The Videos: Stephen Colbert Loves Him Some McRib, Celebrates its Phoenix-Like Return

Rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated

A couple weeks ago, we discussed the (with no small amount of guilty delight) the Second Coming of the McRib sandwich at McDonald's.

Or actually, I guess it was the Third Coming. Or possibly the Fifth. See, if there's one thing about the McRib that no one can take away from it, it's that the thing is pretty much unkillable. Having been removed from the McDonald's menu long ago, it keeps being brought back in the form of clever marketing ploys--making it seem special by way of making it rare and having it come and go like some kind of culinary Brigadoon. A mechanically-separated and machine-formed pork Brigadoon.

Following the jump, an ode to the mysteries of the McRib and three minutes of Stephen Colbert discussing the Right-Wing political implications of its suspiciously-timed return.

"The McRib is a strange thing," I wrote back on October 11. "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."

And the date of that return to stores? November 2--Election Day all across the U.S. of A. Which, needless to say, makes Mr. Colbert a bit suspicious.

So what is the McRib? Delicious mystery sandwich? Liberal plot to suppress Republican voter turnout? I'll let you decide...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The McRib Is Back
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