One of the most coveted items of 2017 was, oddly enough, Szechuan sauce. Rick Sanchez was prepared to rip apart the fabric of time for some, and Rick And Morty fans were ready to hand over their life savings for a single packet after McDonald’s got swept up in the sudden fervor around the condiment. The fast food giant brought back the dipping sauce for a single day in October, but in quantities fans deemed so meager that they raged at the poor employees at various franchises.
McDonald’s says it’s learned from this error, though, and has announced that it will stock locations nationwide with some 20 million packets of the spicy sauce later this month.
Now, there are more than 14,000 McDonald’s in this country, which means they’ll have hundreds available per store. You could get your hands on some Szechuan sauce as early as Monday, February 26. And if you want to know more about the tie-in debacle, McDonald’s has partnered with OnionLabs and Studio@Gizmodo for a podcast called The Sauce. Hosted by Catherine LeClair, this lighthearted investigative series will dip into production on the millions of packets that are making their way around the country, as well as how Deadmau5 was able to acquire a half gallon of it, despite not being Justin Roiland.
Andrew Harding, head of Studio@Gizmodo and director of The Sauce, created the podcast along with Onion Labs and McDonald’s. He tells The A.V. Club, “We were surprised how candid McDonald’s was willing to be about what happened on October 7, and how ready they were to let us get to the bottom of all this.” In that vein, The Sauce “became a look into all the angles. It’s the inside story of how one of the world’s biggest companies responds to what went wrong in the good-intentioned giveaway—from how it all started to how they contained it to how they’re now trying to make it right.”
“Whether you’re a customer that never got to try it, or just a general podcast fan who’s intrigued by the unique glimpse behind the curtain, we think you’ll find The Sauce to be the most fascinating podcast about a condiment ever made,” Harding says.
And LeClair, who hosts the three-part series, says she’s “always found pop culture crazes to be fascinating on a human level. And exploring the Szechuan sauce saga of October 7, 2017 took that fascination to a new level.” She expands on her research for the project, which includes talking to chef Michael Haracz of McDonald’s:
I talked with fans who were so obsessed with a sauce they had never tasted that they drove across an international border to get it. And I also got to speak with corporate executives and Chef Mike at McDonald’s who hold themselves responsible for what went wrong. It’s rare that a company as big as McDonald’s will pull back the curtain and give you the honest story behind their missteps, and McDonald’s was willing to do that.
[Note: Like The A.V. Club, OnionLabs and Studio@Gizmodo are owned by Univision Communications.]