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Nutritional value per 1 sandwich, 7.4 ounces (210 grams)
Energy2,008.32 kJ (480.00 kcal)
45 g (15%)
Sugars12 g
Dietary fiber2 g (10%)
22 g (34%)
Saturated7 g (36%)
25 g
Vitamin A equiv.
21 μg
Vitamin C
1 mg
60 mg
4 mg
870 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Energy from fat240 kcal (1,000 kJ)
Cholesterol80 mg (27%)
IngredientsMcRib Pork Patty, Homestyle Roll,
Barbecue Sauce, Pickle Slices,
Slivered Onions

May vary outside US market.
^† No significant measurable trace.
Percentages estimated using US recommendations for adults,[1] except for potassium, which is estimated based on expert recommendation from the National Academies.[2]
Source: https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/product/mcrib.html

The McRib is a barbecue-flavored pork 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.[3]

After poor sales, it was removed from the menu in 1985. It was reintroduced in 1989, staying on the menu until 2005 in many countries. Since 2006,[4] 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 it is a permanent menu item at McDonald's restaurants in Germany[5][6] and Luxembourg.

Product description

The McRib consists of a restructured[7] boneless pork patty shaped like a miniature rack of ribs, barbecue sauce, onions, and pickles, served as a sandwich on a 5+12-inch (14 cm) roll. Meat restructuring was developed by the US Army to deliver low-cost meat to troops in the field.[8] The process was refined by a Natick Army Labs meat scientist, Dr. Roger Mandigo, leading to the McRib patty.[9][10] It is primarily composed of ground pork shoulder.[11]

Government doesn't patent their intellectual property, so anyone can use it. They (the Natick Center) presented material at technical meetings...The military allowed us to use the processes they'd developed.
− Roger Mandigo, Natick Center contractor and meat scientist[8]

In an attempt to give pork "the same stature as beef in the institutional market," the National Pork Producers Council funded Mandigo to show how to apply the new technique. Using his roadmap, McDonald's then developed "a patty of pork made from small flakes of meat taken from the shoulders of a pig"[8]

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.[12]



The McRib made its debut in the United States in 1981, as a limited-time item. It was first added to menus around Kansas City.[13] It was developed by McDonald's first Executive Chef René Arend, a native of Luxembourg who invented Chicken McNuggets in 1979.[11] "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.[11] A packet of McRib Hot Sauce was also available when the sandwich was first being sold. The sauce was a clear liquid in a semi-chrome packet the size of a standard ketchup packet.

The McRib 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,[citation needed] however, and it was removed in 1985 as McDonald's executives determined that pork is not eaten frequently enough in the United States to stay on the menu.

After several years, it returned for a promotion. It is more popular in Germany and Luxembourg, where it remains a permanent item.[5][6] 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

After that promotion, the McRib was also sold as part of various limited time regional offerings at selected restaurants in the US and Canada from 1995 until 2004.


On November 1, 2005, McDonald's issued a press release announcing that 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".[14] On October 16, 2006, the "McRib Farewell Tour II" site appeared.

The McRib reappeared in the United States in October 2007, beginning a third "farewell tour".[15] McDonald's sold 30 million made with over 7 million pounds (3 million kg) of pork in 2007.[11] Its fourth reintroduction was in the end of October 2008, across the United States, 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 United States as well as in Canada, were made throughout 2008 and 2009.[16][17][18]

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.[19] The promotion ended December 5, 2010.[20] McDonald's credited it with boosting their November 2010 sales by 4.8%.[21] It was the first national offering of the McRib since 1994.[22]

The McRib was offered in Canada from June 21 to August 1, 2011.[20] On October 24, 2011, McDonald's once again made the McRib available for three weeks in a promotion ending November 14.[23]

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 May 23 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.[24]

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.[25]

The McRib wasn't released nationally and was sold only in a few cities in a few states in the United States (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 United States (a la the 2006 "McRib Farewell Tour II" promotion).

