Saturday, November 4, 2017

Beyond Burger

I recently caught the end of an interview on the radio. It was an interview with Ethan Brown talking about his company, Beyond Meat, and his efforts to create a plant-based protein that can be a meat substitute (though he would shudder at that description). The company makes a burger that is starting to show up in supermarkets. But the company actually started with frozen bags of plant-based chicken.

Brown's philosophy and approach are different from others in this market. Rather than focus on creating a pretty good meat substitute (as I described it earlier), he is setting out to make meat out of plant products. To him, it's an important change of perception. He is not looking to make a meat substitute. He wants to make meat out of plant-based products. Plant based version of the same
ingredients that you find in meat. Wanting to have a legacy of doing good in the world is Brown's main motivation. He also believes that marketing matters. You won't find the Beyond Burger over with the other meat substitute products. Instead you find them in the meat section right next to ground beef. Because, to him, it's meat and it should be in the meat section of the supermarket.

The protein comes from peas. Pea protein isolate, to be exact. The animal fat is replaced with canola and coconut oils.

So after hearing the interview, I kept my eye out at the supermarket. I've had the Beyond burger twice now. Both of the times I've made them I just used a stove-top, non-stick skillet. I haven't yet tried to barbecue them. Like ground beef burgers, everyone has different preferences on how they like their burgers. I can see that this product can be similar. The directions say to cook for 3 minutes per side. This
seemed too short for me. I cooked it a few minutes longer in order to get some browning on the outside. Even though I cooked it longer there was still some pink in the center (courtesy of the added beet juice).

I also appreciated that almost all of the packaging could be composted or recycled.

The latest version, pictured here, was made with melted cheddar, pickles, lettuce, mayo, and mustard all in between a fresh ciabatta bun. Do yourself a favor and skip those mass-produced burger buns and get some high quality bread instead. No matter what's inside.

The Beyond Burger taste is very good and satisfying but not 100% like eating a beef burger (which I haven't had in many years). The appearance and the texture are very close to beef burgers. But after having years of Morningstar, Garden Burgers, and other substitutes, I would say that Beyond Burger is a giant step forward.