As the world’s foremost meat blogger (according to myself), I am generally of the notion that vegetables need to be avoided and subbed in for meat or animal products at almost all times. Yet, when I was given the opportunity to head to The Counter in Phoenix and try out the Impossible Burger, I could not pass it up. But here’s where it gets weird, you see, the Impossible Burger is completely vegan.
What?! Yeah, I know, but here’s the thing: it’s not made for vegans. It’s actually made to taste as close to a burger as possible, using things like potatoes, wheat and a protein called “heme” that they claim to be the differentiator. You can order it cooked however you like it, just like a real burger, and runs the right shades that beef should.
The Counter has their own recommended ways to eat the Impossible Burger in salad and regular burger form. But, you can also order it customized in the classic Counter way. My wife and I got to try them as recommended and then to build our own.
I won’t spend too much time on the way they were recommended, other than to say they were not for me. First off, salad, so no. Second off, the burger was topped with crap like tomatoes, onions, greens and tomato jam that the herbed goat cheese, dijon balsamic and English muffin could not overcome. But this was all fine, because for my version, I went with bacon, gouda, a fried egg and gochujang aioli. This seemed to me like the best way to test out a vegan burger made for meat eaters.
The result was certainly something. For nearly all intents and purposes, it looked like meat. The same went for the texture, which was nothing like the hockey pucks you might come to expect from a vegan patty. Even the flavor seemed to be pretty on par with a normal burger, but it certainly helps to be dressed up with things like bacon and cheese. If it were just straight up a burger and a bun it might have been more noticeable, but who wants to eat that way with a beef burger anyway?
Probably my biggest complaint is that it just wasn’t as juicy as a burger should be. Was this The Counter’s fault? I don’t know. So I’ll have to have more of these to really find out. But truthfully I’ve had real beef burgers that were far worse than this.
The Impossible Burger clearly has a better impact on the environment, and that is something that really matters to me. The trouble is that it also comes with a heftier price tag. The Counter prices it at about $5 more than your standard beef patty, which puts it in line with premium burger options like Bison. Hopefully as the people behind the Impossible Burger scale up, they’ll be able to bring that price down, because if you’re after meat eaters, they aren’t going to pay a premium price for something that is nearly, but not quite as good as beef. For an extra buck, perhaps.
Regardless, I want to see the Impossible Burger succeed. I love my meat, but if the world can put together food that tastes like meat, is easier on the environment and costs about the same, I am very down with it, despite having a meat blog.