The Reason LongHorn Steakhouse's Steaks Taste So Delicious

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While Texas Roadhouse feels more like a honky-tonk Saturday night and Outback Steakhouse delivers an Americanized version of Australia to your backyard, LongHorn Steakhouse is all about cowboys. Ever since its conception in 1981 in Atlanta, Georgia (via Atlanta Business Chronicle), this cowboy-themed restaurant offers customers a Wild West experience in a casual dining atmosphere — and that, obviously, includes serving up some supposedly delicious steaks. It would seem that LongHorn is doing something right.

But just what exactly is that "something?" What is it about those steaks that make them so popular that people give the chain such rave reviews? While LongHorn doesn't have a personal butcher shop in-store similar to what Texas Roadhouse does, perhaps there's something they put on the steaks that helps to give them their trademark flavor. If so, just what is this special ingredient and can you buy it for yourself?

LongHorn uses a special selection of seasonings

On the subreddit r/IAmA, a user by the name of u/heretical_yoshi opened a thread to receive and answer questions about their job at LongHorn Steakhouse. Among questions about customer interactions and cooking in the kitchen, one user asked a now-deleted question about the steaks and u/heretical_yoshi answered, revealing a bit about how LongHorn makes its steaks. The process seems to involve a select blend of seasonings and spices.

"LongHorn's has a trio of seasonings that we typically use that really embolden the flavor of pretty much everything we have on the menu," the user wrote. " I'm not sure what the make up of the seasonings are as they come pre-packaged off the truck, but most everything gets a healthy seasoning before hitting the grill."

Although the response wasn't very specific as to what sort of seasonings LongHorn uses for its steaks, it seems that you can actually buy the seasoning from Amazon and Walmart. We can't be sure whether or not these are the real seasonings used by LongHorn Steakhouse, but it wouldn't hurt to give these spices a try on your own steaks to see how close they come in taste.

What's in the Steakhouse Mac & Cheese?

Although LongHorn Steakhouse is known for steaks (obviously), that doesn't mean that its sides don't deserve attention too. One of the chain's notable sides other than the baked potatoes, salads, and soups is the Steakhouse Mac & Cheese. One individual took r/MimicRecipes in search of the recipe for it. Fortunately for the user, a Redditor by the name of u/SwagWrath, a supposed employee of the restaurant for four years, was able to give the recipe for the mac and cheese.

According to u/SwagWrath, the Steakhouse Mac & Cheese includes cavatappi pasta; butter; flour; half-and-half; a combination of Gruyère, Cheddar, Parmesan, and Fontina cheeses; paprika; bacon; and panko breadcrumbs. The instructions (which u/SwagWrath claims to have made "real easy") involve boiling the noodles in one pot while mixing the butter, flour, and half-and-half together until thick. Slowly sprinkle the cheeses into this mixture before adding the pasta and paprika to taste. The entire mixture is then poured into a pan, topped with bacon and breadcrumbs, and baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until golden brown.

While it's unclear if u/SwagWrath is a worker at LongHorn Steakhouse, their recipe matches up with Kristen Carli's recipe for LongHorn's macaroni and cheese, adding to their credibility. As to whether or not the mac and cheese is even good to begin with, Fast Food Menu Price describes it as "cheesy and creamy, but not too heavy," and "a perfect side dish."

What's in the Chocolate Stampede?

With all of this talk about steaks and side dishes, it's only right to talk about the dessert selection at LongHorn Steakhouse. The most notable example of LongHorn's impressive dessert selection is the Chocolate Stampede. Think of it as a very moist, very rich cake served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. What really makes it stand out, however, is that it supposedly contains up to six kinds of chocolate. Just how true is this claim?

One baker on r/Baking attempted to make the Chocolate Stampede for themselves. Although they were seemingly successful, they called it a "labor of love," reporting that it used 14 eggs and six different kinds of chocolate to make it. While the user didn't go into much detail about their take on the recipe specifically, it seems that Food Network has its own Chocolate Stampede recipe — technically. 

According to Food Network, the Almost Famous Chocolate Mousse Cake is a carbon copy of the Chocolate Stampede, or as close as one can get to it. Strangely, this recipe doesn't detail six kinds of chocolate but instead calls for devil's food cake mix, bittersweet chocolate, and even coffee to create it. The six kinds of chocolate could refer to the different parts of the cake itself such as the mousse, the ganache, and the sauce. It may not be totally accurate to the Chocolate Stampede, sure, but it seems to be a perfectly good substitute in all due respects.