandwich farted.

3) It was much smaller than I thought it would be and didn’t look very appetizing.

This costs $3.

I did try this sandwich though and wasn’t really impressed.  Obviously, the patty was super-moist because they inject it with all kinds of stuff to preserve it.  The BBQ sauce tasted like chemicals. The best part of the sandwich was the pickles and there were only two.

A Patty Problem

I did some research before I jumped into this sandwich.  There were a bunch of other people that thought it would be a good idea to make their own versions of this sandwich.  I immediately noticed a problem with some of the homemade versions.

The versions I saw were either amazing and complex like this awesome BBQ pork belly sandwich that takes about 5 hours to make and requires 3 pounds of pork belly.  On the other end of the spectrum, there were people who actually took the time to post on just microwaving frozen pork patties and putting BBQ sauce on them.  That takes only 2 minutes, but you end up with basically the same thing that McDonald’s makes.

I tried to find some middle ground.  I wanted a good patty, but I didn’t want to have to braise pork belly for 6 hours to get it.  So, I decided to go with pork butt.  For one, it’s a really economical cut of meat so I knew I’d be able to keep my costs down (even the best pork butt will run about $2.50/pound).  Secondly, pork butt has a lot of fat in it, so I knew it would keep my patties nice and moist.


The process I used for making my patties is pretty straightforward.  If i had a food grinder, it would’ve been even easier, but I just used my food processor.  First, I cut my pork butt into fatty pieces and meaty pieces.  I wanted to grind/process them separately.  The fat needs to be a lot finer then the meat.  I ground my fatty parts until they were almost a paste and then just pulsed my meaty parts until they basically resembled ground pork.

Shortcut:  You could definitely use ground pork to make these.  I might recommend adding in some processed bacon to up the fat content a bit if you do use ground pork though.

The Spices

Of course, the nice thing about making your own patties is that you can actually mix in some real flavor.  I stirred in some coriander, cumin, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.

Might as well spice it up.

Making the Patties

Since we’re going to be putting these guys on a hoagie bun, you want to make the patties kind of oblong.  Each patty should be about 5.5 ounces and be about six inches long.  It’s okay if they are pretty thin, they will shrink up as they cook.

I went ahead and made all of my patties and just sat them on wax paper until I could cook them.

About 5.5 ounces.

Searing the Patties

Cooking these bad boys is a two step process.  It works like a charm to make a really moist and tasty patty.  To start, just sear each patty in a hot pan over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes per side.  This should almost completely cook the patties because they are so thin.

The important part though is that they get a nice sear on them.

Get a good sear on these guys.

Baking the Patties

Once you get all your patties seared, add them to a large oven-safe dish and slather them with your BBQ sauce.  If you have a really thick BBQ sauce, I recommend adding about 1/2 cup of water to it to thin it out a bit.  It’ll thicken up again as it bakes.

This was a good idea.

Just completely coat all the patties in BBQ sauce and then bake them at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.  This will completely infuse the patties with that delicious BBQ flavor.

This will smell good.

The Toppings

I kept the exact same toppings as the original:  onions and pickles.  I sliced my onions pretty thin though and use way more than two pickles.

Same toppings. Just more.

Finishing the Sandwich

As far as the bun goes, you can toast it or leave it soft.  It’s good either way.  Pile a patty on the bun with some extra BBQ sauce and then top with onions and pickles.

Done deal.

toppings added
You can spring for more than two pickles.

Freezing the Sandwiches

These patties actually freeze really well.  This means that you could double the recipe and have great sandwichs for a long time.  I froze mine by making sure they were completely cool and then putting each patty individually in a small plastic bag with a few spoonfuls of extra sauce.  Then I put all of those small bags in a large freezer safe bag.

When you want a sandwich, just cut the plastic off the patty and microwave it for about 2 minutes.  Slap it on a bun with some extra BBQ sauce, onions, and pickles and you’re all set.  I thought the re-heated version was just as good as on day one.

That’s a real sandwich.

I was really happy with how these turned out.  They cost a fraction of the original sandwich and now that they are made it takes me less time to make one then it would take for me to drive to McDonalds and buy one.

Most importantly, it isn’t even a competition when it comes to flavor.

If I wanted to make this post super-popular, I guess I could take a play out of the McDonald’s playbook and take it down for a few months and then BRING IT BACK!

Or I could just ask you all to share it.  When you hear people raving about the McRib, let them know about the NickRib.

No need to wait for McDonalds to randomly release this sandwich. Just make the McRib at home! It's better that way anyway.

