I’d be lying if I said I understood the McRib mystique. Perhaps second in notoriety only to the Big Mac, McDonald’s seasonal barbecue pork sandwich is made with a bizarre, boneless faux-rib patty that is frankly a marvel (horror?) of modern-day food science. Each year the Golden Arches teases loyal fans by bringing it back only for limited periods in certain areas — and this year, the chain is helping them track it down with a highly unnecessary McRib locator app.
Available only as an iMessage add-on for iOS 10 (sorry, Android-using fast food lovers), the McDonald’s McRib Finder enables users to pinpoint where exactly the McRib is being served in their area by utilizing their iPhone’s location services. Users can then send location data via iMessage, and invite a friend to meet up for McRibs by sending ridiculous iMessage stickers featuring McRib graphics. Are McRib dates the new coffee dates? (No. No they are not.)
Weirdly enough, the McDonald’s app is actually a ripoff of an existing product: Launched in 2013 by an enthusiastic fan, the unofficial McRib Locator website (and accompanying mobile app) utilizes user-submitted data to map where the McRib can be found around the country. For those who prefer to do their McRib hunting in private rather than sharing it with friends, it’s perhaps a better option.
Of note: Despite the McRib’s simple construction — bun, fake rib-shaped pork patty, barbecue sauce, onions, pickles — it somehow contains 70 ingredients (including, apparently, real meat.) The sandwich can only be found in certain areas of the country this year — it’s not available anywhere in the state of Colorado, for instance — and will disappear altogether again on December 31. The McRib’s enduring popularity proves that as humans, we always want what we can’t have — even when it’s a weird processed pork patty that’s been sitting under a heatlamp.