Smoked McRib Sandwich

Try our flavorful Smoked McRib Sandwich recipe for the best rib sandwich experience you’ll ever have!

smoked mcrib sandwich
derrickriches.com


You might be well acquainted with the McDonald’s McRib sandwich if you’re a 70s, 80s, and 90s kid. First introduced in 1981, this popular sandwich had its share of loyal fans with an almost equal number of haters. Those who loved the McRib appreciated this innovative BBQ-style burger.

First, the McRib is made of ground pork, none of that all-beef patty stuff. Second, the pork patty is slathered in BBQ sauce. Wait. What? Barbecue sauce? Those of us living outside the South were used to “special sauce” and condiments like ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise. We didn’t know too much about barbecue. But wait, there’s more. Let’s talk about the patty. Some die-hard McRibbers adore the unique shape of the McRib, the same reason self-professed haters like me were turned off by it. This rib-shaped patty looked like something formed with a play dough press—yum (note the sarcasm). Pair this with a sweet, cheaply made sauce? Oof. You can’t pay me enough to eat another after my first attempt.

Mc Rib Sandwich

The McRib Craze:

Like most haters, I was bewildered by the fanaticism surrounding the periodic re-releases of this sandwich. I mean, I understood the Szechuan sauce craze. Who doesn’t? But, this? Why? There had to be a better approach. Something that didn’t seem so half-as… I mean, mass-produced.
In 2015, we set our sites on developing the best McRib copycat recipe. Our original version was great, but it’s very 2015 if you know what I mean. We have since taken this cult-like sandwich and turned it into one of our most amazing rib experiences to date. You’ll want to try our method, and while you still might submit to limited-time releases of the McRib, you can make our “grown-up” version any time the craving hits!
No offense to the originator. I’ve heard that they have improved this sandwich since my unfortunate experience in the 80s. Perhaps my young palate was too unforgiving. Who knows. But for now, I think I’ll stick with this Smoked McRib Sandwich.

Smoked McRib Sandwich Ingredients:

  • 1 rack of baby back ribs
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce: Try our Kansas City Barbecue Sauce or reach for a bottle of Candy Jalapeno (available, March 2022). We had the opportunity to try Candy Jalapeno before its debut. It has the perfect combination of sweetness, heat, and tanginess.
  • One of our popular Rib Rubs or Heath Riles Apple Rub
  • Hot sauce or mustard (binder for the rub)
  • Apple cider or apple cider vinegar
  • French bread loaf
  • Butter
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt
  • Yellow onion
  • Hamburger dill pickle slices
  • Sandwich toothpicks (optional)
  • Brown Sugar (optional)
  • A reliable instant-read thermometer or temperature monitoring system
  • Aluminum drip pan (optional)

Making Smoked McRib Sandwich:

  • Plan on a cooking temperature of 250 degrees F. The goal is to cook the ribs well enough to remove the bones without disturbing rib meat.
  • Wood suggestions: For this recipe, we recommend using apple, pecan, or maple wood for this smoked McRib Sandwich recipe.
  • Pellet grill: Set it for target temperature and use the pellets recommended above.
  • Charcoal grill: Set up for indirect cooking by placing all the coals on one side. Set a drip pan below the grates of the indirect side, where the ribs will go. Add recommended wood to the fire a few minutes before the ribs go on.
  • Gas grill: If using a 3-burner grill, leave the middle burner off, and turn on the two side burners. Remember that we are looking for a low cooking temperature of 250 degrees F. Use a smoker box with recommended wood. Follow manufacturer’s directions for usage.

Rib Prep

Rib Prep
Rib Prep/derrickriches.com
  • Flip the baby back ribs over, and make a small incision with a sharp knife on the top corner of the membrane covering the bones. Use a sheet of paper towels to help you get a solid grip. Slowly pull the membrane off, exposing the bones. It’s important to remove this tissue. It creates a tough barrier that is hard to chew through. Besides, we want your smoked McRib sandwich experience to be great one.
  • Next, turn the ribs over and apply a small amount of hot sauce or mustard (we used the Jalapeno Candy) on the meat portion of the ribs. Rub it all over.
  • Apply a decent amount of rub, turn over and sprinkle some on the bone side too.