The McRib made a return in the United Kingdom on December 31, 2014, until February 3, 2015. The McRib was sold again starting in October 2015 and ending in January 2016, but only in a few cities in a few states in the United States (55 percent of McDonald's locations). It became available again in November 2016, but at a limited number of McDonald's locations; and once more since October 2017, but in most areas. Local McDonald's Twitter accounts announced in Southern California and Hawaii that the McRib would be returning to these locations on November 2 and 9, 2017 respectively.[26] The McRib once again made a limited return in the United States and Australia at participating locations starting in October 2018.[27] The McRibs rolled out once again for a limited time beginning October 7, 2019.[28]

For 2020, McDonald's announced that the McRib would be made available nationwide in the United States for the first time since 2012, beginning on December 2. It was dubbed as "the most important sandwich of the year."[29] It also returned for a limited run, along with the "El Maco Burger", in Australia.[30][better source needed]

On September 30, 2021, McDonald's announced on Twitter that the McRib was returning on November 1 for a limited time. The previous day on September 29, the company tweeted that there was important news coming.[31] The McRib was available at some locations before November 1.[32]

On October 23, 2022, McDonald's announced that the McRib would return on October 31, 2022, for what is being called "The McRib Farewell Tour", the fourth such after the 2005 and the 2007 ones. The McRib was available until November 20.[33][34] Despite the farewell tour promotion, in September 2023, McDonald's announced that the McRib would return in November 2023.[35]

On January 30, 2024, McDonald's McRib sandwiches returned to Canadian locations for the first time since February 2014.[36]

HSUS lawsuit

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.[37] The complaint cites the use of gestation crates and poor and unsanitary living conditions, as well as a lack of proper animal welfare.

McDonald's responded by requiring its U.S. pork suppliers to eliminate the use of gestation crates.[38]

Limited availability

Speculation on the limited availability of the McRib includes theories concerning the fluctuating price and unreliable supply chains of bulk pork, manipulation of availability windows to turn the product into a better loss leader for the company, and the generation of renewed enthusiasm and higher sales as a result of scarcity.[39]

An informal study from 2011 entitled "A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage" illustrates a correlation between the price of pork and the timing of McDonald's offering the sandwich; all five of the US McRib offerings between 2005 and 2011 occurred during low points in the price of bulk pork.[40]

According to McDonald's, the sandwich's limited availability is due to their desire to provide a varied menu throughout the year.[41]

In popular culture

The sandwich, as well as the cultural phenomenon of "chasing the McRib", were the subject of a subplot in The Simpsons episode "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can", in which it is parodied as the "Ribwich" and gains a cult following.[42] The sandwich has also been featured in the animated sitcom Family Guy, where Peter Griffin celebrates with his family that the McRib has returned.[43]

