The McRib, the elusive sandwich that has inspired a cultlike following, is back.
McDonald's Corp. announced Monday that the boneless barbecue pork sandwich, usually available in only a few stores at a time, will be sold at all U.S. locations through Nov. 14.
Most of the time, it's 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 that it decided to bring it back this year. The company, which previously hadn't sold the McRib nationally since 1994, 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." Last year, the guy who won McDonald's $1 million Monopoly grand prize was ordering -- you guessed it -- a McRib. Earlier this month, former Playmate Jenny McCarthy contacted the McRib Locator website for help finding a McRib in Southern California: She got one in Fountain Valley.
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.