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

January  5, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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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  • TiggyBee
  • cheese1227
  • healthierkitchen
  • Waverly
  • lastnightsdinner

25 Reviews

TiggyBee January 18, 2011
With some left over short ribs from testing a recipe, I needed a go-to recipe and hella yeah, this one fit. Thanks for being awesome.
TiggyBee January 18, 2011
oops, forgot to mention I made these last night. My friends and family were grateful.
cheese1227 January 8, 2011
The visuals on this one are fantastic on all fronts.
thirschfeld January 8, 2011
I appreciate your kind words cheese1227
healthierkitchen January 8, 2011
So enjoying reading your head notes!
thirschfeld January 8, 2011
Thank you so much healthierkitchen
Waverly January 6, 2011
Ahh, the chaos of parenthood. I think your McRib sounds superb, but your story made me smile.
thirschfeld January 6, 2011
thanks Waverly. I have a strange affection for the chaos. It can be frustrating but it is also interesting. I am so glad I could make you smile.
lastnightsdinner January 6, 2011
Now *that's* a sandwich. Wow.
thirschfeld January 6, 2011
thanks lastnightsdinner, it is funny but I love the taste of the short rib all on its own. It is so great without anything else on it but when I put the maitre d butter and the au jus with it and the bread to soaked it all in it became heaven. Pair onion rings with it and well...
MyCommunalTable January 6, 2011
Hilarious! We would be crying or drinking far too much if we didn't laugh. Creative outlet of cooking is always a good release. Love the recipe and the pic... the onion rings look fabulous as well.
thirschfeld January 6, 2011
thanks MCT and yes, laughter is the only way to go.
Kayb January 5, 2011
Ahh, children. The reason we love them is so we won't kill them. I remember those days well. I'm astounded you could pull together anything beyond grilled cheese, after that kind of day, but the McRib sounds wonderful!
thirschfeld January 6, 2011
thanks Kayb and I am guessing you don't forget those days.
Sagegreen January 5, 2011
A day in the life! Just start with Guiness right at breakfast.
thirschfeld January 5, 2011
never been much of a breakfast drinker, usually not till evening, this morning was a unique occasion.
nannydeb January 5, 2011
When I first started reading this I couldn't imagine that it was going to turn out to be about food...Sorry you had such a challenging day!
thirschfeld January 5, 2011
it really wasn't bad it just took a different direction than planned. Sometimes that is for the better
Oui, C. January 5, 2011
Sounds like a hell of a day, friend. I DO hope there's a tall frosty waiting for you just off-camera. A delicious looking sandwich...I could go for a big bite right now. - S
thirschfeld January 5, 2011
thanks I just left you a note under you wonderful creation
hardlikearmour January 5, 2011
Phew! You've had quite an eventful week. Sandwiches sound delish, as per usual with your creations.
thirschfeld January 5, 2011
thank you hardlikearmour and yes it has been an eventful week
mrslarkin January 5, 2011
Perfect meal after an ordinary day like that. But you're missing the cold beer. ;)
hardlikearmour January 5, 2011
Or glass of bourbon!
thirschfeld January 5, 2011
Oh no mrslarkin, I was at an Irish funeral this morning. I was drinking Guiness before noon