Outback Jacks

Thursday 9th January 2014 Location: Australia

Type: Test of: | Cuisine: | Meat: | Food: , , , Type: Test of: | Cuisine: | Meat: | Food: , , ,
“Jack’s Challenge” steak eating challenge
Host/venue: Outback Jacks
Available: any time (check opening hours)
Booking: unknown if notice required
Address: (not provided)
Contact: website , Facebook , YouTube , Twitter , Instagram 
Food: 1kg steak + wedges + veggies      (no total weight listed)
Time limit: 30 minutes
Cost: (no cost listed)
Reward:t-shirt, half price (but some variation by state)
See the Location links above or Tags at the end below for other information
“Jack’s Challenge” steak eating challenge
Host/venue: Outback Jacks
Available: any time (check opening hours)
Booking: unknown if notice required
Address: (not provided)
Contact: website , Facebook , YouTube , Twitter , Instagram 
Food: 1kg steak + wedges + veggies      (no total weight listed)
Time limit: 30 minutes
Cost: (no cost listed)
Reward:t-shirt, half price (but some variation by state)
See the Location links above or Tags at the end below for other information

Outback Jacks Bar & Grill (OBJ) is a national Australian steakhouse chain/franchise which hosts the “Jack’s Challenge” and also an annual national competition. They are located in every Australian state and territory apart from Tasmania, and growing.

Their menu describes the challenge as: “…prime 1kg aged rump, minimum 100 day grain fed, served with potato wedges and steamed vegetables.” Though the chain has different menus  for each state, the challenge is offered at every store with a strong consistency. They are not all perfectly identical, I remember some places serve more beans and less carrots, making it quicker to eat if you’re racing. But overall it is very consistent.

The weights are commonly stated as 1kg for the steak, 500g for the wedges, and 500g for the veggies. However this is generous! As in any restaurant, “steak weights are pre-cooked weights” as the OBJ menus all state, to their credit. There are a lot of wedges and contestants typically say these are the real killer. As for veggies, the serving is not particularly big plus I don’t count the weight of the finished corn cobs.

The challenge is named after “Jack” who is a 10m crocodile sculpture and the restaurant’s mascot.

As of early 2014, the challenge cost $49.95 in most states, and $54.95 in WA, according to the menus. All menus list a t-shirt as the prize, in addition to either a discount or voucher: half price in Qld  and WA ; free in NSW , Vic , and SA ; and a voucher for your next visit in the NT .

Outback Jacks have also run an annual website  since 2012. This was won by Shannon Barron  the first year, then Josh Moss  in 2013. The qualifying period is the month of July, just go in to your local OBJ’s, ask about the national competition, and set a time. One person will be chosen to represent each state where there are OBJ restaurants. This may be via a chain of “knockout” finals, e.g. local store final, then state final; or it may be the fastest time goes straight to the national final. For the final, the 6 state winners (maybe the ACT was included as part of NSW?) are flown to the location, which was the Gold Coast in 2012, and Sydney in 2013. They paid for our flights and accommodation!

The stores vary in their level of involvement, for instance Adam, the former manager of the Glendale (Newcastle) store, made his 2012 store final a big event, with a table for the eaters in the center, and lots of people stood around cheering etc. Having attended another competition (hot dog comp…) run by him, I can say it was one of the best! Also Glen, the manager of the Mermaid Beach (Gold Coast) store, was very enthusiastic and supportive of myself during the 2012 comp. On the other hand, Browns Plains (Brisbane) said in 2013 they weren’t supporting the national competition, although they do still offer the regular challenge.

The prize is a trip for two to either the NRL or AFL, the winner chooses. The chain has donated around $10,000 to the Starlight Children's Foundation  each year.

History

The first Outback Jacks restaurant opened in Tamworth in September 2005, and was franchised just 3 months later. Owners  Graeme and Denise Diamond has been planning it since 2002, and had prior experience owning and operating a pub in country Victoria in the 1980s. The business has headquarters in the Gold Coast, Qld, and locations  around Australia, and have even mentioned possible future expansion into New Zealand.

(Tamworth is a particularly fitting place for an Aussie steakhouse, because as someone said there’s a steakhouse on every corner there, and it’s also the home of annual Tamworth Country Music Festival  which is an icon of country Australia.) OBJ claim  to be the “fastest growing steakhouse chain in Australia”.

In April 2010 they reported  growth had been concentrated in Queensland where there were 8 stores with 2 more opening soon. They had 2 stores in South Australia with 1 more on the way, and 3 in Western Australia. They acquired 5 stores fromĀ Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon  in Sydney and nearby, with intention to rebrand. All up, a total of 25, they said.

The company also owns Lone Star Rib House in Tuggerah, NSW (Central Coast).

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