The McRib is back, baby, and it’s coming straight to your text messages with an iMessage McRib locator app. The McRib is a 70-ingredient, fake rib pork patty topped with barbecue sauce, onion, and pickles. But most importantly, it has an undeniable cult following that looks like it will never die.
Every year, McDonald’s sends the McRib out into the world in select locations for a limited time only, causing a rush on certain stores. This year, McDonald’s is getting rid of the mystique surrounding which lucky cities will be doused in the glory of “boneless” ribs (or how far out of town McRib loyalists have to travel) with a locator that can take you straight there before it leaves once again on December 31.
Go ahead. Download the app and find your closest rib-filled treasure chest underneath the Golden Arches. We’ll wait.
The fact that the McRib is leaving so soon is one of the reasons it has this cultish admiration from a segment of the population, Adam Chandler, a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, tells VinePair.
“One day you wake up, and there’s the McRib,” Chandler says. “It’s like a warm day in winter. It has this sort of amazing, surprising aspect to it that gets people excited.”
No matter how many stories are published about what the McRib looks like frozen, or how many things are actually put into the pork patty, the McRib has survived. If you ask Chandler, the McRib is almost “so culturally grotesque that it makes people defensive about it.”
“I think it’s a scientific fascination,” Chandler says. “This is an item that’s been around for 35 years now and people know it as this marvel of science. It’s shaped like ribs, but it’s not actually ribs, and the fact that it comes and goes is another part of it — there’s this elusiveness about it. Also it tastes really good.”
As great as the McRib is, though, there’s a way to make it even better: A drink pairing. VinePair already taught you the perfect fine wine pairing for Mcdonald’s Air, Land & Sea Sandwich (Moulin D’Issan Bordeaux Superieur), but the McRib holds more cultural importance between its buns. Only the best pairing is fit for the McRib, although the time constraint is an issue, and a fine wine with a hefty price tag can easily start to cut into holiday shopping money.
If you love yourself a McRib and have some money to blow, however, pair it with a good barolo. For beer lovers, match it with an American pilsner that has some heft behind it, like a PC Pils.
Photo courtesy McDonald’s