Tenshot: Beyond Burger, Home Edition

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Michael Cain

Michael is a systems analyst, with a taste for obscure applied math. He's interested in energy supplies, the urban/rural divide, regional political differences in the US, and map-like things. Bicycling, and fencing (with swords, that is) act as stress relief.

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22 Responses

  1. Avatar DensityDuck
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    says:

    It doesn’t make sense to you because it’s not for you. These are for selling to Burger King to replace the commodity beef patty in your Whopper. The Impossible Burger is another candidate, and I actually like them better, because they taste more like actual burgers–at least, actual steam-table burgers that you’d get in Burger King or Carl’s Junior. Beyond Burgers still taste like not-beef (not exactly plants, but not definitely not beef.)

    You’re right that it’s not as good as bison or elk, but that isn’t what they’re going for.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to DensityDuck
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      says:

      Burger King doesn’t buy in two-packs from Kroger, so Kroger must have a different market in mind. I haven’t figured out anything that makes any sense to me yet. I wouldn’t think that there was much of a market for meat-free Burger King patties at home. Of course, Kraft has gotten rich selling boxed mac-and-cheese with stale pasta and cheese powder, so what do I know?Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Michael Cain
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        says:

        The people creating these substitutes are thinking more about the rainforests being plowed under and how we might stop that happening, and one way is to get a “burger” that’s made from plants but close enough to beef that people looking for cheap fast food won’t care.

        They’re building a brand. Right now they aren’t losing money, they’re spending it, and what revenue they get from sales is mostly just offsetting costs.Report

  2. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
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    says:

    The veggie burgers I’ve liked in the past (I haven’t tried these) are the ones that don’t try to be like meat. Something that’s not meat trying to pass itself off as meat seems gross to me. I’ve changed over the years, however, and it doesn’t seem as gross as before, but it still seems gross.Report

  3. Avatar Morat20
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    says:

    “We didn’t add any of our usual seasoning. Did melt a slice of provolone on each patty, mayo and a slice of tomato with the bun. Fresh corn-on-the-cob for a side dish; okay, it came in a husk that hadn’t dried out, but at this time of year, probably not really fresh. Later in the season we’ll get picked-the-same-morning corn.”

    That was your basic mistake there. Beyond Meat and impossible burgers work for things where the meat isn’t the prime flavor. Ground beef, in general, is a vehicle for other flavors. The “bland taste” is lost in a burger that’s more seasoned or has more on it.

    Which is why it’s being aimed at replacing ‘restaurant’ burgers, in general. Stuff from chains (fast food to upscale), but not for ‘gourmet burgers’ so much. Certainly not to replace things like steak, or burgers that are built solely around the beef taste.

    I’ve had it at chains (even a few burgers-only places) and it’s been fine enough. I’m curious how it’d do in something like a meatloaf.

    But if I was doing Hank Hill style “taste the beef” burgers, I’d use something else.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Morat20
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      says:

      One of the things I didn’t try, out of fear that if I messed with the patty it couldn’t be reassembled, was to see if it was suitable for mixing seasoning throughout rather than just sprinkling on top. Also in hindsight, it strikes me that pan frying to add a bit more fat and crisp the edges up better might help.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Michael Cain
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        says:

        I hear the BM sausages aren’t bad, and my wife tends to do meatloaf with beef and sausage.

        BM is pretty fatty, but I wouldn’t trust it to bind by itself, but I think meatloaf tends to use eggs to bind anyways. I don’t think the patty is prone to breaking apart, but I’ve only eaten the things, not cooked with them.

        Nutritionally, it’s a little more fatty, a little more salty, and has some carbs (not much, like 5gs, so it’s really not an issue). No cholesterol though.

        I’ve got no real problems subbing in BM for beef in most burgers I eat. It tastes fine, and I tend to load up burgers anyways (tomatoes, onions, pickles, mustard, sometimes jalapenos and at rare times a fried egg…)Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Morat20
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          says:

          Yeah, my meatloaf recipe depends on an egg to do most of the binding. Given the way the burger cooked on the first side, I was afraid to try smashing it with a spatula on the grill, which is fairly normal for actual ground beef. Might have been completely safe, but the appearance made me nervous that the whole thing would come apart.