57 Responses to “The NickRib” Leave a comment

  1. Looks good, Nick. A couple years ago I wanted to see what the fuss was about with the McRib, so I had a B1G1 Free coupon I used to pick up 2. Soggy cardboard was a good description. I’d never buy one again. These, on the other hand, look really good. Thanks for posting :)

  2. I have a buddy that raves about that sandwich every time it comes out. I am thinking of making a stack of these and handing them over as a Christmas present- AFTER Mc D’s discontinues theirs. The Nick Rib- looks much better to me!

    1. Definitely! If you have the time, I’d recommend adding a bit of extra fat to the ground pork (maybe ground bacon?), but yea… ground pork would easily work.

  3. I asked my brother in law what he wanted me to have on the table for Thanksgiving. He said McRib. Now while I still wont have a McRib on the actual T-Day, I might make these a week or so before and then pull them out for the night before Thanksgiving and pop them in the crockpot for a quick and easy meal that doesnt require much clean up.

    Plus it will make me the coolest sister in law ever. Nick saves the day yet again!

  4. I hate those commercials too, and I highly doubt their version is very good. I am trembling in terror at the thought of cleanup after letting my son have one of these, but I might have to give these a try, just for something different. Thanks for the idea! :-)

      1. They were pretty darn good, though we deviated from your recipe a bit (I bought our butcher’s personal variant of sausage by accident, so left out your seasonings). Hubby says it gets 5 out of 5 stars. :-) And, the kiddo stayed surprisingly clean! ;-)

  5. Hallelujah! I am also sick (and disgusted) by all the McRib hoopla. I haven’t eaten at a McD’s in over 3 years (not since watching Food Inc.) and the commercials can’t even make the sandwich look good. Yours, on the other hand, looks fantastic!

  6. Yeah, and the coolest thing about the NickRib is that you can actually choose the quality of meat that you use. I have to tell you about something. Several years back my mom and I witnessed a sight at a sale barn that I will not forget. (This is a place where farmers take their livestock to auction them off to the big meat suppliers, kind of like eBay but with cows and pigs. The buyers then either take the animals to feedlots, where the cows are fattened up, or straight to slaughter houses.) Anyway, we were in the back browsing through the holding pens when we saw a pen that held a single cow that was covered in baseball sized tumors. When we asked one of the guys working in the back about her, he told us that she had just been purchased by McDonalds. And I aint talking about old McDonald, I mean the golden arches McDonalds. This is the kind of crap they are willing to feed to America. Happy Meal my ass.

    Anyway, good for you for making an alternative to McRibs. It is frightening how many people are allowing themselves to be sucked into eating inferior food because of marketing ploys.

    1. you need to post this on facebook! Everyone should know about this. Thank you so much for the info.

  7. I’d have to say that the NickRib looks much more appetizing than the McRib. Great idea to make your own. The McRib is not my favorite, the smell is so unappetizing to me!

  8. I am not a veterinarian and I did not conduct any lab testing… the only information I gathered is what I observed and that is what I am trying to relay here for those who may be interested. The animal was covered in what appeared to be baseball sized tumors. They were much larger and looked very different than the warts in the Wikipedia link you posted. The animal was also obviously sick. In case anyone is wondering, I am not an activist nor do I have any personal grudge against this corporation. The point I was trying to make is that McDonalds was purchasing an animal of inferior quality. If most people were given the opportunity to select their beef on the hoof, I am betting it would be the polar opposite of what I saw in that pen.

    1. I also heard the other day on the news that the US has discontinued the ban on the Chinese chicken that was found to be full of samonella (sp) and other contaminants being imported into the USA. They have no inspection of their food there. The point of the news story was “Do you know where your chicken nuggets come from”. This looks really good.

    2. I worked at mc donalds some yrs back. I had the un pleasure of cooking the famous mc rib piece of ?. I am telling everyone if you want to live stay away from this sandwich. this so called piece of meat was no meat. It was 90 % all fat. It was so fatty it was difficult to hold. the mc rib was almost pure white. there was no meat in it at all. well maybe a few slivers. this sandwich should be against the Law to sell. Folks it was horrible.Cant express enough how much fat it was. Please stay away from mc donalds mc rib unless your looking to have a massive heart attack.

  9. Nick, I just started to follow your blog and seeing your post made my day!!! all weekend my boyfriend has been talking about how much he wants a mcrib, and the only response i have is ew. Thank you for this recipie, I’m making it tonight!!

  10. I never really understood the whole uproar around the McRib. I tried it and wasn’t that impressed.

    Love the idea of making freezable ones to have on hand though – I think I’m going to try it with the ground pork and just buy some pork fat to mix in.


