Does The "OUTBACK" Precook Its Entrees?

My question is prompted by a recent (unpleasant) meal at one of these places. I orderd a staek-with baked potato, and green salad. Thinking that a chimpanzee “chef” could handle this, my steak arrived all dried out (I had specified “medium”) the baked potato had unpleasant brown spots inside 9a dead giveaway that it had been cooked and reheated). As for the salad, what can I say: limp icebearg lettuce with a few tomato slices, and some croutons that came from an Egyptian tomb.
Years ago, I read that a majoe hotel chain had perfected the art of searing their staeaks, then vacuum packing and flash freezing them-is the “OUTBACK” doing something similar?
Yep, won’t be back!

Not that serving poor quality products are excusable - ever, just curious what time of the day or night you were there and what type of steak did you order (I haven’t been into an Outback in years, so I’m not sure of their menu)?

The reason I ask about the time of day, it may provide some clue regarding the quality of the salad & potato. Typically, potatoes are baked ahead of time and kept warm in a steam drawer/bin. If it was late in their serving “window” it could be that your baked and been held in there for too long. Again, not excusable but cut be what happened. The same could timing issue could have an affect on the quality of the salad, which is usually pre-chopped and held in bulk in a bin/bowl until the order comes in.

Actually brown spots inside [especially with cavities] is actually a form of ‘rust’ - a fungal infection inside the potato. Not indicative of precooking and reheating.

It can be either or. If they spots would have been there before it was cooked, then that would be it, but trust me, in the restaurant I work at, I’ve been forced to serve potatoes that have been in the heater drawer too long (cause it’s late at night and that’s all we have) to know that a potato kept too long after cooking does get brown on the inside.

I also wonder what time you went there. If it was late at night, then it’s possible most food was wrapped and put away, so they might have grabbed a steak that they accidentally cooked earlier but didn’t need, then reheated it. I doubt they pre-cook the steaks, because you can never predict the temp a steak will be ordered, so unless you only pre-cook them all to rare (in which case you wouldn’t be saving that much time), you stand to lose money on wasted steaks if only five people order well-done that night.

Of course the salad was made ahead of time. Do you think that every salad is assembled when you order? Umm…no. You get in very shortly after you order because whatever line cook is doing salads filled up a small cooler full of 30-50 standard salads. Yes, it’s kept cool, but not as cool as the lettuce and veggie bins, because the doors are being opened all the time. Also, if there was a lot of lettuce mixed prepped the day before, then they will use it the next day rather than throw it out, and day old cut up lettuce will be slightly wilted and brown on the edges.

And thanks for insulting line cooks, I appreciate that. It’s not an easy job, and in the just the year I have worked as one, I have seen almost half a dozen people try to do it and quit because they couldn’t handle it.

Big-UPS to the line chefs! I hear ya brother! It’s a hot, hectic, thankless job.
One fringe is all of that waitress trim… You Bastards!

You guys need a Bud commercial just for you, there ain’t a job that deserves it more. Have one on me, sometime… and thanks, thanks for a great meal!

Well, that’s not really acceptable, is it? I mean, this is just a sign of a poor restaurant.

No, not really. That’s just a sign of the economy that you create. Cutting food and labor costs in corporate Restaurants is pretty much par for the course. It’s capitalism in action. The restaurant isn’t poor, they just don’t have a lot of options.

For what it’s worth, I’ve been going to the local Outback in Rochester.MN for years now and they have ALWAYS been excellent in service and food quality. Sounds like you just drew the short straw and got a poorly-managed one. Sorry!

The last few times I have been dragged to an [del]Outhouse[/del] Outback, the meat was about two steps past horrible. It had been doused in so much meat tenderizer that the top 1/8" of the steak was mush, and the rest of the meat was about like shoe leather. I can take tough, but I draw the line at chemically created mush. The best line cook in the universe could not fix this meat to be eatable.
Two things about the Outback are obvious to me. First off they buy the cheapest meat they can find and douse the shit out of with meat tenderizer. Secondly judging by the lines outside the door, most people don’t seem to give a shit if the food is any good.

Sing it, brother. Same goes for Stuart Anderson, Lone Star, and all the rest of those diarrhea-inducing slop houses. It’s my depressing experience that the average American has had all the taste beaten out of him by ad campaigns and has resigned himself to having to eat at these craphouses because they’re cheap and accessible. People think that because the food doesn’t immediately induce projectile vomiting that it must be “good”.

But Outback isn’t even that cheap. Better steaks can be had for less money. It is simply the commercials saying eat here it’s good and the lemmings happily go there to their doom.

We went to Outback (the one in Manhattan) a few months ago, and it was surprisingly appetizing. Suppose it make a difference where you go. But I’ve gone to good steakhouses, and still found it pretty good.

I’ve had excellent steaks at The Outhouse and I’ve had so-so steaks. As always, quality varies widely from location to location.

I’ve not been to Outback for a few years, but having worked in the restaurant supply business, I do know that other chains (and I assume that Outback is no different) sear the steaks then vacuum pack them. Add that to anything else that requires heat to prepare it coming in those tidy little packs and what you are getting is a high priced frozen dinner with a salad.

I didn’t taste anything resembling meat tenderizr-it was just very overcooked. My feeling is that it could have been a decent cut of meat-it was too overcooked to tell. As for the potato, what’s so hard about microwaving for 5-6 minutes, then into the oven/broiler? That seems to work fine at home. And providing a decent salad isn’t rocket science. I guess for a place that is always advertising, they ought to spend more on quality.In essence, I had a bad meal, and it wasn’t something I was happy about

Many processes that work fine for single (or even family) serving applications at home do not work for commercial applications. Potatoes are baked en masse and kept warm in a steam drawer.

I agree completely. It’s not like places of this caliber are creating salads scratch from heads of lettuce. They are using bulk pre-shredded salad mix. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see the greens had wilted and were no longer of acceptable quality.

I didn’t notice that you ever answered the question about what time of day/night you were there or what type of steak you ordered so anything else would be just a guess.

However, I do have one more question. Did you complain or ask to speak tothe manager while you were there? The salad could have been replaced in a heartbeat with fresh.

Typical Outback choices for Mrs. Garrett and me:

2 Fosters
2 Salads (mine with honey mustard, hers bleu cheese)
1 order of coconut shrimp
1 order of crab cakes

End of meal. Filling, healthy, tasty, and usually without surprises.

Bolding mine

You actually drink that crap? :eek:
You know that no one in Australia actually drinks Fosters right? We export it all because no one will touch it at home :slight_smile:

Although I was very surprised when I went to an Outback in Hawaii earlier this year and found that they had some James Boags in the fridge. Which by the way is an excellent beer from a Tasmanian brewer. (No XXXX though :frowning: )

Just to add, I’ve eaten at an Outback twice, once in Anaheim, and once in Hawaii, and both times the food was OK, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was good, but it did the job. And both times I almost wet myself laughing at the “Australian” theming. I think the marketing team who put it together maybe just sat down and watched Crocodile Dundee for reference material. :dubious:

I enjoy beer a lot and don’t really care about Foster’s being the pseudo-beer of Australia. I’ve heard several times that many Australians don’t like it. I like it OK. I never buy it for the house, but there’s one thing about it at the Outback. It’s coooold. It really has nothing to do with it trying to be an Aussie-themed restaurant. I can’t stomach most American beers so it does the trick.