Smoking Time

  • Once your grill is up to temperature (250 degrees), place the rack of ribs, bone side down onto the grill grates. Close the lid, and let your ribs cook for 1 hour undisturbed. Keep an eye on the cooking temperature and adjust as needed.
  • After 1 hour, you might start to notice a nice bark forming. You might also notice some dry spots too. If that’s the case, it’s time to spritz the ribs with a little liquid.
  • Fill a clean, kitchen-safe spray bottle with apple cider, apple juice, or cider vinegar. 
  • Spritz the liquid onto the surface of the ribs. Stay at least 6″ above the ribs when spritzing. 
  • Never spritz directly into the ribs. Doing this will disturb the bark you’ve worked so hard to build! Close the lid and cook until your ribs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Wrapping Smoked Ribs

  • Time to wrap! We recommend using foil instead of peach butcher paper for this recipe. The foil will help steam the ribs making the bones easier to remove. 
  • Remove the baby backs from your grill and place it onto a large sheet of aluminum foil. Turn the side edges up to create a boat-like structure. Pour 1/2 cup of apple cider or juice around the outer edges of the ribs, top with brown sugar (optional) and a few pats of butter. Wrap the ribs, and place them back on the grill for another hour.
Saucing Baby Back Ribs
derrickriches.com
  • Once the ribs reach an internal temperature of 190 degrees, it’s time to unwrap them and apply the sauce.
  • Use heat-resistant gloves to unwrap the ribs. Carefully pour 1/2 cup BBQ sauce over the top and blot it even with a brush. Close the lid and let the ribs cook for 20-30 minutes.

Resting Time and Garlic Bread

  • Carefully remove the ribs from your grill, place onto a clean cutting board, and tent with foil. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes.
  • While ribs are resting, it’s time to get your garlic bread ready. Yep, you heard that right, garlic bread! This will make your smoked McRib sandwich burst with flavor!
  • Cut your French bread loaf in half through the center lengthwise.
  • Combine softened butter with garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Slather each half with equal amounts of the butter mixture.
  • Place them back on your grill butter side down on high heat for 3-4 minutes , or place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, buttered side up, and bake in your oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Building The Smoked McRib Sandwich

  • Remove the foil from the ribs, and carefully remove the bones. They will be hot so use heat-resistant gloves for this job! Gently twist the bones and pull them toward you, rather than upward. The object is to leave the rack whole causing minimal breakage in the meat. However, don’t worry if it breaks. This technique takes practice. And you know what that means? You get to make more smoked McRib sandwiches! 
  • Eyeball the rack of ribs. If it’s larger than the bread, cut the end pieces off to fit. You can snack on those later.
Removing bones from ribs
derrickriches.com
  • Next, use tongs or a large metal spatula to transfer the boneless rack of ribs onto the bottom half of the garlic bread.
  • Add onions and pickle slices on top, then drizzle with some warmed BBQ sauce to finish it off. 
  • Place the other half of the garlic bread on top and carefully cut it into three equal-sized smoked McRib sandwiches. Secure with toothpicks and serve with your favorite sides. We recommend Smoked Corn.
  • Want to make your smoked McRib sandwiches in the oven? Follow our guide for How to Make Ribs in the Oven, and use baby backs instead of spare ribs.
  • Want to make these sandwiches for a group of friends? Quadruple the recipe. You’ll have enough for smoked McRib sandwiches for 12 of your nearest and dearest.
  • Not a fan of onions or pickles? Kick them out and replace the topping with our popular vinegar-based Sandwich Slaw.  
smoked mcrib sandwich

Smoked McRib Sandwich

Try our Smoked McRib Sandwich for the best rib sandwich experience you'll ever have.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: McRib, Mcrib copycat, Mcrib recipe, rib sandwich
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 3 servings
Calories: 477kcal
Author: Derrick Riches and Sabrina Baksh

