KANSAS CITY, MO – Some fans of McDonald’s McRib sandwich may be surprised to learn this iconic sandwich has been sold off and on in the US for almost 30 years as a limited-time offering. Throughout the years, the McRib sandwich has maintained a loyal fan base and in recent weeks there has been a media frenzy regarding news that McDonald’s would soon be bringing back the McRib to all McDonald’s locations in the US.

“The McRib, one of McDonald’s most legendary menu items, is being brought back [to all McDonald’s US restaurants] as a limited-time promotion beginning on Nov. 2 and will run until Nov. 22,” Gail Crockett, Director, U.S. Supply Chain McDonald’s USA, confirms to MEATPOULTRY.com. “McRib was last nationally offered in all US restaurants in 1994.”

The McRib was first test marketed in 1981, with Kansas City serving as one of the earliest areas to offer the McRib — it became a national promotional item the following year, Crockett says.

“In the eyes of our devoted McRib fans, McRib is the ultimate, and has been ever since it was first introduced,” she adds. “The combination of the sandwich’s elusiveness and signature taste is what makes it so popular among our customers. In fact, the McRib sauce is exclusive to McDonald’s restaurants and the McRib — it’s not served with any other McDonald’s sandwich or as a dipping sauce — which I think is all part of the appeal.”

Last year McRib was offered for a limited time in certain markets throughout the US. In 2009, McDonald’s used close to 4 million lbs. of pork during the promotion period, which yielded more than 15 million sandwiches, Crockett says.

“McRib is made with 100% USDA-quality pork meat and is primarily produced by OSI Industries LLC, based out of West Chicago, Ill., and Lopez Foods Inc., based in Oklahoma City, Okla.,” she adds.

When asked how the McRib differs from competitive sandwiches, Crockett teases, “McDonald’s McRib is certainly unique. It has an air of mystic and the tangy barbeque sauce is like no other. In addition, McRib fans are also what set this sandwich apart from all others. Their passion for the McRib has helped propel it to its legendary status, and we are proud that fans have been so vocal and loyal to McRib.”

Before carrying the sandwich, McDonald’s employees are trained as they would be with all new products, Crockett says. “And no special equipment is needed – the pork patties are freshly prepared on the same grill as our burgers,” she added. “The suggested retail price of the McRib is $2.99, although prices vary by participating restaurants.”

Will the McRib someday become a permanent McDonald’s menu offering? Crockett answers, “Since its introduction, McRib has had success as a limited-time food item. We are continuing to offer the McRib to meet the needs of our customers, and by offering it in limited-time periods it keeps the product fresh in the minds of our guests and maintains the demand we need to keep the product coming back. Of course, we never know for certain when or if the legendary McRib will return to our menu!”