Chef John's Copycat McRib® Sandwich


I tip my cap to a certain fast food franchise for coming up with the idea for a boneless baby back rib sandwich, the only downside being that they use about 60 mystery ingredients-- ribs not necessarily being one of them. That's why you should try this easy homemade version with real ribs; simply bake, chill, cut, sauce, finish on the grill, and voila! One of the best sandwiches I've ever had.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
2 hrs 50 mins
Additional Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
11 hrs
4 large sandwiches


For the Dry Rub:

  • cup kosher salt

  • ¼ cup brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Sandwiches:

  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs

  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, divided

  • 4 sesame hamburger rolls, split and toasted

  • 1 cup coleslaw


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

  2. Mix salt, brown sugar, chili powder, pepper, cumin, and cayenne together for the rub.

  3. Place ribs on a foil-lined baking sheet. Season both sides generously with some of the rub. Reserve remaining rub for another use. Cover top with parchment paper and wrap foil over the edges. Cover the whole baking sheet with another large sheet of foil, sealing in the sides.

  4. Bake in the preheated oven until tender, about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

  5. Unwrap ribs and let cool briefly until safe to handle. Pull out the bones, stuffing any loose pieces of meat back into the holes and checking carefully for bone fragments. Wrap ribs back up and refrigerate until cold, 8 hours to overnight.

  6. Cut each rack in half. Brush both sides generously with barbecue sauce.

  7. Preheat a charcoal grill for high heat and lightly oil the grate.

  8. Grill ribs until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from grill and brush with more barbecue sauce.

  9. Drizzle more barbecue sauce onto each roll. Sandwich each rib section between a roll and top with coleslaw.

    close up view of a McRib Sandwich with slaw on a white plate
    Chef John

Chef's Notes:

Make sure you don't get the larger St. Louis-style ribs. Feel free to season them with any dry rub of your choice.

For the slaw, I used my sweet-hot mustard coleslaw.

Editor's Note:

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of dry rub. The actual amount consumed will vary.

For the rolls, I used my sesame seed hamburger bun recipe, making 6 rectangles instead of 8 round buns.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

963 Calories
52g Fat
81g Carbs
45g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 963
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 52g 66%
Saturated Fat 18g 91%
Cholesterol 180mg 60%
Sodium 8820mg 383%
Total Carbohydrate 81g 29%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 33g
Protein 45g
Vitamin C 21mg 105%
Calcium 228mg 18%
Iron 7mg 36%
Potassium 860mg 18%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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