High-tech food: Do something good for Earth Day and swap your beef for Beyond Meat’s incredible plant based burger

What the heck is food doing on a tech website? I could recommend you do something good for Earth Day and recycle your old smartphone. I could also recommend you swap out your old school watering meter with a high-tech one from b hyve that will help cut back on water usage and save you money at the same time. There are hundreds of things you could do for Earth Day, but one of the easiest is to try a different kind of food. A high-tech food. Technology brought us the internet, self-driving cars, modern medicine, smartphones, and awesome gear that we’re addicted to. But it hasn’t done much for food. Global hunger is still an issue. Water consumption is becoming more of an issue each day; so much so that even Cape Town is almost out of water for the entire city. Current farming techniques are polluting oceans, rivers, lakes, and the air we breathe. And, as much as I hate to say this, killing animals is cruel.

I say killing animals is cruel, yet I’m a complete hypocrite because I still eat them almost daily. No, I don’t have it in me to slaughter a chicken or cow just so I can understand the cruelty I’m putting animals through. I get it. There are no excuses for me to eat meat, except it’s a habit that I honestly love. I love a great steak. I love carne asada french fries which is a San Diego staple. I love burgers. I love meat.

With Earth Day 2018 upon us this April 22nd, I thought to myself, “what can I do for Earth Day that’s tech related?” I already have smart switches and smart appliances. I recycle my unused smartphones and gadgets. While ordering from Amazon Prime Fresh, which recently acquired Whole Foods, I stumbled upon a burger from a company called Beyond Meat that my cruelty-free friends have been telling me about for months. Beyond Meat makes a high-tech meat replacement and sells its products through Whole Foods which I got through Prime Fresh. I grabbed the 0.5 pound burger patties (1/4 pound each) for $4.99 (The Beyond Burger) and figured this would be a great way to eat less meat.

What is the Beyond Burger?

According to Beyond Meat’s website, the Beyond Burger is the world’s first plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and tastes like a fresh beef burger. It comes with 20g of plant-based protein derived mostly from peas and is soy and GMO free. It uses beets for the natural red coloring that also provides “bleeding” when the burger is cooked and opened. The food scientists at Beyond Meat have refined its products over 7+ years and aims to truly replace meat with something that doesn’t taste like a vegetable patty.

In honor of Earth Day, and the people who have inspired me to do my part to make this a better place (Natalie Williams and my niece Keragan), I ate two Beyond Burger patties to see if I could save a cow while saving water and air quality.

Is the Beyond Burger legit?

I make a damn good burger, as told to me by my family and friends. I prefer using ground chuck that I have the butcher grind for me fresh. It offers a 15-20% fat ratio which is essential to making a quality burger. The fat helps the meat fry itself (I prefer a pan than a BBQ) and develop a nice rich crust. Fresh ground meat also doesn’t come with the award smell that store ground beef does, nor does it come with all of the junk to keep it red and from rotting.

The Beyond Burger out of the package has a similar color to ground beef, but it’s obvious to this meat eater that it doesn’t have the exact look of fresh ground chuck. That’s to be expected though since I have yet to see any other patty that looks like beef, including turkey, pork, chicken or fish burger patties which are all meat. The smell of the raw Beyond Burger isn’t quite beefy either, but no one will eat this patty raw so none of these observations really matter much anyways.

After bringing my frying pan to temperature ( I use medium heat), I dropped the Beyond Burger patties and was instantly surprised to see the fat melt and render just like a typical beef patty. As you can see in the image above, the melted fat is what fries the bottom of the meat replacement. My biggest question was would the patty develop a crust just like beef does? After letting the patty sizzle on the pan for about four to five minutes, I flipped it and saw a nice crust.

The Beyond Burger literally cooks identically to beef in a frying pan. I dropped some cheese on the second patty (after flipping it), put a few squirts of water in the pan and covered it to melt it.

I set up my Dave’s killer bread with condiments and lettuce and made quite a San Diego style burger. (Honestly though, I’m a bachelor and we have to use a whole loaf of bread in many ways and I didn’t want to buy burger buns when I had plenty of bread).

After setting up my completed burger I thought it looked pretty darned appetizing.

I cut the patty without cheese in half to reveal a nice medium cooking temp similar to how I cook my beef burgers. After cooking and looking closely, you can see minor details that don’t perfectly match up to beef, but again, I don’t think anyone cares about those fine details. I tried a bite of the unseasoned patty and was surprised that the texture is almost identical to real beef. I’d say it’s 98% there when just trying the Beyond Burger, and the taste is 95% there where I can taste the beet juice. This is kind of an unfair test as no one really buys beef patties to eat without the bun, condiments, cheese, lettuce, onions, and tomatoes.

So how did the complete burger package taste?

It was incredible. It was so good that I’m going to swap out all future beef burgers for Beyond Burgers when I cook at home. The texture, combined with the crispy exterior and soft interior, and an uncanny taste similarity to beef had me thinking I may not have known this was a veggie patty if someone else had cooked it for me. The next time I go home to visit my family, I’m going to cook one of these up for my dad who would never eat this if he knew about it ahead of time. I’ll see if he can tell the difference and my bet is he won’t know what hit him.

Several hours after eating my burger, I don’t have the feeling of a brick sitting at the bottom of my stomach too. I feel great, have energy and don’t feel like taking a nap.

The true test

Taro. She’s my Lab/German Shepherd mix that only eats meat. She eats a raw diet that consists of bison and beef as a result of skin allergies of dry dog foods. Taro isn’t one of those dogs that eats everything in front of her; I’ve tried veggies, fruits, and certain grains and she just won’t eat them.

Taro smelled the Beyond Burger for one second and tried to eat it while I took a picture of her. I held it back and she grabbed it anyways.

When I went and sat to eat, she followed me for more.

Do the world a favor and give Beyond Meat Burgers a try

The Beyond Meat Burgers are $4.99 for two patties and can conveniently be purchased from Whole Foods, Amazon, or other select retailers. They look and taste like the real deal, and the best part is you feel good after eating them. Well, that’s debatable because by swapping out a beef patty for a Beyond Burger, you’re saving water from two months of showering, using far less land to create this product, and are working towards solving global hunger one bite at a time. In honor of Earth Day 2018, give your taste buds a shock.

Oh yeah, and go recycle your unused smartphones.

Learn more about the Beyond Burger at www.beyondmeat.com.


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