[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]
- Impossible Burger
- Beyond Burger
- MorningStar Farms Grillers Original Burger
It seems like every other day, another company comes out with another plant-based burger meant to replicate meat, trying to tap into the popularity of meat-substitute products made by the likes of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Many of them (such as the soon-to-be-released and hilariously named Incogmeato, from the Kellogg Company’s MorningStar Farms brand) specifically seek to make their meat replacements not just tasty but “bloody,” copying the Impossible burger’s now-infamous ability to burst with pink juices in a convincingly meat-like fashion.
Frankly, every time I hear about yet another bloody plant burger, whether it’s the bleeding Impossible burger, the honestly un-sanguine Beyond, or the hemorrhaging Incogmeato, I think of nothing so much as W. T. Goodge’s poem “The Great Australian Adjective.” We say as long as a meat-replica burger is _ _ _ _ delicious, bring it on.
With that out of the way, and no further ado, here are the results of our third and final taste test of veggie burgers available on the market. This time, we’re covering the meat-replacement burgers, both bloody and un-bloody.
How We Chose and Tested the Products
When we set out to taste-test plant-based burgers, we decided to break our tests down into three more manageable categories: garden-style veggie burgers, black bean burgers, and imitation-meat burgers.
We chose to exclude all burgers that are designed to be poultry substitutes, so any product that described itself as, say, a “tofurkey burger” or a “chik’n patty” was omitted from the tests. (Use the comments to lobby us for a review of these products if you truly believe such a thing would improve your life.) You can find the rundown of our favorite supermarket veggie burgers here and the write-up of our favorite supermarket black bean burgers here.
We did our best to purchase as many nonmeat burgers as possible, from both online grocery services like FreshDirect and stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, as well as from a number of supermarkets in New York City. While we weren’t able to test every single meat-burger alternative out there, we did manage to include most prominent, nationally available brands.
In total, we tested 18 vegetable-based burgers, seven black bean burgers, and eight meat-analogue burgers. We’ve indicated below whether each meat-analogue burger tested is vegan or not.
In trying to determine what qualified as a “meat-analogue” or “meat-replacement” burger, we relied on packaging and branding. Some were straightforward picks, such as the Beyond Burger, which markets itself as a plant-based meat replacement. But others, like the Boca Burger and the Quarter Pound Veggie Burger from Amy’s Kitchen, were chosen for inclusion after we’d considered their level of similarity to burgers like the Beyond, particularly in the way they are presented to consumers, and how dissimilar they would be to the very vegetable-heavy, garden-style veggie burgers we considered in our first taste test.
Given the high profile of the Impossible burger, and the fact that the company plans to offer its product at retail stores in the fall of 2019, we also reached out to Impossible Foods and requested a sample to test alongside the supermarket meat-replacement burgers. We received a five-pound brick of Impossible “meat,” which we made into four-ounce patties according to instructions provided by the company.
(Those who’ve been reading Serious Eats for a while will recall that Kenji tested out both the Impossible…