Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Impossible Burger is going to change the world

I had heard about the soy-based Impossible Burger a long time ago but they are not yet widely available.  Burger King is launching a pilot program offering Impossible Whoppers (the original of which just happens to be my favorite fast-food burger) but they are only available in the midwest at the moment.  Happily, it turns out that a number of smaller restaurants are offering them where I live, and today I got to try one.

It's not as good as a regular burger.  It's better.  It really does taste like beef, but that description doesn't really do it justice.  Because it's made of soy, which is bland, they have to spice it up (literally) to make it have any flavor at all, and their secret recipe of eleventy-two herbs and spices (I'm guessing) is just incredibly tasty.  It's subtle.  The beefy flavor is the definitely center stage (courtesy of added heme), but it doesn't taste like beef that is straight out of the package.  It tastes like beef that has been lovingly seasoned by Thomas Keller to just the point where none of the additions stands out, but the whole is much, much greater than the sum of its parts.  A bit of thyme, a touch of sage, a hint of smokiness.

But the flavor is not the best part, it's the texture.  It not only tastes like beef, it looks and feels like beef, but without any gristle or stray bits of bone and tendon that you sometimes find in some less-than-highest-quality cuts.  Every bite is uniformly perfect, what you'd get if you hand trimmed the absolute finest prime sirloin you could find.

I think this product is going to change the world, not necessarily because it's healthier than beef (the jury is still out on that) but because it's so much more environmentally friendly to produce.  Beef production wreaks holy hell on the environment.  Offering people a greener alternative that doesn't require any compromise in flavor or texture, indeed improves on the original, is going to be huge.  The Impossible Burger is the Tesla Model S of meat.


Peter Donis said...

I personally prefer pea protein-based products like Beyond Meat. From what I have found, soy protein is not very good nutritionally compared to pea protein; the latter is much closer to actual meat. But I agree with the general idea that finding substitutes for meat protein is a good thing to do.

Don Geddis said...

I've had meat-loving friends try the original Impossible Burger ... and their review was not as complementary as yours.

But they're just coming out with the Impossible Burger 2.0, which is supposed to be a dramatic improvement. (Nobody I know has been able to sample it yet.)

Do you know whether you were trying 1.0 or 2.0? (You seem surprisingly enthusiastic, for the 1.0 version!)

Ron said...

I have no idea which version I had.

Publius said...

GMO Impossible Burger Tests Positive for Glyphosate

Publius said...

An tangential comment on a lightly commented post.

It would be nice to have a place to post ongoing questions.
Here is an example.

Ron - what do you think of:
Quantum Leaps, Long Assumed to Be Instantaneous, Take Time?

Also - as ideas to post on - how about some posts on space robots? Aren't you an expert on those? Say, perhaps a post on how it is determined which systems need redundancy, and how much redundancy.

Jeremy said...

Alas, the large environmental impact of animal husbandry is in doubt. For instance, US beef production accounts for ~4% of emissions, agriculture as a whole ~9% (numbers are larger, i.e. less efficient, globally). And fixed cattle populations produce a fixed amount of emissions through time, rather than the increasing inputs of transportation or construction. See Frank Mitloehner for more -- and much debate on this topic.

Ron said...

I am told by sources I consider reliable that grass-fed beef is actually quite environmentally friendly. But I still like the I-burger :-)