Few products have as big of a cult following as McDonald's McRib. The annual LTO typically buoys sales at the Golden Arches and, after a rare slide in sales last month, the company is hoping for the same results this year when the product officially launches on Dec. 16. The company announced the launch date on its website earlier this week.

The official McRib Facebook page hinted at its return as early as Nov. 30, suggesting the item is already on the menu in some markets. That page has nearly 19,000 likes and was created just last month.

McDonald's originally introduced the McRib in 1982, as a limited-time offer, and then brought it back in 1994.

It has since popped up here and there on a regional level, including in McDonald's Greater Southwest Region, which gave the item a farewell tour in 2006, shortly before its limited time expired.

In 2010, the McRib became available nationally for the first time in 16 years.

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