I know thast there are some of you out there who had themselves a tiny little heart attack when they saw that headline. I know there are some of you who drooled just a bit on your keyboards. Most of you probably couldn't care less. But some of you? Yeah, you care way more than anyone should about a simple sandwich.
The McRib is a strange thing. It is, on the one hand, just a sandwich: a formed patty of ground pork, pressed into the shape of a small rib cage (like a squirrel's maybe, certainly not a pig), slathered in barbecue sauce and served on a bun with pickles and onions. It weighs just over 7 ounces and is around 6 inches long.On the other hand, the McRib is a ghost. A magical sandwich that has died a dozen times over and been brought back to life. It is a culinary phoenix and, in part, a glimpse into the wise machine that is the McDonald's marketing arm. See, the McRib comes and goes. It arrives on menus for the most part unannounced, is available for a short time, then vanishes again. It is never available everywhere, all the time (or hasn't been since 1994, anyway, when it was used as a promotional tie-in for the live-action Flintstones movie), and when it was a regular fixture on the McDonald's menu, was a fairly spectacular failure. But McDonald's decided to make a myth of the McRib. It announced that it would be removing it from menus forever in 2005, following a "McRib Farewell Tour" and then, at the same time, started its own website with a petition to "Bring Back the McRib"--which it did in 2006, for a second farewell tour. And then again in 2007. And in 2008. And in 2009. These were all regional appearances, limited in time and in space. There is a website dedicated to tracking McRib sightings and the restaurants where they are located. It has to be updated frequently because the McRib never remains anywhere for too long. Right now, there are confirmed McRib sighting in Billings, Montana, in Sunrise Manor, Nevada and Richmond, Indiana and two in Arizona--one in Phoenix, one near Apache Junction.
But soon, and for the first time in 16 years, all of this will be moot.
Because, according to the Chicago Tribune business section, McDonald's has once again decided to bring the McRib back. Only this time, it will be on the menu at all 14,000 locations across the U.S.
Beginning on November 2, the mysterious sandwich of mystery will be available to any and all who crave it for about six weeks, at which point it will disappear again. For some people, this is huge news--the first time in almost two decades that they'll be able to score a McRib without making a day trip out of it, going to Brockton or Stamford or Erie or Anchor Bay just for a taste. For others, it is just another meaningless stunt--a way for Mickey D's to jump a tenth of a point in sales, make an extra few million dollars.
As for me, I've never had a McRib. I honestly do not understand what all the fuss is about. But I have to admit to being curious--to knowing buzz when I see it, manufactured or not. And November 2 might just mark the first time I have set foot in a McDonald's in almost ten years. I mean, what's the worst that can happen...?