(Fake) Burger Time!

It’s Burger time!

The burger was the first food I learned to cook — on the grill. Before that my specialty was Lunchables pizza, hot dogs, Bagel Bites and other microwavable dishes. As a kid I wasn’t a huge fan of burgers, I thought of them as a meatloaf sandwich and I guess I was sick of all the meatloaf.

It wasn’t until I saw the movie Good Burger that I finally craved a hamburger (those Mondo Burgers looked mega delicious). Leaving the theater, my mom took us straight to the King of all burgers (Burger King). That’s when burgers instantly became one of my favorite meals (Thank you, Kenan and Kel).

Cut to a few years ago, where the vegans are trying to encroach on my burgers with a new challenger — The Meatless Burger!

Sure, we’ve seen this before in many forms: mushroom burgers, black bean burgers, eggplant burgers, quinoa burgers. But the Impossible & Beyond burgers and all these plant-based alternatives are something totally different. They aren’t burgers for vegans, they are vegan burgers for meat eaters disguised to look, taste and feel like real meat burgers.

Of course, at first I thought, “No thank you.” But, after hearing reviews I became intrigued or maybe it was just disbelief. I thought, a fake plant-made burger can’t taste anything like the real thing.

*Disclaimer: I’ve only tried the Beyond Burger, I haven’t had the pleasure of trying the Impossible Burgers, or even the Impossible Whopper (however, I still one day hope to eat an Impossible Whopper and regular Whopper back to back for
a true taste test).

I recently cooked up some Beyond Burgers (I buy them when I see them on sale) using two different methods, BBQ grill and stove top. They were both seasoned the same way (sea salt, black pepper and some Lawry’s seasoned salt). They also had the same exact toppings (ketchup, mustard, pickles and American cheese).

SKILLET COOKED

Cooking a Beyond Burger in the skillet is great, a cast iron is even better for a crispy, crusty exterior. I use ghee (unclarified butter) for the high smoking point. It doesn’t burn or get any burnt nasties in it while heating up.

Sometimes the grill may not be accessible: it may be rainy, maybe you don’t want to smell like BBQ, perhaps you’re just lazy. Many factors come into play. But the skillet is a fine way to get a good flavor, but the “planty/non-burger” flavor comes out more in this method.

I also warmed the bun in the toaster oven to create a nice, soft pillow for my burger to lay on.

BBQ GRILLED

The grill is fantastic for Beyond Burgers. You can get it real hot and cook your patty pretty quickly. The fire gives it more of a charred/burger taste. It also hides the “planty/non-burger” flavor much better.

You can also toss some cheese on the patty towards the end of the grilling phase and let it melt (this also works on the skillet, better when covered, but the grill gets that cheese extra melty). I also love tossing my burger bun right on the grill, insides face down, getting it warm and a little crispy.

THE VERDICT

When it comes to fake burgers, grilled is the way to go (if you can). The skillet comes in close second (of course it does, those are the only two methods I tried). It still tastes kind of like a real burger, just a little less than when grilled. However, if you’re really craving a burger, I say just have a real meat burger, but these are still a fine alternative to try something new.

REAL BURGER TALK

I used to be a grilled meat burger fan, but I’ve recently become more of a skillet burger cooker (and eater). I like my diner-style burgers, cooked in hot ghee and preferably on a cast iron skillet. The cast iron may fog up your whole kitchen with smoke, and be a pain to clean at times, you also may burn yourself a bit, but it’s all totally worth it. If you don’t own a cast iron skillet, it’s definitely time to invest in one (especially with all the cooking we’re all doing now while stuck at home).

I’m not telling anyone to eat these fake meatless burgers. I’m just saying if you want to try them (and you find them on sale) they aren’t so bad. Also, don’t let the Beyond Burgers make a fool of you, there are only two patties per package. That’s one reason why I only buy them on sale. For the price of two you can get four or even six meat burgers, and I’m talking good quality meat.

Thanks for listening, enjoy your burger (however you enjoy it)!

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