Perhaps no other product in fast food history has been as simultaneously ridiculed and revered as the McDonalds McRib sandwich. Sure, it’s easy to poke fun at their preformed shape and strange texture, but every time they are taken off the menu, angry hordes of fans hound the company, demanding their return.

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.

The reviews were initially mixed – especially in the international community, such as places where pork products are frowned upon for religious reasons. Still, the McRib sold respectably, just not enough to keep it on the menu, or so McDonald’s thought.

In 1985, the company decided to discontinue the McRib due to low sales. Fans of the sandwich protested but the McRib was destined for the great, extinct fast-food graveyard, a place where foods went and never came back. But the McRib was different. It made a few appearances in the years that followed, a few weeks at a time, just to test the waters.

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. This time, the overwhelming response stunned corporate executives, who didn’t fathom how much heartfelt love still remained for the oft-maligned treat.

As a result, McDonald’s has continued to tease fans of the sandwich ever since, reintroducing the McRib for a limited time, then yanking it away again. Some suspect that the product appears only when pork prices are low so that the maximum profits are realized. Whether or not that’s true, one thing is for certain – the company has utilized their marketing prowess every step of 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 through this retro sandwich. 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.

One Response to “McRib”

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  1. Johnny C. says:

    I tried it the first time it came out and it was the most disgusting thing I ever tasted from McDonald’s (which, of course is REALLY saying something). I remember a rubbery feel and flavor and doubt I even finished it. That said, some of my friends, even one who is a foodie, likes the stuff. Different strokes…

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