          Too many things set off my wife’s IBS, so I can’t load the burger up with too much stuff, so depend on the flavor of the meat. The Beyond Burger wasn’t good in that situation.Report

        • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Morat20
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          says:

          I could probably google it, but do you know offhand whether the fat in Beyond Meat is mostly saturated or unsaturated? (I don’t like to use the abbreviation BM because, well, you know….)Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to gabriel conroy
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            says:

            Since its my post, this article compares fats/sodium/etc for a Beyond Burger, an Impossible Burger (note 3 oz patty), and 85% lean ground beef. The veggie burgers aren’t necessarily better for you (and if sodium is a problem, quite a bit worse). I think densityduck has it right up above — the selling point is to provide a good-enough alternative to a beef patty to shrink the beef industry and its climate impact.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to gabriel conroy
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            says:

            4oz Beyond Meat Patty:

            Calories: 270
            Fat: 20 g (5 g sat fat)
            Sodium: 380 mg
            Carbohydrates: 5 grams
            Fiber: 3 grams
            Sugars: 0 grams
            Protein: 20 grams

            The big winners for BM are environmental (it’s about 10% the impact as beef, on pretty much any axis from land use to water use to waste) and the lack of cholesterol.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Morat20
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          says:

          “I hear the BM sausages aren’t bad”

          please don’t use this acronym

          but *especially* not for *sausages* (barf.jpg)Report

  4. fillyjonk fillyjonk
    Ignored
    says:

    What all is in them? That’s my concern with these kind of commercial meat-substitutes. (I am a carnivore but don’t have issues over eating vegetarian some or even much of the time). I have some weird allergies…celery, carrots, some mushrooms, miso, mild sensitivity to soy….so it makes a lot of those pre-made things questionable for me. (I hate to be That Woman standing in front of the open freezer case reading all the tiny print).

    I do have a homemade black-bean patty recipe (beans, bread crumbs, onions, chili powder, garlic, egg) that, while you KNOW it’s beans and not burger, it’s very good as it is. I make it several times a month because it’s fast and good and reasonably nutritious. I also just found a “bean loaf” recipe using pinto beans I want to try….I think for me, if I’m eating veg., I’d rather it more honestly be vegetables than pretending to be meat.Report

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to fillyjonk
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      says:

      I looked at the website and hunted around and…yeah, seems like they hide the ingredients beyond saying “no soy.” That’s an issue for those of us with weird allergies. (Soy and gluten are no longer considered “weird,” but mushroom and celery allergies are). I get them wanting to protect their recipe but I wouldn’t try something like this without knowing for sure what was in it…Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to fillyjonk
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        says:

        Here’s the list for the burger: water, pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, contains 2% or less of the following: cellulose from bamboo, methylcellulose, potato starch, natural flavor, maltodextrin, yeast extract, salt, sunflower oil, vegetable glycerin, dried yeast, gum arabic, citrus extract (to protect quality), ascorbic acid (to maintain color), beet juice extract (for color), acetic acid, succinic acid, modified food starch, annatto (for color).

        I believe their claim to fame is less the ingredients than the process for fabricating things.Report

  5. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    I’ve had them on three occasions. I found the patty to be both reasonably tasty (seasoned) and to have a remarkably similar texture to the ground beef burger patties I’d make and grill myself at home. It felt and mostly tasted like a ground beef burger.

    There’s also a technique, and I don’t know what it is (I speculate that deep frying may be involved) of making tempeh into something pretty close to the consistency of bacon. Add enough salt to it and smoke it for a little while and it tastes reasonably like bacon too.

    Take those things, and throw on some BBQ sauce and a couple of onion rings, and you’ve got yourself a vegan western burger. And if you’re like me (and I know I am) a couple slices of avocado are welcome there too. Maybe that’s what I’ll get for dinner tonight…Report

  6. Avatar George Turner
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    says:

    I think they’re completely misreading the market.

    Arby’s is rolling out vegetables made out of meat.

    Insider.com story

    It looks just like a carrot, and tastes a lot like a carrot, but it’s made out of turkey.

    NSIDER had a chance to taste the Marrot ahead of its public reveal, and it was shockingly reminiscent of a carrot in both taste and appearance. The turkey-based pseudo-vegetable had a sweet maple taste with earthy, herb-filled undertones. The only major difference between the Marrot and a traditional carrot was the crunch of the vegetable. Instead, Arby’s megetable had a crisp, glazed coating with the tender interior of a well-prepared turkey breast.

    I think most vegetables could end up being made out of meat, once we put our minds to it, and that this is really where veganism is headed.Report

  7. Avatar Damon
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    says:

    I’ve never understood the desire to make something not meat look and taste like meat. It’s not meat, it’s something else. Sell it for what it is. And the ingredients? Ugh. Reads like a bad science experiment. Pass. And yeah, I’m not buying something that fails to disclose what it’s made of. Afraid you’ll scare off customers?Report

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