See also


  1. ^ United States Food and Drug Administration (2024). "Daily Value on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels". Retrieved March 28, 2024.
  2. ^ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Food and Nutrition Board; Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium (2019). Oria, Maria; Harrison, Meghan; Stallings, Virginia A. (eds.). Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US). ISBN 978-0-309-48834-1. PMID 30844154.
  3. ^ Crazo, Adrienne (November 1, 2011). "The Quick 10: 10 McRib Facts".
  4. ^ Tyko, Kelly (October 3, 2019). "McDonald's McRib is back for a limited time. How to find it". USA TODAY. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "The McRib in Germany". October 8, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "McRib product information at mcdonalds.de". Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  7. ^ Moser, Whet (October 25, 2011). "The Invention of the McRib and Why It Disappears from McDonald's". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c Marx de Salcedo, Anastacia (November 24, 2017). "How US Army Technology Gave Rise to the McRib". Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  9. ^ Moser, Whet (October 25, 2011). "The Invention of the McRib and Why It Disappears from McDonald's". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  10. ^ Lowe, Peggy (November 4, 2011). "From Nebraska Lab To McDonald's Tray: The McRib's Strange Journey". NPR. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d "The Cult of the McRib". MAXIM. February 3, 2009. Archived from the original on November 17, 2010. Retrieved October 25, 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
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Valinsky, Jordan (October 25, 2022). "McDonald's McRib is returning to menus — but it's a farewell tour | CNN Business". CNN. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  14. ^ "Boneless Pig Farmers Association of America". Archived from the original on December 30, 2005.
  15. ^ Fox, Justin (October 25, 2007). "The McRib is back Review". Time Magazine. Retrieved November 11, 2007.
  16. ^ "McRib is coming back!". Los Angeles Burger Blog. November 16, 2009. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  17. ^ Selley, Chris (April 9, 2008). "Unravelling the mystery of the McRib". Maclean's. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
  18. ^ "Twitter.com". October 11, 2010. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  19. ^ "Legends of McRib Launch Event - NYC, November 2, 2010". Archived from the original on June 29, 2012. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  20. ^ a b "The Return of the McRib". The Wall Street Journal. November 6, 2010.
  21. ^ "McRib boosts McDonald's November sales". NBC News. December 8, 2010. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  22. ^ Cato, Jason (November 4, 2010). "McRib rollout finds fast foodies feverish for the flavor". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on November 11, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  23. ^ Rexrode, Christina (October 24, 2011). "The McRib makes a McComeback". USA Today, Associated Press. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  24. ^ "McDonald's Putting Olympics on Menu". Burger Business. May 8, 2012.
  25. ^ Morrison, Maureen (September 17, 2012). Can the McRib save Christmas?. Advertising Age. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  26. ^ "McDonald's is bringing back the McRib". Business Insider. October 31, 2017.
  27. ^ Taylor, Kate (October 25, 2018). "McDonald's is bringing back the McRib at thousands of locations". Business Insider. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  28. ^ Tyko, Kelly. "McDonald's McRib is back for a limited time. How to find it". USA TODAY. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  29. ^ "The Wait is Over — McDonald's® Takes McRib Season Nationwide in 2020". McDonald’s. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  30. ^ "McDonald's Is Bringing The McRib And The El Maco Back To Australia". www.ladbible.com. December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  31. ^ "The McRib is back. Here's when you can get one". TODAY.com. September 30, 2021. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  32. ^ Tyko, Kelly. "McDonald's McRib returns Monday, but you might be able to get the barbecue sandwich early". USA TODAY. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  33. ^ Addy Bink, Michael Bartiromo (October 23, 2022). "The McRib is back, but possibly for the last time, McDonald's hints". The Hill. Retrieved October 25, 2022.
  34. ^ "The McRib is back (again) for what McDonald's is calling its 'Farewell Tour'". TODAY.com. October 24, 2022. Retrieved October 25, 2022.
  35. ^ "McDonald's McRib had a 'Farewell Tour' last year. Is it returning?". TODAY.com. September 29, 2023. Retrieved October 1, 2023.
  36. ^ Butterfield, Michelle. "McDonald's McRib is coming back to Canada after a 10-year hiatus". Global News. Retrieved January 30, 2024.
  37. ^ Satran, Joe (November 4, 2011). "McRib Lawsuit Pits Humane Society Against Smithfield Farms, McDonald's Over Animal Welfare". The Huffington Post.
  38. ^ Spector, Dina. "McDonald's Requires Pork Suppliers To Get Rid Of 2-By-7-Foot Metal Pig Crates". Business Insider. Retrieved November 26, 2022.
  39. ^ "The McRib's suspiciously 'limited' availability: 4 theories". The Week. November 11, 2011. Archived from the original on November 12, 2011.
  40. ^ Staley, Willy (November 8, 2011). "A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage". The Awl.
  41. ^ Why isn't the McRib sold year-round?. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  42. ^ Plocek, Keith (November 11, 2011). "Top 10 Simpsons Food Episodes: Tomacco Ribwich with a Side of Guatemalan Insanity Peppers + Skittlebrau". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on November 13, 2011. Retrieved January 28, 2022.
  43. ^ Johns, Hodey (January 6, 2022). "Family Guy: The Show's Most Heartwarming Moments". GameRant. Retrieved December 27, 2023.

External links

  • McRib menu item at McDonald's
  • McRib menu item at McDonald's Germany, with in-depth product description
  • McRib Locator by Alan Klein