After about 20 years, I finally got a new BBQ grill. I had been threatening the family that I would do it, and I finally went ahead and got myself an “early Father’s Day gift.” The funny thing is, my daughters are not huge fans of meat. They are ok with chicken, somewhat, and fish, and even pork occasionally. So, they were incredibly excited to try out some Impossible Food burgers (and I was quite curious to see how the grilling and taste experience of the Impossible Burgers would be as well). (*Disclosure below.)
Both of my younger daughters have taken an Environmental Science class in high school. And both of them have come out of these classes saying, “we have to eat less meat!” and they would rattle off a bunch of scientific and environmental reasons that were a bit over my head. Impossible has actually created an entertaining and educational website for kids to learn how to educate their backward and old-fashioned parents (like me) about the importance of keeping our planet healthy. Just take a look at The Birds and the Trees and there are several simple chapters that discuss various items designed to help talk to parents about climate change. Below is the teaser video from that site:
I trust my kids to keep me on track when it comes to the environment and saving the planet. So, they have, as I said, been pushing us to eat less red meat. I’m a huge hamburger fan…so I was a bit reluctant. But I’m willing to try new things. My response was, “ok, well, give me something that smells, tastes, and acts like a burger, and we will grill that.”
What is Impossible Foods anyway?
How can you have something that looks, cooks, and tastes like a burger but has no red meat in it at all? First, let me say that I normally write about tech and gadgets on my site. So, writing about food…how does that work? Well, there is A LOT of technology involved in the creation of Impossible Foods non-meat, meat. It’s all about Food Technology.
According to Impossible, there is an essential molecule called Heme which is in every living plant and animal. This molecule supposedly “makes meat taste like meat” but is also present in plants, just not a prevalently. It is an iron-containing molecule that exists in your blood and grabs oxygen from your lungs, and distributes it throughout your body.
According to Pat Brown, founder and CEO at Impossible Foods, the craving for meat is actually the body’s craving for Heme and the iron and protein that it represents in the diet. So, all of this is science-based. Impossible’s mission is to be scalable, sustainable, and safe yet produce yummy plant-based meats in the process.
I highly recommend you read more about the science and technology behind the making of Impossible Foods and Impossible Burgers (there are other Impossible products as well, like sausage and pork – all made from plants).
What are Impossible Burgers REALLY Like?
So, what are Impossible Burgers REALLY like? Could you trick someone into thinking they were eating or even cooking a traditional meat-based burger instead of a plant-based burger? I’m going to go out on a limb here as say YES.
I received a sample pack of Impossible Burgers and ground “meat” to test it all out. And, since I’m a burger fan, I went straight to telling the family we would be having burgers for dinner, AND, that it would be the maiden voyage of my new grill.
I will walk you through the unpacking and cooking process. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to smell or taste the end result, so I hope that the pictures will help fill in the blanks.
You can purchase the Impossible Burgers in pre-measured burgers that are ready to cook. (I haven’t tested out the ground meat version yet…perhaps on a taco night or if I make spaghetti.) As I went through the process of cooking the Impossible Burgers, I kept coming across some great differentiators and even a few advantages.
Here’s one: you don’t have to thaw out the Impossible Burger fully. Yes, you can just put it on the grill frozen if you need to. It does help to thaw it out – I did that by just leaving them overnight in the refrigerator. With meat-based burgers, it is usually recommended that you don’t cook frozen meat patties because you have to ensure the meat is cooked well enough to kill out bacteria.
Guess what? Impossible Burgers aren’t meat, so you don’t have to be as religious about cooking to that pre-defined temperature to kill that bacteria. I wouldn’t recommend under-cooking anything though. To cook the Impossible Burgers, it is 2 minutes per side at Medium-High to High heat for thawed patties. For frozen ones, it’s 4 minutes per side.
If you have the ground-up version of the Impossible meat, you can add your own spices, or onions, or hot peppers, or whatever to it. For my initial test, we just did the pre-measured burgers as I said – we would add the other assortments later.
The raw Impossible Burgers actually look and feel like burgers. They are not a single consistency nor color, and they even seem to have “fat” globules within the “meat.” To my unprofessional eye, they looked like meat burgers…they were even a bit “bloody!”
After heating the grill, I just slapped the Impossible Burgers on. They popped and sizzled and smoked just the way you would expect a meat burger to. There were even little flare-ups from the grill.
After a few minutes (I actually waited more than 2 minutes for the first side as this was my first time grilling Impossible Burgers), I flipped them over. My new grill was able to make some great sear marks!
I continued to cook them – things were smokey and smelling great – just like what you would expect. Next came the cheese! And I toasted some artisanal buns as well.
The one thing that I did notice about grilling the Impossible Burgers was that they didn’t shrink as much as traditional meat burgers. I honestly hated when I grilled regular burgers, and they would shrink up and be essentially hidden in the bun. The Impossible Burgers pretty much maintained their size – so when you had your burger, it was truly a burger and not a bun with some meat in it. You can clearly see this in the photo above (and I did actually overcook the Impossible Burgers slightly – but they didn’t shrink).
Next up came all of the garnishes! We kept things pretty traditional with condiments, pickles, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce. Next time, I will probably experiment more with different types of toppings like hot peppers or grilled onions or something like that – my mouth is watering just writing this!
So what about the Impossible Burger taste?
I have to say, I really liked the Impossible Burger. It had the consistency of a meat burger (even even though I over-cooked it slightly). You can, actually, have the Impossible Burger be a bit pink in the middle – remember, it’s not meat.
It smelled, tasted, and chewed like a meat burger. So much so that I actually had two of them. And how did my family like them? They loved them! And, my daughters were happy to be eating something that was plant-based and sustainable.
To be completely candid, I had tried another plant-based meat burger. It was pretty good as well. But, one of my daughters and I both got quite gassy a few hours later. Hmmm. Did that happen with the Impossible Burger? Nope! And I wolfed down two of them.
I will leave you with the image above to make your mouth water and get you hungry! I do highly recommend you go to your local supermarket (or you can order directly from Impossible) and pick up a grilling pack of patties.
Disclosure: I have a material connection because I received a sample of a product for consideration in preparing to review the product and write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item after my review period. All opinions within this article are my own and are typically not subject to editorial review from any 3rd party. Also, some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate” or “advertising” links. These may be automatically created or placed by me manually. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item (sometimes but not necessarily the product or service being reviewed), I will receive a small affiliate or advertising commission. More information can be found on my About page.
HTD says: With quite a bit of tech, Impossible Foods has made their Impossible Burgers a truly mouth-watering experience, complete with all of the taste, smell, looks, and feel of a meat burger, but without the meat – saving our planet in the process!