The market for meat substitutes is wide and varied – and not entirely made up of obnoxious people who will tell you what they don’t eat, and why, at the least provocation.
There’s me, for instance. I am an avowed carnivore. The double-bacon cheeseburger is my spirit animal. My birthday cake looks like this.
But, deep in my heart, I know that such a delicious and nutritious diet is not sustainable – not for me or for the planet. So, I am ready to listen to (well, taste) alternative suggestions. For something burger-y, but not liable to contribute to the early demise of my aforementioned heart…or the rainforests.
And mostly, I want the solution to not be the god-awful turkey burger.
I chose this one as my test subject.
My selection method was as follows: This is the one that my grocery store was pushing.
I make no pretense at complicated consumer journalism here. But, at least you can be assured that this is not a paid advertisement. I mean, I would totally take money to do this. I’m not an idiot.
But this one is totally my own work.
On opening, the burgers look like meat. This is more important than you might think. To get my people to eat this – the people who want to eat meat – then we need to be fooled…or convinced. The look, the feel, the texture – these aspects of the experience are essential to get me to eat fake-meat. The Beyond Burger was there.
In the pan, they looked like this:
A little smooth, a little too perfect. A little small. But they still look like burgers, right? And they smelled like burgers, too. I cooked them to the recommended temperature – I used a thermometer in cooking for the first time ever…
…and they finished up looking like this. They seem designed to char a little. Which was a plus point in my book.
But, patient, non-existent reader, you want to know only one thing: How does it taste?
Short answer: It’s OK.
The positives: As I said, they seem to really be going for that fried-meat taste. The char, as well as the crunch on the outside, were good.
The not-positives: It’s just not quite there. The inside was a little too smooth, a little too processed. The taste is still artificial.
But…it’s closer than the last time I ventured into the world of faux-meat. It’s heading in the right direction. I am confident that the non-meat burger will be a regular part of my diet in the next 5 years. Would I prefer a beef burger? Sure. But would I have these again? Probably. In the choice between these and the hateful, accursed turkey burger, these win hands down. And that’s a start.