My fake meat bar is set low.
With the exception of mock duck and tofu, my criteria for fake meat products is “Does this taste gross?” No?! Then I guess I like you, I think.
Jake recently got a charcoal grill. We’ve been having a lot of fun grilling on the weekends. He chose an assortment of turkey burgers and brats from Costco. I decided to try grilling Beyond Burgers, a hyped-up vegetarian meat substitute free from soy or gluten and high in protein.
Dietician Abby Langer wrote a recent post about Beyond Meat that caught my eye. She discusses whether or not it’s a “healthy” choice and examines the ingredients, some of which include pea protein, canola oil, coconut oil, rice protein, mung bean protein and methylcellulose (a soluble fiber).
The closest grocery store to us that sells them is Lunds & Byerlys. I knew this product cost more than real meat, but was a little taken a back at the price – inside of the package ($5.99) which I would normally expect to contain a pound of ground beef held two little patties.
In the photo above, the cooked Beyond Beef patties are the smaller ones near the center of the pan.
The product looks like ground beef and has a similar texture. Beyond Meat claims they did not design them to “bleed” but that the beets cause this effect.
From what I’ve read, you don’t want to overcook these patties. But if you don’t, the Beyond Burger patties oozes a red liquid that looks like bloody beef. For some reason this grosses me out more than real beef blood juices.
We cooked the Beyond patties as long as we cooked the turkey burgers – I didn’t want to remove them from the grill until they stopped releasing the juice.
I curiously tasted a tiny piece of the burger as it cooked on the grill. It reminded me of the smell of my dog’s food.
Once the patty seemed cooked all of the way through, this pet food taste and smell seemed to go away.
I added the typical accoutrements to my patty. The outside crisped from the grill and the inside had a meat-like texture. I did wish the patties were thinner, but maybe you could smush them yourself.
The thing is that I couldn’t bring myself to eat the leftover burger. I feared the cooled, day old patty would give me pet food vibes again.
In summary? I enjoyed eating the Beyond Burger. But I don’t want to eat another one.
I’m not quite sure who it’s for – it seems too meat-like to appeal to vegetarians and vegans. However, it tastes worse than real beef. Of course, what I think doesn’t really matter – if you like it, you should enjoy it! Personally, I don’t need a veggie burger to mimic meat. I just want it to taste good.