|Nutritional value per 1 sandwich, 7.4 ounces (210 grams)|
|Energy||500 kcal (2,100 kJ)|
44 g (15%)
|Dietary fiber||3 g (10%)|
26 g (40%)
|Saturated||10 g (48%)|
|Vitamin A equiv.||
|Energy from fat||240 kcal (1,000 kJ)|
|Cholesterol||70 mg (23%)|
|Ingredients||Pork patty, bun, sauce, pickle slices, slivered onions|
May vary outside US market.
^† No significant measurable trace.
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
The McRib was a barbecue-flavored pork product sandwich periodically sold by the international fast-food restaurant chain McDonald's. It was first introduced to the McDonald's menu in 1981, following test marketing the year before.
After poor sales, it was removed from the menu in 1985. McRib was reintroduced in 1989, staying on the menu until 2005 in many countries. Since 2006, it has generally been made available for a short time each year in most markets where it is sold, typically during the fall season, although is a permanent menu item at McDonald's restaurants in Germany.
McRib consists of a restructured boneless pork patty shaped like a rib, barbecue sauce, onions, and pickles served on a 5 1⁄2 inches (14 cm) roll. Despite its name, it is primarily composed of pork shoulder meat, according to McDonald's.
The McRib Jr. was available briefly in 2000. This version replaced the roll with a standard hamburger bun, and was served with two pickles and a smaller pork patty.
1985 - 1990s
"The McNuggets were so well received that every franchise wanted them," said Arend in a 2009 interview. "There wasn’t a system to supply enough chicken. We had to come up with something to give the other franchises as a new product. So the McRib came about because of the shortage of chickens." It was his inspiration to shape the McRib patty "like a slab of ribs," despite the fact that a round patty would have been cheaper to manufacture and serve on standard hamburger buns.
Despite the McRib's status in modern fast food culture, it was not immediately successful. It test-marketed very well in the Midwest, and was added to the restaurant's permanent menu for the United States in 1981. Sales were mediocre, however, and it was removed in 1985 as McDonald's executives determined that pork is not eaten frequently enough in the U.S. to stay on the menu. After several years, it returned for a promotion. It is more popular in Germany, where it remains a permanent item. The McRib was also brought back occasionally in 1989, 1990 (together with the "BBQ in a Bag" promotion), 1991, 1992 (with the Western Omelette McMuffin as part of a Western promotion), and 1993.
In summer 1994, McDonald's brought back the McRib nationally, as a tie-in with the theatrical release of The Flintstones, comparing the appearance of it with the rack of ribs that topples the Flintmobile in both the animated and live action productions. McDonald's (which was featured in the film as "RocDonald's") supported the return with McRib packaging featuring the Flintstones characters and a television commercial featuring Rosie O'Donnell in her role as Betty Rubble.
2005 - present
On November 1, 2005, McDonald's issued a press release: the McRib would be permanently removed from the menu following a "McRib Farewell Tour". McRib.com, a website registered to McDonald's, featured a petition to "Save the McRib", which was facetiously sponsored by the "Boneless Pig Farmers Association of America". On October 16, 2006, the "McRib Farewell Tour II" site appeared, confirming the first campaign to be a marketing ploy in the spirit of successive "farewell tours" launched by aging rock music stars.
The McRib reappeared in the U.S. in October 2007, beginning a third "farewell tour". McDonald's sold 30 million made with over 7 million pounds of pork in 2007. Its fourth reintroduction was in late October 2008, across the U.S., Hong Kong, and Japan, with a promotional website featuring music sponsored by a "McRib DJ Plowman" in tribute to its creator. Additional limited-time regional offerings, in various regions of the U.S. as well as in Canada, were made throughout 2008 and 2009.
On November 2, 2010, McDonald's began six weeks of nationwide McRib availability at the Legends of the McRib event in New York City, honoring three superfans: Joey Erwin, aka Mr. McRib; Alan Klein, founder of the McRib Locator website; and Adam Winer. The promotion ended December 5, 2010. McDonalds credited it with boosting their November 2010 sales by 4.8%. It was the first national offering of the McRib since 1994.
In celebration of the London Olympics 2012, McDonald's Australia and New Zealand reintroduced the McRib as the Atlanta Pork McRib. The McRib was one of six limited edition McDonald's items named after previous host cities. It was released on Wednesday 23 May and ran until June 5. Sales of the McRib in New Zealand exceeded expectations, exhausting supplies within days of the release of the burger with restaurants running out of their allocations of stock.
For 2012, McDonald's announced that the McRib's annual release would be delayed until the December 17, as opposed to its traditional autumn release (which would instead be used to debut the Cheddar Bacon Onion Angus Burger, or "CBO"). The move was an effort to boost sales during the December period in an attempt to match 2011's abnormally high restaurant-wide sales figures. The McRib wasn't released nationally and was sold only in a few cities in a few states in the USA (a la the 2005 "McRib Farewell Tour" promotion) in 2013 due to the company introducing several new products (such as the Mighty Wings).
The McRib was sold again starting on October 20, 2014 and ending on January 4, 2015, but only in a few cities in a few states in the USA (a la the 2006 "McRib Farewell Tour II" promotion).
The McRib made a return in the UK on December 31, 2014 until February 3, 2015. The McRib was sold again starting on October 2015 and ending in January 2016, but only in a few cities in a few states in the USA (55 present of McDonalds locations).
