The McRib has been a cult favorite since it made its debut in 1981. Despite its strong temptation, it didn't attract many customers and was removed from the menu in 1985 due to low sales. McDonald's tried to bring it back in 1989, but even then they doubted how long it would last. The McRib returned to all McDonald's locations, but as a limited-time menu item. The novelty surrounding the McRib is the driving force behind its appeal.
It could be the seasoned boneless pork burger wrapped in BBQ sauce, or it could be the nostalgia and great marketing that surrounds it. Every year, fans eagerly await the McRib season and place their orders shortly before it disappears. McRib is made with certain pork trimmings and there aren't always enough cuts of meat to supply an indefinite amount of sandwiches. This combination of cost control and marketing combines perfectly to make McRib a successful product.
However, people are only going to pay a limited amount for a McDonald's pork sandwich, so it's unlikely that the McRib will ever secure a permanent place on the menu. McDonald's tried to promote people for the McRib again in the early 1990s as part of a promotion for the Flintstones movie, but again, it was more than a cult favorite. The McRib has been on menus on and off for about 40 years and continues to be a fan favorite.