I finally got to try the fabled Impossible burger when it became available at Trader Joe's. First, note that the package is 12 oz. NOT 16 oz. Mine came frozen so I took it out of the freezer the night before to defrost in the fridge.
Out of the package, it's much more desirable than Beyond Burger. Beyond smells like cat food and it's offputting, to say the least. This has an aroma but it's not repellant at all and is mild. It's easy to form a patty, just put it on wax paper to make transferring to the pan easier.
I made 2 burgers, one on Monday and one last night and prepared them similarly but adjusted on Wednesday after Monday's results.
Burger 1 (Monday) 2.75 minutes a side on medium-high heat with a touch of olive oil in the pan, salt and pepper while in the pan as I read that salting early can cause moisture loss. Served on a Brioche Bun simply with Stilton Cheese and Mustard. I have to say that for my tastes 2.75 minutes a side is too long. The inside was pink-ish but the moisture and juices were lacking. There is a nice crust that forms on this, and it's noteworthy how easy a crust forms. The flavor was overall good. Surprisingly good. The texture was also good. It's not beef, but it leaves one with a surprisingly satisfying beef-like experience.
Burger 2 - Wednesday. 2m one side and 2 m 15 seconds the other. The photo shows the clear difference in color inside from less cooking time. This time I did what I did with my turkey burgers. In the pan, once the oil coating (olive) was applied I sprinkled Trader Joe's Umami powder (a mix of mushrooms and also includes onion, mustard seed, red & black pepper, and thyme) and a few drops of Maggi Sauce. The redness on the inside is clearly better with just a minute less cooking and the juicy factor was improved. The combo of the medium-rare and seasoning mix elevated this one to a whole new level. The umami punch of the powder and the Maggi sauce elevated it and made it "beefier." It was delightfully satisfying. Again, there is a little "somethin' somethin'" missing that reminds you when you're not looking for it that this isn't actual beef, but honestly, it's still a remarkably good "burger" experience and quite satisfying. This is how I recommend preparing the burger and I plan on doing it again. I liked it that much.
Crust - be aware that the crust is a good thing but it cooks quickly. It can get closer to black very quickly. Burger 2 which as you can see in the photos is medium-rare was pushing black on the outside after 2 minutes because the flame was a bit hotter than it was on Monday. It doesn't taste burned but you still want it to warm the inside so adjust accordingly. And the crust is one of the plusses of this product. It isn't the same as a beef crust but again, it's close-ish and it's very good.
I'm comparing it to 2 things. A beef burger and turkey burgers. For me beef burgers are a rare treat and I indulge in them at a restaurant. They are an indulgence better done by pros. I have no intention of being healthy when I indulge in a burger (my fav is Super Duper Burger and that cannot be beaten by home cooking)
So mostly I'm comparing this to my staple, Trader Joe's frozen turkey burgers which I eat once a week and prepare with the umami powder / Maggi seasoning as I did with burger 2. I liked it a lot and it's more "beefy" than the turkey burgers which is a treat.
The 12 oz. vs. 16 oz packaging - this means that there are 2 6 oz. burgers per pack. I know people say to make 3 oz. or 4 oz. patties. I disagree. The moisture level is key as is the medium-rare factor. That just can't be done with smaller patties as they get overdone and dry very quickly. I don't care for that, and I don't care for the quasi-deception by omission of the 12 oz. package. It's on the label (in intentionally small print and intentionally not highlighted) but we're conditioned to believe a brick is 1 lb. and IMO they know full well about this they didn't do anything overt to address that or dissuade people from that assumption.
Beef vs. Impossible. Nope, it's not beef. The chew is slightly different, the moisture level is for now far away from the best juiciest beef burgers. BUT, it's still a very good, tasty burger experience. So much so I'm going to buy it again. The chew is good, as is the flavor, and if you cook it medium rare there is enough moisture to pass. It will not knock your socks off with "beefyness" but if one isn't paying attention one will forget it's not beef. If you look for it, it'll be "visible" on your palate. That said one doesn't get that food coma logy feeling after eating it like one would get with a beef burger either. The body feels "clean" and not weighed down afterward. That's a nice benefit.
Impossible vs. Beyond. No contest. I don't like Beyond. Beyond is dry, smells like cat food "raw", has an aftertaste, doesn't cook medium rare even with short cooking times, doesn't form as nice a crust and the body feels "icky" for a lack of a better term for hours and into the next day after eating it. It seems to be a physical reminder that one is eating something un-natural or artificial. Impossible has almost none of that, it's no contest. Every factor is no contest, including the most important - flavor.
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