Outback's new 'swicy' menu embraces the sweet-heat trend

The “Sweet Heat Season” Menu runs through Oct. 31 at the casual-dining chain, with hot honey leading the food-and-drink lineup.
Hot Honey Shrimp
Hot Honey Fried Shrimp is one of the new offerings on Outback's Sweet Heat Season Menu. | Photos courtesy of Outback Steakhouse.

The hot honey trend keeps on building buzz, with Tampa, Fla.-based Outback Steakhouse the latest chain to join in with its new “Sweet Heat Season” Menu.

The limited-time menu, which runs from July 26-Oct. 31, boasts several items with a sweet and spicy flavor profile as well as returning favorites and signatures.

“We’re excited to offer guests a diverse menu that complements the summer season,” said Becky Boyd, director of menu innovation & strategy at Outback’s parent company, Bloomin' Brands. “Given Outback’s signature, bold flavors, the ‘swicy’ trend is a natural fit for us and appeals to all our guests because of its balanced flavor profile.”

Among the swicy food choices are Hot Honey Fried Chicken and Hot Honey Fried Shrimp, both featuring Outback’s house-made hot honey sauce. On the drinks side, there’s a Hot Honey’Rita accompanied by an at-home recipe so guests can shake up the margarita at home.

Hot Honey Rita

Guests can add hot honey to taste when they order Outback's Hot Honey Rita cocktail. 

In the spirit of personalization, Outback serves the hot honey sauce on the side so diners can adjust the level of sweet heat by adding more or less to their dish or drink. The Hot Honey ‘Rita is served with a stirring dipper to make it easy.

Hot honey first started on its menu trajectory several years ago, when Brooklyn brand Mike’s Hot Honey began appearing on the table at local pizzerias to drizzle on a pie. Pizza is probably still its most popular application, with mega-chain Pizza Hut introducing a Hot Honey Pizza just this week, but it also shows up in chicken, breakfast sandwiches, grilled seafood, ribs and cocktails.  

According to Chicago-based market research firm, Datassential, hot honey’s on-menu growth is projected to outpace nearly all other culinary and beverage flavors over the next four years.

Outback’s Sweet Heat Season Menu isn’t limited to sweet heat; it also taps into nostalgia. “We asked guests what menu items they missed most and heard their response loud and clear,” the chain said in a statement. The fan-favorite Wedge Salad is back, featuring a giant wedge of iceberg lettuce with sliced cherry tomatoes, red onion and classic blue cheese dressing.

And in keeping with Outback’s Australian theme, there’s a new dessert on the menu—the Tim Tam Sundae. Tim Tam is an Australian “bikkie” (chocolate-covered cookie) that is exclusive to the chain and has won over Outback regulars.

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