It is, at the same time, one of fast food’s most revered and reviled sandwiches — the McRib — and it’s back on the menu today.
McDonald’s announced the sandwich’s return to more 10,000 locations in a news release Thursday, letting the world know it’s #McRibSZN.
The saucy pork sandwich has popped up seemingly at random, and disappeared as quickly, since its debut in 1981. According to a Business Insider report, the company releases the McRib strategically about once a year during otherwise quiet times or when they need to beef up the menu with some pork. The item is wildly popular, but its scarcity helps maintain its appeal.
This year, McDonald’s is spiking its promotional efforts with a branded hashtag and 16 Instagram story GIFs.
“We’re always listening to our customers and we know the McRib has some of the most loyal fans,” chef Chad Schafer, a McDonald’s executive, said in a news release. “This year we’re excited to give every McRib fan new ways to show their love for the sandwich with our saucy McRib GIFs so they can celebrate the season no matter where they live.”
McDonald’s also launched mcdfinder.com, a website where you can put your zip code in and find the nearest participating restaurant.
That brings the number of websites dedicated to finding the McRib to two. McRib superfan Alan Klein created the McRib Locator over a decade ago. His site uses user generated information to report on McRib sightings and helps visitors find one near them. It’s also available as an app for Android users.
Fast-food chains have seen staggering success using social media to promote menu items this year. Most famously, Popeyes Chicken threw some shade at Chick-fil-A when it released a chicken sandwich this summer and ignited a frenzy. Customers reported hours-long waits and the sandwich disappeared from stores in days. Months later, chicken fans still await its promised return.
While the McRib’s availability has been officially announced, McDonald’s did not comment on how long it’d be in restaurants. McDonald’s said the Instagram GIFs will be available year round, but the sandwich will not.