We tried one of those Beyond Meat plant burgers and here's what we thought

They're gonna be big, but will they satisfy my beef needs?

January 26, 2018

Never thought we'd get to the point where I'd be convinced enough to try a burger made of plant protein. But here we are!

My dad loved grilling and had a few regulars up his sleeve for our natural gas grill. I know there are tastier ways to grill, but that's what I grew up with and that's what can still make my mouth water. My favorite was always cheeseburgers. Mom would get ground beef, make a bunch of patties, and send em outside on wax paper with my dad, a hot grill waiting. 

My memory has a fixed routine that I'll always think happened every time - dad would put the burgers on, wait the requisite 3-minutes before flipping 'em, come inside to sit down, and four minutes later would inappropriately exclaim some simple expletive. "&*$@*!" He'd spring to his feet and rush outside, loading up that oversized plate that I haven't thought about in twenty years. Hot burgers covered in American cheese would go by, moments later the smell of grilled flesh would catch up to my nostrils. Dinnertime.

Fast forward to my 30s. I married a beautiful woman who doesn't eat meat or cheese and is allergic to eggs. Her diet options seemed impossible to a life-long bachelor with nothing but beer, ketchup, and hot dogs in his fridge. She still misses burgers since she last ate one in the freakin' 90s, and for me, I miss burgers 11 minutes after I finish eating one. The options for burger substitutions are just mushed up beans or whatever - not bad necessarily (as long as they're not cardboardy), but not what I want.

Now, here we are in a new age where plant-minded food scientists are seeking ways for people to eat less meat without having to give up their old favorites. With companies like Tyson Foods investing part of the $55 million recently raised for Beyond Meat burgers (read about it), my wife and I decided to give it a shot. She was excited, I was skeptical but optimistic that I could be surprised. And boy was I!

Full disclosure, I tried these on the outdoor grill with mixed results. This is round two, prepared inside in a frying pan and it turned out way better, but as my wife notes below, it will be nice once I learn to grill them outside.

Four minutes per side later we have a cooked burger.

How it performed rated by a meat eater (me) and a vegan (my wife Lori):

Me: Make me another.
Lori: smokey, delicious, yummmm

Me: That perfect squish.
Lori: Meaty and moist OR not cardboard!

Me: Definitely not meat.
Lori: Cook it outside.

Me: Ok but pricey.
Lori: Totally worth it!

Look at that, the color is alright. It looks burgery on the inside. It goes great with pickles. And I didn't go cheese because I wanted to taste this sucker without the overwhelming awesomeness of an American cheese slice!

All in all, this burger still isn't beef. It's like eating a turkey burger: I'm in, but something's just not quite right. For me, that's the smell. It's so close to perfect and the idea that something made from plant proteins is 90% there blows my mind. I would completely recommend this to anyone who is curious about the new craze or just to vegetarian and vegan friends who want in on the patty action. If you're one of those close-minded meat people, don't spend the money just to mock it on my Facebook!

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