The McRib is an icon among many fast-food diners that over the past 30 years has developed its own cult following. The sandwich, which debuted between 1981 and 1982, was inspired by Southern barbecue and was created in response to a shortage of chickens. According to an article by Business Insider, Rene Arend, McDonald’s first executive chef and inventor of the Chicken McNugget, explained in a 2009 interview that the demand for the massively popular McNugget, which was introduced in 1979, outpaced the available supply of chickens. Arend created the McRib the fill the gap.
McDonald’s took the boneless pork sandwich off its menu in 1985, but reintroduced it in 1994 as a limited-edition item. Since then, the cult status of the McRib has only grown, undoubtedly fueled by its occasional reappearance for a few weeks at a time at participating restaurants.
But now, devotees of the McRib can more easily track down the restaurants that are serving their beloved sandwich. McDonald’s introduced this month its new iMessage app, “McDonald’s Rib Finder,” which allows fans to find participating McDonald’s restaurants in their area and invite friends to a restaurant that serves the McRib.
The sandwich is expected to remain available until the end of the year.