Ingredients

  • 1 rack of baby back ribs about two pounds
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons rib rub
  • Hot sauce or mustard binder
  • 1 cup Apple cider apple cider vinegar
  • French bread loaf roughly the same size as the rack of ribs
  • 1/2 cup butter softened (not melted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 9-12 hamburger pickle slices
  • 3 Sandwich toothpicks optional

Instructions

  • Aim for a cooking temperature of 250 degrees F. Aim for a cooking temperature of 250 degrees F. The goal is to cook the ribs well enough to remove the bones without disturbing rib meat.
    We recommend using apple, pecan, or maple wood for this recipe. See notes below for setup instructions.
  • Flip the ribs over, and make a small incision on the top corner of the membranous material covering the bones. Use a sheet of paper towels to help you get a solid grip. Slowly pull the membrane off, exposing the bones. It’s important to remove this tissue. It is created a tough barrier that is hard to chew through.
  • Next, turn the ribs over and apply a scant amount of hot sauce or mustard (we used the Jalapeno Candy). Rub it all over. Sprinkle a decent amount of rub on the rack and a little on the bone side.
  • Once your grill is up to temperature, place the rack of ribs, bone side down onto the grill grates. Close the lid, and let your ribs cook for 1 hour undisturbed. Keep an eye on the cooking temperature and adjust as needed.
  • After 1 hour, you’ll start to notice a nice bark forming on the ribs. However, there might also be some dry spots.
  • Fill a clean, kitchen-safe spray bottle with apple cider or cider vinegar.
  • Spritz the liquid onto the surface of the ribs. Stay about 6″ above the ribs when spritzing.
  • Never spritz too close. Doing this will disturb the bark you’ve worked so hard to build! Close the lid and cook until your ribs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Time to wrap! Remove the rack of ribs from your grill and place it onto a large sheet of aluminum foil. Turn the side edges up to create a boat-like structure. Pour 1/2 cup of apple cider or juice around the outer edges of the ribs and add a few pats of butter. Wrap the ribs, and place them back on the grill for another hour.
  • Once the ribs reach an internal temperature of 190 degrees, it’s time to unwrap and sauce them.
  • Use heat-resistant gloves to unwrap the ribs. Carefully pour 1/2 cup BBQ sauce over the top and blot it even with a sauce brush. Close the lid and let the ribs cook for 20 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the ribs from your smoker or grill, place them onto a clean cutting board, and tent with foil. Let them rest for 20-30 minutes.
  • While ribs are resting, it’s time to get your garlic bread ready. Cut your French bread loaf in half lengthwise through the center. Combine softened butter with garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Slather each half with equal amounts of the butter mixture
  • Place them back on your grill butter side down for 3-4 minutes on high heat, or place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and buttered side up and bake them in your oven at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove the foil from the ribs, and carefully remove the bones. They will be hot so use heat-resistant gloves for this job! Gently twist the bones and pull them forward rather than upward. The object is to leave the rack whole without any breakage in the meat. However, don’t worry if it breaks. This technique takes practice. And you know what that means? You get to make more smoked McRib sandwiches!
  • Next, use tongs or a large metal spatula to transfer the boneless rack of ribs onto the bottom half of the garlic bread.
  • Add onions and pickle slices on top, then drizzle with some warmed BBQ sauce to finish it off.
  • Place the other half of the garlic bread on top and carefully cut it into three equal-sized smoked McRib sandwiches. Secure with toothpicks and serve.

Notes

Pellet grill: Set it for target temperature and use the pellets recommended above.
Charcoal grill: Set up for indirect cooking by placing all the coals on one side. Set a drip pan below the grates of the indirect side, where the ribs will go. Add recommended wood to the fire a few minutes before the ribs go on.
Gas grill: If using a 3-burner grill, leave the middle burner off, and turn on the two side burners. Remember that we are looking for a low cooking temperature of 250 degrees F. Use a smoker box with recommended wood. Follow manufacturer’s directions for usage.

Nutrition

Calories: 477kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 1493mg | Potassium: 748mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 341IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 146mg | Iron: 2mg
Smoked McRib Sandwich

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