Why is the McRib only offered occasionally and why so randomly?

I grew up with these in a small town in Ontario where these were actually pretty representative of the “BBQ” food of the time. I loved them when they would make an appearance. As a result, they bring me back to my childhood and I do my best to seek them out when they do come back, even today.

I now live in Austin, arguably the BBQ capital of the world, but I will still go seek one of these out when they’re back next. Food, to me, is an experience - flavours, textures, smells, tastes, and the memories that all evokes. And after 2020, I want those happy memories of my childhood back, even if it’s just for 1 sandwich worth of time.


Bite your tongue. Egg nog is nothing but fat, alcohol, and sugar. You may not like those things, but your hindbrain does.

And if you’re watching your fat and sugar intake, I’m happy to serve you my famous vegan egg nog (a mug full of bourbon lightly dusted with nutmeg).


Yeah but if people really had a big appetite for that particular combination of fat, alcohol and sugar then you’d be able to find the stuff in stores year-round instead of just 30 days out of the year.

Ahh, you mean the stuff in a carton. No no no. Not only is that mostly weird industrial chemical flavorings mixed in with sugared, ultrapasteurized milk and (gasp) no alcohol, but it’s probably barely 1,000 calories a quart.

I’m talking about homemade stuff, where the salmonella from the raw eggs won’t hurt you because you’ll already have succumbed to a heart attack, hyperglycemic shock, or alcohol poisoning.


Do you drink it year-round, though? I’ll have a glass or two during the holidays and I’m good for the year.


The last time this came up, It was noted that the McRib appears to be reintroduced just after a fall in the price of pigs on the world market.

The relative cheapness of pork at those times, and the supply glut that produces such cheapness is probably the key to the decision. For only at those times is there both an extra profit to be made by selling pork over beef, and a sufficient supply of pork to satisfy the McD order without pushing prices right back up again.

And with prices having just fallen from such a high, its presence may be on the way back.


I ate one years ago and it felt like I was eating a giant hot dog patty.



Now explain why they don’t have pumpkin spice lattes all year round!


Just be thankful no one has invented egg nog hog.


It’s a meticulously planned “trend” riding on the back of a a temporary upsurge in pumpkin popularity over a decade ago, combined with a self-reinforcing corporate dual need for the customers to perceive novelty and their supply chain to experience predictability.


The McChitlin sandwich is highly overrated


Real eggnog doesn’t come in a carton and is a delicious boozy nectar that you don’t really want to drink that often. Sneering at it because of the supermarket version is like turning up your nose at slow-smoked babybacks because the McRib is nasty.

I will not bury you in a technical discussion of egg-containing drinks over the centuries. You are welcome.


The McRib is available all the time in McDonald’s eateries here in Germany. This is probably due to the fact that our McRib is nothing like the US McRib; as per food regulations, our McRibs must consist entirely of actual meat rather than sundry bits of pig that otherwise don’t tend to end up in food. It may well be the case that this makes the McRib more popular (within the gamut of McDonald’s food it’s actually not bad as far as I’m concerned), and changes the economics around it compared to the US. In any case, presumably fewer pigs are required to feed McRibs year-round to the totality of McDonalds customers in Germany than would be needed for the same in the US.

Also note that inside a McDonald’s, the McRibs must be cooked and prepared separately from the other sandwiches, which are mostly based on beef or chicken, because large swathes of the customer base (Muslims and, to a lesser degree, Jews) would object to getting their beef/chicken burgers from a grill that just had a piece of pork on it.


So many food rules in Europe. Things that are called meat have to contain human-edible meat, sandwich bread can’t have so much sugar that it’s really cake, there’s a maximum amount of metal shavings you can have in baby food…


I’d like a meta article on why Freakonomics types occasionally randomly rediscover the McRib algorithm and if it has anything to do with Cicadas


If you’ve made the eggnog properly, there won’t be salmonella because the alcohol will have sterilized it. And all you need to worry about is the alcohol poisoning.


The supermarket brand frozen boxes of Ribbits can be prepared so that they have a better texture.

I have to admit that the mcrib is one of the few things that can actually get me into a mcdonalds. It may be bad for you, and barely qualify as “food”. But damn, it’s good.

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It’s usually available, in greatly reduced quantities around here all year. I have a few deeply unsettling summer eggnog memories that confirm its availability.

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Still not as much as I’d like, and in the UK worryingty they might go away for US-style horrors.

Big reason why I won’t eat anything that’s ‘chopped and shaped’ or mechanically reclaimed - ugh - or the fact that Peperami here had a slogan ‘It’s a bit of an animal’ and as kids we used to joke ‘what bit?!?’

P.S. Pig’s heart and non-meat bits in McRib? EEEEEUUGH. Never ever eating that apart from Germany!