The rib sandwich you will never be able to buy at McDonalds

January  5, 2011
2 Ratings
Author Notes

Vivian tried to flush more paper down the toilet than it could handle. She flushed the clogged toilet repeatedly before she started panicking at the water running over the porcelain rim and unbenounced to her running down the downstairs walls. When she started screaming she was so panicked I thought she cut her legs off. I ran up the stairs three stairs at a time. I was not mad but my heart was racing. Lynnie is all two-year-old. My day is mostly spent following her around trying not to continually tell her ”no” as she touches everything in the house three times or more and climbs up the cabinets just as much. One of the dogs was bleeding profusely and needed to be stitched. It is not easy to wrestle a hundred pound black lab into submission. Shortly there after he helped himself to a chicken dinner killing a prize rooster. All the while I have had this notion all week about creating a recipe of depth, richness and spice. One where the words Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me kept running through my head in a way that made me want to title my recipe Sacred Cow and Java Java Sauce. Repeatedly the sacrificial scene of Apocolypse Now has been looping leaving an indelible visual tattoo of a slaughtered cow in my brain. Michael Pollen is the stand in for Dennis Hopper and he continually tells me what he thinks I need to know and I am grateful when Kurtz (Brando) runs him off. I realized my ribs were not going to come true. That is when I wondered if anyone ever considered the fact that not all that long ago most native peoples were nomadic. Did Pocahontas eat seasonally or did her tribe migrate to warmer climates eating the same foods again that were readily available once more because of the move to warmer ground? Me, I finally threw my hands up in mental frustration and said," enough." I wasn’t going there. I am just not that smart. I am more of just a musings kind of guy, an observer. So I hugged both my girls and read them a book while they snuggled in against my sides making me feel just like a McRib. - thirschfeld —thirschfeld

Test Kitchen Notes

Thirschfeld's tongue-in-cheek McRib puts its predecessor to shame. More of a French dip, each bite of this sandwich hits all the right notes: Crusty French bread, lively herbed butter, tender morsels of beef, a pool of onion jus to dunk your face--er, sandwich--in. A stack of napkins is required. Grab a bib, too. —CookLikeMad

  • Serves 4
  • For the matre d' butter
  • 1 stick, unslted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, very finely minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons shallot, peeled and very finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • For the mcrib
  • 4 meaty well marbled short ribs, flanken style
  • 1 tablespoon grape seed oil
  • 2 cups yellow onion, julienned
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 French baguettes , cut into 4 six inch portions
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
In This Recipe
  1. Note: When you are cooking a cut of meat like a short rib there is a temperature and time line that needs to be crossed in order for the meat to become tender. It is, what I call, when the collagen relaxes. When this happens the meat becomes succulent and tender and really cooking it any longer than is necessary is only detrimental to the beef itself leaving if void of precious fat which is why you are cooking this piece of meat in the first place (because you like the taste of the fat.) I have really come to like the taste of the rib cut itself as well and if you are going to spend the money on a free range organic grass feed cut then you really should want to taste it and not bury it under loads of strong tasting sauce.
  2. Using a sharp knife cut the ribs between the bones into square pieces. They should be about 2 1/2 inches square. Salt the ribs liberally on all sides and let them rest until it is dissolved. You can also let the ribs sit uncovered in the fridge overnight after salting them.
  3. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Heat the grape seed oil over high heat in a 3 1/2 quart Dutch oven. When it is hot add the ribs and really sear them on all sides until they are deep brown. Sear them on all sides and adjust the heat as necessary to keep the fond from burning.
  4. When all the sides are brown remove the pot from the heat. Place the ribs onto a sheet of foil and wrap them tightly but carefully making sure not to let the bones poke holes in the foil. Set the foil on a tray. Put the ribs into the oven and set a timer for 2 hours and 15 minutes.
  5. Empty the pot of excess oil but don't clean it. Place it over medium heat and add the onions. Cook the onions until they start to caramelize. Add the bay leaves and stock. Season with a salt and lots of pepper and bring the jus to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer.
  6. Combine all the ingredients for the butter in a bowl and mix it well with a rubber spatula. Season it with salt and pepper and mix again.
  7. When the timer goes of remove the ribs and unwrap them. The bones should be exposed and the meat should cut easily. So slice off a sliver and give it a try. Is it succulent and tender if so you are ready to go if not put it back into the oven for another 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the ribs. Let them rest covered.
  8. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Cut the loves in half length wise and smear a good swab of butter on the interior side of each half of the loaf. Set each half, butter side up, on a sheet tray. Toast the loaves in the oven until the edges just start to color and the butter is all melty and aromatic.
  9. While the bread is toasting remove the bones from the ribs. Slice the ribs against the grain into very thin pieces. Divide into equal portions and pile them onto the toasted bread and serve with a side of onion jus.
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Father, husband, writer, photojournalist and not always in that order.