  11. Ok, since I think I was the main voice of “so nasty it’s good,” I feel compelled to comment here and say you’ve won me over. This is going into the file of recipes I need to make, and it might be sooner rather than later.

  12. The Nickrib… ingenious… seriously though, I HAVE to get back to work (oh, just one more recipe read-through) Can’t seem to pull myself away from perusing your site.

    Definitely going to try some of these recipes soon.


  13. Well, I made that for our dinner last night – with the minced pork that came in this month’s meat delivery. Delicious! Perfectly spicy as well. I underbought on the bun front, though…

    My husband doesn’t usually read blogs, but as a keen cook he’s going to be reading yours after last night!

  14. Just finished my NickRibs, they were terrific! Used a personal spin on your BBQ sauce from the BBQ Chicken Nachos recipe and it came out great, the heat from the chili works great with the spices you put in the meat.

    Keep the deliciousness coming!

  15. Well, you probably won’t publish this message but I don’t think it is at all like the McRib and I truly love the McRib. Yours is a good sandwich, don’t get me wrong but to me, it is just like the apples and oranges comparison. I won’t compare them, but they are both good. I can’t wait for the McRib to come out again.

  16. They look fab!!!! Really want to try these for my Hubby. Since we are currently living over in Holland, we never see the McRib… not that I am a big of McDonald’s, but yours look really appealing. :)

    Thanks for sharing the recipe and your thoughts. :)

  17. sounds great will try ASAP

    idea try equal amount of top brand of chilie sauce and equal amount of top brand grape jelly mix and use as BBQ sauce. Don’t use off brands.

  18. You recipe looks to die for!
    I volenteer at a Senior Center and we have to serve what they send us and they send something that looks like the McRib and it is horrible.I am sure it is some kind of soy mixture.
    WIsh we could cook our own food to serve but the state send what they want to send.
    Looking forward to trying your recipe at home!
    Thanks for sharing!

  19. I made these tonight!! AMAZING! Only thing was I didn’t have pork butt or ground pork so I used country style ribs instead. After all they have rib in the name. ;) Tweaked the recipe slightly due to what I had on hand but they had my family begging for more! Thanks for an awesome recipe.

  20. I had a couple dry (they’re either dry or drenched in sauce) lifeless McRibs yesterday and they were awesome. Love the McRib. This looks a lot better though, I will be doing it soon!

  21. I worked at McD’s when the sammich first came out (yes, that long ago). As a manager I could order it just perfect. Imagine the patty seared on the 1/4 grill (375 degrees), heavily peppered, added garlic, moved it to the ham grill (325) and let it just simmer. Never ate it with the pickles but experimented with different sauces such as the filet, big mac, ketchup, extra mustard, extra bbq sauce. Best way to eat was to cut it in half and place it in the big mac bun. Of course had to eat it away from the customers. Now I pass on it as it has sat in the container for up to 20 minutes and tastes as if someone lost their sole of their shoe and I found it in my sammich. They had much more fat content in the late 70’s so the taste was outstanding. This recipe here has me drooling for some more…

    1. I must agree. When they first cane out, I lived on them. Every time they come back, I try one, but it is NOT the original mcrib.

  22. The problem with them is that they changed the original sauce on these. When they first came out, they were delicious, but changed sauce and now not so good. also their pickles are terrible!

    Gary Moore

  23. No matter what Mickey-D’s says about being the same as when they first came out, they are not. Different vendors may follow the same recipe, but there has to be substitution of ingredients.

  24. Could you sous vide the patties instead of pan searing and baking? That would make the meat incredibly moist.

    1. Ya. That would work if you’re a sous vide expert Richard. I just tried to make the recipe accessible to most and that means I usually avoid techniques like that unless there isn’t another way to do it! If you try it out like that though, do let me know!

      1. I think I’m going to grind two pounds of pork shoulder and try half using the sear/bake method and half sous vide. I’ll let you know. Thanks for posting the recipe..

      2. As expected, the sous vide patties were more tender although I actually preferred the seared and baked version as the sauce caramelized and infused into the meat as you experienced. A great recipe. Thanks for posting it.

  25. Did people think Mickey D’s would pull the pork off actual ribs then reshape it for the sandwich?
    The gross part is the sauce all over (reminds me of The Texas or Lone star place with their, “If it doesn’t get all over you, it’s not good.) or words to that effect. I like the McRib, but I’ll make these to save a trip and to save money!

  26. I found this recipe and gave it a shot. So glad I did. It was awesome. Perfectly seasoned, make it I’d a pork roast and bacon. We’ll totally have again. Thanks for posting

  27. I just had a local locker make this for me out of organically raised pork. We love them but am looking for the best method to cook – thaw first or cook frozen? On the grill?

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