Perhaps no other product in fast food history has been as simultaneously ridiculed and revered as the infamous McDonald’s McRib sandwich. But while this decidedly unique barbeque-sauce-laden treat has certainly been the brunt of many a comedian’s routine, the limited availability of the product brings out hordes of fans each and every time it is reintroduced. Let’s look back and see what all the fuss is about.
The McRib is basically a boneless pork patty, served on a 6′ bun and dressed with pickles, onions, and a generous portion of BBQ sauce. First introduced in 1981, the McRib was very different from any entree item McDonald’s had ever offered, and the reviews were mixed – especially in the international community, such as the regions where pork products are frowned upon for religious reasons. The company pulled the sandwich from its roster in 1985, leaving faithful fans of the McRib both confused and distraught. And, considering the short lifespan of many fast food offerings, few held out hope that their beloved McRib would ever grace the menu again.
When the 1994 film, The Flintstones, was released, the company decided to use the sandwich as a clever tie-in, harkening back to Fred’s love of car-tipping ribs in the opening sequence of the 60s cartoon. The response stunned executives, who hadn’t quite fathomed how much heartfelt love still remained for the oft-maligned treat.
As a result, McDonald’s has periodically teased the sandwich’s fans over the years, reintroducing the sandwich for a limited time, then yanking it back. The company has utilized their marketing prowess along the way, creating such campaigns as “The McRib Farewell Tour” and “Save the McRib” to entice and tease those who have grown so attached over the years.
And, each time, it works like a charm, with carnivores coming out of the woodwork to relive the glory of yesteryear. And it is probably safe to say now that the McRib will never truly go away, bur rather, be used like a carrot and a stick to lure the sizable population of pork predators out of hiding every couple of years.
If you are one of the many loyal fans of the McRib, a pork predator who bides their time until its eventual resurgence, we welcome all your thoughts in our comments section, as we remember a sandwich that lives in infamy.