The Guilty Pleasure: Boneless Rib Sandwich Where To Get It: Burger King, locations Valleywide The Price: $6 and up as a combo. What It Really Costs: As always with fast food, sodium city with over 1,500 mg for the sandwich alone.
Years ago, I gave up on Burger King. The whole operation was dismal. The menu board's dingy yellow hue gave a bad first impression, and everything else followed suit. The food was always hyper-salty and tasted like it sat far too long under a warmer. It's no wonder to me that once #2 (second only to McDonald's) BK long since lost out to Wendy's for market share.
The King's times are changing for the better. The whole chain is remodeling locations with a contemporary (and, dare I say, gorgeous) combination of black, steel, and red to evoke the flame-broiler in the kitchen. While the signature Whopper is still the centerpiece of the menu, the rest of the menu has also seen a bit of a revamp.
A brand new part of the BK menu is their Rib Sandwich. It's more than a little obvious what's going on here: They want to catch some of the fire of McDonald's cult classic McRib, and they're offering it six months after McRib season ends to woo anyone going through McRib withdrawal. It's a brilliant ploy, even if the sandwich's name is almost yawn-inducing.
On the surface, the two sandwiches are almost identical. According to McDonald's, the McRib is "slathered in tangy barbecue sauce, slivered onions and tart pickles all on a hoagie style bun"; BK proclaims their "new Boneless Rib Sandwich combines a juicy boneless rib patty with a sweet and tangy BBQ Sauce, and topped with crispy bread and butter pickles, all on a warm toasted artisan style bun." Onions on the McRib, and extra marketing fluff ("artisan style"? Ugh, that's worse than "authentic replica"!) for BK, got it.
If you're going to BK expecting a clone of the McRib, at first you'll be disappointed. But then you'll find that thanks to BK's flame broiling, the Rib Sandwich is definitely the superior product. The pork patty has some char that you can see and taste. The pickles are nice thick cuts, and they certainly don't skimp.
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I felt like they were a little stingy with the barbecue sauce, but it's hard to tell if I think more would actually improve the sandwich, or if I was secretly hoping it was going to be drowned in barbecue sauce like the McRib. It may be that too much sauce will get in the way of the pork's char. I'll bet some onions (yes, like the McRib, I know) would be a welcome addition. Something tells me they intentionally left them off to keep from getting sued by McDonald's. But, since Burger King is bringing back the slogan "Have It Your Way" after ditching the creepy King mascot, I'll say it's safe to go ahead and ask them to add the onions.
To further tempt me, BK has added a new side dish of sweet potato fries. Yeah, they're (probably literally) the same sweet potato fries served everywhere else, but they're still a welcome upgrade to the standard fries or onion rings. Overall, the new offerings are a definite turn for the better for Burger King. After trying the Rib Sandwich the first time, I keep trying to come up with a new excuse to swing by Burger King for another. While the McRib generally reminds me why McDonald's only serves McRibs for one month a year, I'll become a regular Burger King customer if they put the Rib Sandwich and sweet potato fries on their permanent menu.