NEW YORK, N.Y. - The McRib, the pork sandwich that likes to play hard to get, is coming back.
McDonald's plans to announce Monday that the sandwich, usually available only when individual restaurants feel like making it, will be sold at all U.S. locations through Nov. 14.
The barbecue without the bones has inspired a cult following. There is a Facebook group called "Bring Back the McRib!!!" There are Twitter tags, where posts range from "Lucky me, the McRib is back" to "If you eat McRibs, you need to re-evaluate what it is you actually want in life." There's the McRib Locator, a website where true believers can report McRib sightings, and even truer believers can take a road trip when one shows up within driving distance.
The boneless patty, dressed with onions, pickle slices and barbecue sauce, was introduced nationally in 1982, developed after the company's then-president decided to add pork to the menu.
With 500 calories and 26 grams of fat, it's slightly trimmer than the Big Mac, which has 540 calories and 29 grams of fat.
It's usually up to the local franchise to decide if or when to sell the McRib. (Except in Germany, the only place where it's available year-round, McDonald's Corp. says.) But last November, for the first time in 16 years, McDonald's made the McRib available at all U.S. restaurants for about three weeks.
It was a smash, and while McDonald's declined to provide specific sales numbers, it was enough to convince the world's largest burger chain to give it another run.
If the McRib is really so popular, why not just offer it all the time? McDonald's has found that distance makes the heart grow fonder, and the barbecue taste that much sweeter.
"Bringing it back every so often adds to the excitement," said Marta Fearon, McDonald's U.S. marketing director.
Keeping true to form, Fearon said it is not known if McRib will be back next year.
"It's too early to speculate," she said.