McRib, the fast food sandwich that went viral before viral was a thing, is back.
McDonald’s announced in October that for the first time in 8 years, it will be offering its barbeque slathered sandwich nationwide with the cult following.
The McRib will be back in stores beginning December 2, 2020, for a limited time of course.
The McRib is an elusive prize for adherents who scour the internet for reports of its surfacing at limited locations, and for a short amount of time. There is even a website called the McRib Locator, created to spread the word about McDonald’s restaurants that are offering the boneless pork sandwich served with slivered onions and pickles on top.
The McRib debuted nationally the U.S. in 1982.
Many people credit a Nebraska man for inventing the McRib. Dr. Roger Mandigo, an emeritus University of Nebraska animal science professor is often cited as the creator. He debunks that claim, but he is certainly instrumental in the creation.
The following is a clip from an NPR article, titled: From Nebraska Lab To McDonald’s Tray: The McRib’s Strange Journey
Back in the 1970s, Mandigo said he was approached by the National Pork Producers Council to create a product with pork trimmings that could be sold to the fast-food giant.
“The pork producers wanted to see more pork on the menu, and they were targeting McDonald’s,” Mandigo said.
Mandigo went to work in the lab and came up with a new take on an old-fashioned technology: sausage-making. Instead of just stuffing pork meat inside a casing, Mandigo used salt to extract proteins from the muscle. Those proteins become an emulsifier “to hold all the little pieces of meat together,” he says.
“All we did was reuse the technology that had been around for hundreds of years and emphasize that we could shape products to shapes people wanted,” he said.
“[McDonald’s] chose the shape,” Mandigo said. “They wanted it to look like the boneless part of a backrib.”
That’s why Mandigo is adamant that he was not the father of the McRib, despite getting the credit for it all these years.
“We developed the concepts and technology to make the process work,” he said. “They developed the sandwich and the form that it’s in. That gets a little touchy and sensitive to people, as you might guess.”
Mandigo is now retired from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, but his invention was important enough to earn him induction into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame, among big names like Colonel Sanders and Wendy’s Dave Thomas in the 2010 class.