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Burger King Challenges McDonald’s McRib

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Burger King has thrown down the gauntlet in the fast-food wars, announcing a competitor to the McRib sandwich beloved by McDonald’s customers.

The 59-year-old Burger King chain’s 2013 summer menu, unveiled Wednesday, includes the new BBQ Rib sandwich, featuring a boneless rib patty, just like the McRib.

The BBQ Rib sandwich will also be topped with a ”sweet and tangy BBQ Sauce, crispy bread and butter pickles, all on a warm toasted artisan style bun,” according to information provided to ABC News by the company, which declined to comment further.

The McRib is a 500-calorie rib sandwich with barbecue sauce, pickles and onions.

Also like the McRib, whose return to the McDonald’s menu is a headline-making affair with its own Twitter handle, the BBQ Rib will be available only temporarily, in this case beginning May 21 and lasting through the summer.

“McDonald’s continues to focus on our business and on our customers,” a McDonald’s spokeswoman told ABC News. “At this time I do not have any information on the McRib.”

Burger King’s new BBQ Rib sandwich, priced at $3.49, is the latest attempt by the Miami-based fast food chain to revamp its menu to compete with longtime competitors, such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s, and new faces on the market, such as Panera and even Starbucks.

In March, Burger King added a limited-time turkey burger to its lineup, along with a veggie burger, bacon-stuffed cheddar beef burger, chipotle chicken sandwich and wrap, and a chipotle whopper.

“Our guests have grown to look for a variety of options,” Eric Hirschhorn, Burger King’s vice president of global innovation, told USA Today in announcing the BBQ Rib Sandwich. “It’s not just about beef anymore but other proteins like chicken and turkey and pork.”

Burger King’s new summer menu includes not just the BBQ Rib sandwich, but 12 other new menu items, including a Memphis Pulled Pork sandwich, Carolina BBQ Whopper, sweet potato fries, a new BBQ Chicken Salad and new desserts inspired by Oreo cookies.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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