Fast food giant McDonald's is bringing back a sandwich, the McRib, that gained cult acclaim over the last three decades, in a move lauded by fans known to travel great distances in the hunt for the coveted treat.
The boneless pork chop between a bun and slathered with tangy BBQ sauce, topped with onions and pickles, was first launched in 1981, and with rare exceptions has only been offered for sale in select McDonald's for a few weeks at a time. From Tuesday, it will be available nationwide, and for an entire month.
Among the sandwich's cult base there are some 300 fan groups on Facebook. The reaction is close to ecstasy, not surprising as it's not unheard of for some to drive 10 hours at a stretch to get their hands on the sticky fast food delicacy.
Americans have seen the McRib become a part of popular culture, with mentions on the classic animation series "The Simpsons" and in the movie of "Charlie's Angels." Comedian Stephen Colbert, on his popular eponymous show "The Colbert Report," heralded the McRib's return last week to wild cheers from his audience. "I don't know what there is inside, but it's delicious," he said of the sandwich. Colbert also insisted the move was political, as it arrives on the day of the key US mid-term elections, noting: "You can't turn out to vote if you're waiting in line for a McRib."
"My like of the McRib goes back to when I was a child," said Alan Klein, of the website www.mcriblocator.com. Klein said he has heard stories of people driving 10 hours "to get a taste of the McRib," although he admitted driving only four hours out of his way for a hit.
To make the fans' life easier, he created the website so more people could find the sandwich, with a daily average of around 5,000 visitors, and a one-day peak in recent weeks of over 89,000.