Smoked Rib Sandwich (McRib Copycat)

2 reviews

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This Smoked Rib Sandwich is just like the kind at the drive-thru – only better! If you’re wanting to make your own McRib at home, this recipe makes the perfect sandwich for lunch, dinner, and everything in between.

Smoke rib sandwich on a wooden serving board with text overlay - Smoked Rib Sandwich.

McRib Copycat Rib Sandwich

There is quite a divide in regard to the McRib. Some people love the nostalgia of the classic McRib. Add in the element of surprise with the McRib only coming around occasionally, and many folks are stoked to grab one when they return to McDonald’s.

In the other camp are those folks like my husband, Todd, who are fiercely against the McRib. Whatever camp you fall into, I can guarantee that this sandwich is going to be a BBQ win.

It’s not going to replace the McRib by any means, but it’ll give you a delicious smoked rib sandwich that is perfect for dinner, tailgating, and summer BBQs. So even though this rib sandwich isn’t as convenient as a drive-thru, believe me when I say it is 100% worth your time.

Metal tongs pulling a rib bone out of a whole rack of ribs.

Smoked Rib Sandwich

This sandwich is made by cooking ribs until they completely pull apart from the bone, and assembling them in a sandwich. Easy enough, right? Now, I acknowledge that many folks will call ribs that pull away from the bone this easily “overcooked,” and if you’re into competition BBQ this is indeed the case.

But for a tasty, homemade sandwich that you’re enjoying with your family, fall-off-the-bone is the total goal. And the long braise in butter, brown sugar, and apple juice, you don’t have to worry about these ribs drying out.

Rack of smoked pork ribs, two sandwich buns, sliced white onion, and sliced dill pickles on a wooden cutting board.

Ingredients for Smoked Rib Sandwich

When creating this recipe I used the classic toppings found in the McRib and punched things up to Hey Grill Hey BBQ quality. Here’s everything that goes into a McRib that you’ll need to have on hand for our copycat.

  • Ribs. It wouldn’t be a rib sandwich without the ribs! The ribs for this sandwich follow my 3-2-1 Rib Method with a modified braise method. The final hour was extended to 2-2.5 hours in the braise to ensure the meat will slide right off the bone for a perfectly tender bite of ribs in your sandwich.
  • Sandwich bun. Stick with a nice soft white sandwich bun for this recipe. Make sure it’s long enough to hold a whole quarter of a rack of ribs for the perfect portion.
  • Sliced dill pickles. Snag a jar of your favorite sandwich dill pickles and load up your sandwich with as many or as few of these as you please. 
  • Sliced sweet onions. Many folks believe that it’s the combo of the pickles, onions, and sauce that make the McRib so tasty. A nice helping of sliced sweet onions on this sandwich truly helps to round it out.
  • BBQ Sauce. Finish your tasty rib sandwich with a nice drizzle of your favorite BBQ sauce. A classic ketchup-based BBQ sauce is what we’re going for to get the most authentic McRib experience. I used my Everything Sauce for this recipe (available for purchase from Patio Provisions!), but my recipe for Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce would also taste great.

Assemble all these ingredients together and voila! You’ve got yourself a tasty smoked rib sandwich!

Everything BBQ Sauce being drizzled on a smoked rib sandwich.

More Smoked Rib Recipes

Looking for more delicious and delectable smoked pork rib recipes? Check out a few favorites from Hey Grill Hey below:

Smoked rib sandwich topped with BBQ sauce and sliced onions and pickles on a wooden cutting board.

Homemade McRib Recipe /Smoked Rib Sandwich Recipe

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Smoked Rib Sandwich (McRib Copycat)

By: Susie Bulloch (
5 from 2 votes
This Smoked Rib Sandwich is just like the kind at the drive thru - only better! If you're wanting to make your own McRib at home, this recipe makes the perfect sandwich for lunch, dinner, and everything in between.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 hours 30 minutes
Resting Time15 minutes
Total Time6 hours
Servings8 people



Rib Braise

  • 1 cup apple juice
  • ½ cup salted butter cut into pads
  • ½ cup brown sugar


  • Preheat and season. Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F with your favorite hardwood. Remove the membrane from the bone side of the ribs. Season the ribs on all sides with the Hey Grill Hey Rib Rub (or Sweet Rub).
  • Smoke the ribs. Place the ribs on the smoker, bone side down, close the lid, and smoke for 3 hours.
  • Braise the ribs. Tear off two large sheets of aluminum foil. Place one rack of ribs in the center of each of the sheets of foil, meat side down. Sprinkle each rack of ribs with 1/4 cup of brown sugar and top with 1/4 cup of the butter. Fold up the edges of the foil and slowly pour in 1/2 cup of apple juice. Seal up each foil pack tightly and carefully return to the smoker.
  • Finish smoking. Smoke the ribs in the foil, meat side down, for 2.5 hours. Carefully open the foil to check for doneness. The meat should have pulled back from the bones about 1/2 inch and when pulled on, the bones should start to loosen from the meat. Carefully remove the ribs (still in the foil pouch) from the smoker onto a large cutting board. Allow the ribs to rest in the foil for 10-15 minutes while you assemble your sandwich buns and toppings.
  • Cut the ribs. Open the top of the foil packets and begin removing the rib bones from the meat. They should easily pull out with tongs or your fingers. Make sure to remove any additional small bone fragments. Carefully transfer the ribs from the foil pouch to a cutting board, meat side up. Cut the ribs into quarters, one long cut lengthwise and one widthwise, to make the portions the correct size for your buns.
  • Assemble the smoked rib sandwich. Place a smoked rib portion onto the bottom sandwich bun. Top with sliced onions, dill pickle slices, and as much BBQ sauce as you'd like (the messier, the better). Finish with the top sandwich bun, then eat and enjoy!


Rib Rub
Sweet Rub
Everything BBQ Sauce


Calories: 487kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 590mg | Potassium: 428mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 64IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

4 Reviews

  1. Kevin Y says:

    Are smoking for 7. 5 hrs. You mention to wrap with butter, bs and apple juice for two hours. What hats for the 1 part?

  2. Kevin says:

    Gonna laminate this recipe my god it was amazing!

  3. Susan Dubose says:

    WOW! It is really a keeper. So yummy. Thank you for sharing