Rick and Morty fans left empty-handed after Szechuan sauce promotion goes awry

Rick and Morty fans left empty-handed after Szechuan sauce promotion goes awry

American fans of the cult animated television show Rick and Morty have been left with a bad taste in their mouths after a limited-edition McDonald's sauce sold out across the country.

Fans turned out in full force after the fast food chain promised to bring back its 1998 Szechuan dipping sauce for a day, with some saying they queued for hours.

But the sauce was in high demand, and each location reportedly received only a small number of packets — and when fans found out the run was gone, they were furious.

Police were reportedly called to at least one restaurant, and a video posted on Twitter showed crowds chanting, "We want sauce!"

For those confused about why a sauce would cause such a commotion, the Szechuan sauce was a limited edition condiment that was brought to McDonald's to promote Disney's film, Mulan.

During season three of Rick and Morty — a show the premise of which centres on a dimension-hopping grandfather and grandson — mad-scientist-type Rick declares it his life mission to get the sauce.

"I want that Mulan McNugget sauce, Morty," said Rick in the episode.

"That's my series arc, Morty! If it takes nine seasons!"

Fans launched a hefty Twitter campaign, urging the fast-food restaurant to bring back the limited-edition sauce, and so the chain promised to give away "a one-time only, limited-edition, run of Szechuan Sauce in select restaurants".

But when they said limited, they meant limited — and fans were not happy, with many venting their anger on social media.

They lined up around blocks.

They started the #GiveUsTheSauce hashtag to make their displeasure known.

Some drove for hours to get their hands on the sauce.

McDonald's issued an apology on Twitter, saying: "The best fans in the multiverse showed us what they got today. We hear you & we're sorry not everyone could get some super-limited Szechuan."

Fans who are really desperate to get a taste can try their luck online, but it will not come cheap — one Ebay listing had just one packet of the sauce going for more than $US200.

TIME reported a sachet of the 1998 sauce sold for nearly $20,000 on Ebay in August.

Looks like fans might have to wait nine more seasons 'til they get that dipping sauce.