The McRib, the elusive sandwich that has inspired a cult-like following, is back.
McDonald's Corp. plans to announce Monday that the boneless barbecue pork sandwich that is not always available in stores will be sold at all U.S. locations through Nov. 14.
It's usually up to local franchises to determine when and if they want to sell the McRib, except in Germany, the only place where it's available perennially. But McDonald's said the response was so great last November when it made the McRib available nationally for about three weeks — the first time it had done so since 1994 — that it decided to bring it back this year. The company declined to give specific sales numbers.
The sandwich, which is dressed with onions, pickle slices and barbecue sauce, was introduced nationally in 1982. With 500 calories and 26 grams of fat, it's slightly trimmer than the Big Mac, which has 540 calories and 29 grams of fat. And just like the Big Mac, the McRib has become a popular McDonald's offering.
There are Facebook groups like "Bring Back the McRib!!!" There are Twitter tags, where posts range from "Lucky me, the McRib is back" to "If you eat McRibs, you need to re-evaluate what it is you actually want in life." There's even the McRib Locator, a website where true believers can report McRib sightings, and even truer believers can take a road trip when one shows up within driving distance.
If the McRib is so popular, why not just offer it all the time? McDonald's likes to stoke the enthusiasm with an aura of transience.
"Bringing it back every so often adds to the excitement," said Marta Fearon, McDonald's U.S. marketing director, who added that she's not sure if the McRib will reappear in stores every fall.
And how can it be called a McRib if it doesn't have any bones? Said Fearon: "That gives it this quirky sense of humor."