The Secret To Outback Steakhouse's Flavorful Steaks

While Outback Steakhouse, the Australian-themed restaurant chain, may be best known for its Bloomin' Onion — a fried onion appetizer — the chain's steaks get a lot of love as well. The company began in Florida in the 1980s and grew to become the largest steakhouse chain in the country, and although we ranked it on the lower end of our list, it has its fans: The average Google review is a solid 4.1. Reviewers are especially effusive about the prime rib and ribeye steaks.


The secret to the chain's flavorful steaks is in the aging. Aging a cut of beef helps tenderize it. Over time, the beef's natural enzymes begin breaking down the meat's muscle fibers. The company hypes the fact that it uses aged beef, but it doesn't really get into the nitty gritty of the method it uses. "We take aging of our steaks very seriously," the company states on its website. "Each cut is aged until it reaches optimal tenderness." The two ways of aging steak are the dry and wet methods. The Chicago-based Bruss Company, a major meat supplier for Outback (via The Washington Post), uses the wet method, which fans of the method say leaves the beef fresher tasting than dry aging.

Wet versus dry aging of steak

Wet aging involves vacuum packing the steaks and leaving them in a controlled environment for two to three weeks. Because they remain sealed in with their own juices, they don't lose moisture, making for a cut of beef that's both tender and juicy. And unlike dry aging, which develops a flavor often described as nutty, wet aging doesn't change the steak's flavor in the same way.


It's worth noting that while the quality of the meat used by Outback is fairly high, it's not the best of the best. Outback uses USDA Choice certified steak, according to Mashed. This grade is just below the ag agency's top ranking of Prime, which is reserved for beef with the most marbling. Here's where aging also helps in ensuring Outback's steaks are flavorful. Wet aging can deepen the meat's beefy flavor. Besides aging, there are other reasons why restaurant steaks always taste better than the ones you cook at home, including liberal use of seasoning and butter.

Outback's other secret

Besides aging, Outback has another trick to increase the flavor of it steak. Like KFC's secret blend of herbs and spices in its chicken, Outback Steakhouse is as guarded as Colonel Sanders when it comes to its signature steak seasoning blend. Even many employees of the company aren't in on the secret. All the company will divulge is that the founders created the blend of herbs and spices more than 35 years ago.


These various elements all lead to Outback Steakhouse's flavorful steaks. The company's answer when it comes to why its steaks are so good lays it at the feet of the kitchen staff. "We have trained Steak Experts crafting and executing our steaks to the highest standards," Chef Efram Cutler of Bloomin' Brands, Outback's parent company, told Tasting Table. Well, the company must be doing something right. There are only four states in the U.S. without an Outback Steakhouse. You won't find any Outbacks in Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, North Dakota, nor the District of Columbia. Yet, you'll find them in 20 other countries, from Brazil to Thailand, and even Australia.