McRib Secrets: What You Don’t Know About McDonalds’ Most Elusive Menu Item

The McDonald’s McRib sandwich is a snowballing food cult growing in popularity each year, and, as we reported earlier, the foodstuff’s ever-increasing fanbase had to wait a bit longer this year for the first McRibs to hit American mouths as the item becomes more firmly tied to the Christmas season. (Below, Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco addresses the McRib’s late appearance in 2012.)

The McRib sandwich has been a strangely compelling item for McDonald’s customers since its 1982 debut. Partially due to its mystique, the McRib sandwich has amassed a devoted followers that have, in the internet age, banded together to track the sandwich’s availability and even created a McRib locator.

Scarcity is a strong part of the McRib’s marketing plan, but the sandwich is also no longer a when-it-appears mystery. The holiday season has, in recent years, also become McRib season — and the menu item appears for a few weeks at Christmas alongside the also-elusive Eggnog Shake.

(McDonald’s also offers 101 reasons to try the McRib if you’ve never sampled the famous sandwich.)

But McRib sandwich fans also seem genuinely compelled by the treat regardless of its availability or lack thereof, and Business Insider recently posted a few McRib sandwich factoids of its own. (Though some not as laudatory as those offered up by McDonald’s itself.)

mcrib sandwich availability

According to the site, the McRib sandwich was born in the early 80s of a chicken shortage before disappearing in the mid-90s and returning as the limited time only cult item it has now become.

Day 5 of 30 Days of McRib. I’m beginning to look like an extra on the set of The Island of Doctor Moreau.

— wRitetrash (@wRitetrash) December 18, 2012

BI also explains that while the Christmas McRib is a nationwide tradition — and this is big — any McDonald’s can actually offer a McRib sandwich at any time of the year, as franchisees always have the option of ordering the ingredients to create it. The sporadic appearance of McRibs in a seemingly random fashion is what prompted fans to create the aforementioned McRib locator.

Below, Team Coco’s hilarious thoughts on the McRib Sandwich shortage of 2012. Are you a McRib seeker or sometimes-eater when it pops up?