The McRib has been a staple on McDonald's menus for the past 40 years, and it's easy to see why. This savory sandwich features a seasoned boneless pork patty, wrapped in BBQ sauce and topped with shredded onions and dill pickles, all served on a homemade bun. It's no wonder that the McRib has become an iconic menu item with a cult following. The McRib was first released regionally in Kansas City, Kansas in 1981, before making its national debut the following year.
It quickly became a customer favorite due to its unique flavor and texture. The combination of the seasoned boneless pork patty, BBQ sauce, onions, and pickles on a sandwich-style bun is truly one-of-a-kind. McDonald's only keeps the McRib on the menu for a short time each year as a way to control costs and encourage customers to come back for it. The rise of social media has also solidified the McRib's status as an iconic menu item with devoted followers.
Every November for the past few years, news headlines have announced the return of the McRib to select locations across the country. The McRib has had many moments of fame over the decades, such as being linked to the release of The Flintstones in 1994 and being parodied by The Simpsons in 2003. It has even become part of the global lexicon with the phrase “McRib Season” being used to describe its annual return. If the McRib were always on the menu, it wouldn't have the same appeal and excitement every time you went to try it. McDonald's gave people a rather cryptic answer when asked why it only returns for a limited time each year, saying that it returns “based on consumer demand” or when it wants to.
It's likely that the price of those odd cuts of pork shoulder plays an important role in determining when and how long the McRib stays on the menu.