It is difficult to predict which works will end up becoming cult objects, and the phenomenon becomes more unpredictable when it comes to food or drink. So it happened to McRibthe mythical creation of McDonald’s whose original release was a flop but that, by rejoining its offer as a temporary product, it has become an obsession with fervent followers who persecute it as if it were a mythical object.
In Spain has been missing from the menus of the hamburger chain for years, after its last campaign in 2012. Future reincorporations are not ruled out, although the company does not usually advance too many clues about its launch or marketing plans. Nor does he do it from the United States, where he usually reappears from time to time, forcing fans to remain attentive to his promotions.
The McRib is so popular that its name is often familiar even to those who never set foot in a burger joint or have the slightest interest in pop culture or American fast food, just as the Big Mac or the whopper of Burger King are already proper names of the collective imagination. Now, many people will sound that McRib; What exactly it’s another song.
The origin of the invention
the year ran 1981 when McDonald’s released its brand new latest product, a product with its own name very different from the usual hamburgers in its catalogue.
With a short, clear and concise name, the McRib wasn’t really a hamburger, but it did fit the bill. generic sandwich category under which any dish served between two masses of bread is grouped in the Anglo-Saxon language. Yes, technically a hamburger and a hot dog are sandwiches, although that concept clashes with our schemes in Spain.
The McRib was invented to alleviate the shortage of chickens due to the success of the McNuggets
Before its launch, as is usual in these operations, the McRib underwent a process of investigation and marketing. Developing and distributing a new product on a large scale, in large chains such as McDonald’s, implies a considerable economic investment for which minimize the risks. But this time it was not enough.
The brand new novelty was developed by the Luxembourger Rene Arendexecutive chef of the company that had already succeeded in creating the McNuggets of chicken in 1979. That invention was so successful that it began to concern the lack of chicken meat to supply demand, and work began on another product that would distribute customer attention.
In order not to offer just one more hamburger, Arend had the idea of giving the meat the shape of another great classic of popular American cuisine. Thus, the new sandwich had the appearance of barbecued pork ribs, but without bones, despite the fact that they did appear marked on its surface. A oblong bun -which increased costs- and a sauce that was then spicy and served separately, plus pickles and onions, completed the recipe.
The rib burger without ribs
Its name could currently be considered misleading and somewhat fraudulent: it would surely generate controversy. Of ribs it only has the hint in the name (ribs) and its appearance, a sort of fast food trompe l’oeil something ahead of its time that, yes, is in the current recipe made up of 99% pork.
Exactly what parts of that meat are used to form the pieces of meat (called pork patty McRib) is not so clear on its label, but we have already anticipated that of the ribs is not exactly. As he explained to max Rob Cannell, director of supplies for the company in the United States, the McRib takes 45 minutes to make in a totally industrial process in which the meat is chopped, mostly pork shoulder, seasoned, shaped into ribs and frozen in cryogenic equipment. And ready to distribute.
The meat is a mass of minced pork shoulder in the shape of a false rib
After its first launch, The McRib adopted its definitive recipe with the addition of the sweet barbecue sauce and smoked that balances the salinity of the seasoned meat mixture, flavors that are completed with the somewhat spicy freshness of the onion and the bittersweet and crunchy touch of the pickles, without forgetting the classic tender white that welcomes everything, without sesame.
The caloric content of a full McRib today ranges from 477 kcal for the German to 520 kcal for the American, which has more fat and sugars but less total sodium. No chips or soda, of course.
From failure to success?
After its premiere in selected restaurants in 1981the McRib became a fixture on the menu in parts of the American Midwest, but sales were not so good as the executives expected. Pork was not as successful as a hamburger product, compared to the good reception of chicken, and it was withdrawn in 1985.
However, the multinational was not going to give up its work so easily. While in some European countries it ran more successfully, such as in Germany, McDonald’s relaunched the McRib in the United States. intermittently limited on several occasions, until creating a large-scale national campaign in 1994, as part of the promotional campaign for the Flintstones movie.
But already would never go back as a fixed product of their menus. Over the next almost 20 years, the McRib has made a dazzling appearance in local and large-scale promotions across the country, also making sporadic forays into countries such as Canada, several in Asia and Europe, including the two occasions in which went through the Spanish franchises, creating a indelible memory among those who have tried it.
McDonald’s: Behind The Arches
cult fast food
Every time McDonald’s announces the relaunch of the McRib, emotion is unleashed in networks and his most faithful followers do not hesitate to travel hundreds of kilometers to sink their teeth into his beloved sandwich again. Unlike other seasonal products, such as pumpkin spice latte of Starbucks, does not have fixed dates, although it is also often associated with autumn.
That fanaticism that has turned this product into cult object, also in Spain and many other countries, has derived, of course, in various conspiracy theories. Why is it limited in availability if it’s so successful? Its supposed relationship with the increase in meat price pork or the use of suspect ingredients is one of the most common.
The explanation is much simpler: the McRib is not as popular as its fanaticism would have us believe. the product itself not so special, but it has that something different that leaves a mark on the memory of those who were able to try it, linking it in their memory with specific personal experiences. Yes, nostalgia returns to the fore.
Like the legion of adults who sold out of the relaunched Nestlé Jungly last year, the McRib recharge your expectation with each new withdrawal and return to the market. McDonald’s thus maintains interest with a product that does not have to be renewed, with a promotion it is done almost by itself. His followers are very noisyalthough they may not be as numerous.
The McRib costs more money to produce than a normal hamburger, because it uses pork, because of its special shape and because it requires adding a different bun to the stock of the chain. What limited productthe multinational knows that the investment will be amortized in the markets where can’t risk it to have dismal failures. You have to keep the flame of illusion alive with hard-to-find products.
Spain is a country in which traditionally news doesn’t work well very radical, as the soft drink industry knows, except in its exclusive limited version, and increasingly associated with the name of a famous person, as McDonald’s does with its Dani García hamburgers. The effect of the new wears off quickly.
The last time the McRib passed through our territory was almost a decade ago, and the answer may it was not quite as expected. Messages of disappointment were read on the networks – “it is no longer what it was” – and its supposed virality would not translate so much into a real demand that it would be worth the investment. In 2016, in a campaign with youtuber Rubiusa variant called bbq ribwhich few remember.
We don’t know if McDonald’s will resurrect the McRib again in our country, but for those of you who long for the taste of the fake rib burger, you can always go to Germany, where it remains fixed in your menu. For the most fanatical, there is a collective website that locates the McRibs available throughout the world.
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