Beyond Burger

Beyond My Expectations

Another blog post about something beginning with the letter "B" that I swear isn't a coincidence, but I believe you will like my review of the Beyond Burger. In terms of believing, I didn't think that I would like the Beyond Burger, but here I am singing its praises. It's well deserved for a product that is surprisingly good. I never would have known that if Memphis and the rest of America didn't get "snow bombed" last week that kept many of us at home. With me not making a grocery run prior to the Snowpocalypse, I was without any food in the fridge. Thankfully, after getting rebuffed by other delivery services, GoPuff stepped up as a lifeline in delivering my grocery needs. And with that, a newfound appreciation for veggie-based "meats."

SIDE NOTE: I didn't have much of a choice in protein selections, for GoPuff doesn't offer traditional meats like beefs/steaks, chicken and pork other than bacon, hot dogs and deli meats. That's because GoPuff relies on its own inventory for fulfilling orders as opposed to relying on stores to fulfill orders. While I like this method, it is a bit limiting to the consumer. However, when you're stuck in a blizzard, what are you going to do? Especially if you don't have transportation, getting what you can from services like GoPuff beats walking in a snow storm. That said, I tip my hat to the ladies of GoPuff who drove through the snow and ice to deliver my groceries. I salute you (and my friend Jessica (currently bartending at Local on Main Street) for recommending the service to me).


Beyond Burger

The package the Beyond Burger came in (plastic and cardboard paper) was environmentally friendly in the sense it was recyclable, so I guess I did my duty in fighting climate change. Of course, being eco-friendly wasn't my intent in getting the Beyond Burger but I like being an occasional positive force for the environment. My goal was to eat and satisfy my appetite, and the Beyond Burger did that.

The Beyond Burger package that I got consisted of two patties that weighted four ounces each. Visually, the pink patties with white speckles looked weird, akin to something that I've seen on sci-fi shows. The patties' texture was soft and pasty, which wasn't surprising given the many ingredients it took to make it. Cooking the Beyond Burger patty seems simple if you follow the instructions on the package. However, my first attempt at cooking a patty didn't go well.

On the instructions for cooking the Beyond Burger, it states that the patty should be cooked in a pan for four minutes on each side on "medium high" heat. As far as I know, there is no established definition for the temperature of "medium high" heat. On my induction cooktop, that's 375 degrees Fahrenheit, which is too hot for a Beyond Burger. I didn't realize that I was burning my burger patty until I started to smell something similar to burnt plastic. At that point I knew I had to flip it immediately, which proved difficult because the Beyond Burger patty stuck to my non non-stick pan. Eventually, the burger patty turned out okay but I knew that I needed to make adjustments in my second attempt in cooking the veggie burger.

In my second attempt, I decided to go off script in an effort to getting the Beyond Burger right. First, I sprayed my pan with PAM, the non-stick cooking spray that's popular in the culinary business (of course, you can use a non-stick pan that doesn't require this). As for temperature, I set my induction cooktop to 350° F to reduce the possibility of burning (even when the patty cooks properly, it still gives off a strange smell). For cooking time, I initially set it for three minutes but realized that I needed to cook it four minutes per side like the instructions state. This time, I got much better results, for both sides generated a brown appearance on both sides of patty while emitting a substance that looked like blood (another weird instance in cooking this veggie burger). After I removed the burger patty from the pan, I sliced off a small piece to get a taste. While it didn't taste like ground beef, it had meaty flavor. Specifically, it tasted like Salisbury steak, which was better than I expected. In the end, after putting together my Beyond Burger with a toasted bun, a slice of tomato and non-veggie stuff like cheese and mayo (and ketchup and mustard), the burger was quite tasty. Along with Zapp's potato chips, this turned out being a good meal that I wouldn't mind having again.

Based on this experience, it seems the veggie burger has gone "beyond" the days of mushroom and bean burgers that were passed off as alternatives to beef burgers. With the plant-based "meat" industry constantly getting better in developing products for its industry, it's only a matter of time before it becomes viable for consumers. As an old fart who still prefers real meat, my experience with the Beyond Burger and experiences at restaurants like The Liquor Store, I am more open to eating meat alternatives. Although I doubt it will replace actual meat, adoption of plant-based meat alternatives on any level will help Earth mitigate climate change. In the long term, doing that benefits everyone, something that I'm down with.


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