It became available again in November 2016, but at a limited number of McDonald's locations.
In November 2011, the Humane Society of the United States filed a complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission against the producer of McRib meat, Smithfield Foods, alleging cruel and unusual treatment of the animals used in the McRib patty production. The complaint cites the use of gestation crates and poor and unsanitary living conditions, as well as a lack of proper animal welfare.
Apart from weak sales, other theories for the limited availability of the McRib include the higher prices and unreliable supply of pork, the limited-time allure making it a better loss leader for McDonald's, and the scarcity adding to the hype of the sandwich. An informal 2011 study entitled "A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage" draws a correlation between the price of pork and the timing of McDonald's offering the sandwich, as all five of the US McRib offerings between 2005 and 2011 have occurred during low points in the price of bulk pork.
The official explanation from the McDonald's website concerning the sandwich's limited availability is: "We like to change up our menu throughout the year by offering some limited time only items, like our Shamrock Shake in the Spring. The timing of the McRib's return can vary from year to year, but most recently, it's made its appearance in the Fall."
In popular culture
- One urban legend claims that the sandwich is made out of kangaroo meat.
- The "Ribwich", a McRib parody, is a limited-time menu item sold at Krusty Burger in The Simpsons episode "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can".
- On Chappelle's Show, during the "WacArnold's" sketch, Calvin (played by Dave Chappelle) announces that the Rib Sandwich is "coming back on Tuesday, and guess who's not getting one?!" It is a direct reference to the McRib.
- In King of Queens, there is a photograph shown where Doug Heffernan is happy about the return of the McRib. In another, Doug reveals that he keeps an active United States passport available for when the sandwich is available in Canadian cities.
- In The Hangover Part III, on hearing correspondence from prison letters written by Chow and Alan, one letter starts, "OMG - The McRib is back! Why was it ever gone?"
- In The Big Bang Theory episode "The Thespian Catalyst", Penny tells Sheldon Cooper that Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is an American classic. Sheldon replies with "so is the McRib sandwich, but I don't care for those either".
- In an episode of Roseanne, Dan tries to convince Roseanne that David is not still in love with Darlene. Roseanne sarcastically replies, "Yeah right - you've got that look on your face you get every year when the McRib comes back".
- In the episode "Still Single" of the show Still Standing, Bill comes downstairs visibly upset about something, and his wife Judy consoles him by telling him "Don't worry, the McRib will come back- it always does".
- On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver compares the death penalty to the McRib: 'tantalizing' when unavailable, but 'ethically wrong' when brought back.
- In the Fourth Official Expansion of the dark comedy card game Cards Against Humanity, one of the responsive white cards is 'whatever a McRib is made of', referencing the urban myths about it being made from kangaroo meat.
- In a "Brickleberry" episode "Old Wounds", a product called the MaCrib is shown and is described as being very difficult to obtain out of season.
- Crazo, Adrienne (November 1, 2011). "The Quick 10: 10 McRib Facts".
- "The McRib in Germany". Retrieved 25 November 2013.
- "McRib product information at mcdonalds.de". Retrieved 12 March 2014.
- Whet Moser (2011-10-25). "The Invention of the McRib and Why It Disappears from McDonalds". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
- "The Cult of the McRib". MAXIM. 3 February 2009. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
'The pork meat is chopped up, then seasoned, then formed into that shape that looks like a rib back. Then we flash-freeze it. The whole process from fresh pork to frozen McRib takes about 45 minutes.'--Rob Cannell, director of McDonald’s U.S. supply chain
- Ryan, Andrew (November 14, 2013). "Alleged Canadian photo of frozen McDonald’s McRib not the most appetizing thing in the world ". The Globe and Mail.
- "Boneless Pig Farmers Association of America". Archived from the original on 2005-12-30.
- Justin Fox (2007-10-25). "The McRib is back Review". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2007-11-11.
- "McRib is coming back!". Los Angeles Burger Blog. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- Chris Selley (2008-04-09). "Unravelling the mystery of the McRib". Maclean's. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
- "Twitter.com". 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2010-10-15.
- "Legends of McRib Launch Event - NYC, November 2, 2010". Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- "The Return of the McRib". The Wall Street Journal. 2010-11-06.
- "McRib boosts McDonald's November sales". Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- Cato, Jason (November 4, 2010). "McRib rollout finds fast foodies feverish for the flavor". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
- Rexrode, Christina (24 October 2011). "The McRib makes a McComeback". USA Today, Associated Press. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- "McDonald's Putting Olympics on Menu". Burger Business. May 8, 2012.
- Morrison, Maureen (September 17, 2012). Can the McRib save Christmas?. Advertising Age. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
- Satran, Joe (2011-11-04). "McRib Lawsuit Pits Humane Society Against Smithfield Farms, McDonald's Over Animal Welfare". The Huffington Post.
- "The McRib's suspiciously 'limited' availability: 4 theories". The Week. November 11, 2011. Archived from the original on November 12, 2011.
- Staley, Willy (2011-11-08). "A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage". The Awl.
- Why isn't the McRib sold year-round?. Retrieved November 06, 2014.
- "From the Green Room: The Return of the McRib". Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- Bedell, Malcolm (December 7, 2010). "McDonald's McRib Sandwich".
- "Chappelle Show: WacArnolds". Funny or Die.
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