Skip to Main Content

Start Traegering With 0%* APR Financing  |

Shop Now

Plant-Based Meat Alternatives: The New Generation of Grilled Veggie Burger

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy the new generation of plant-based meat options like Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger. But cooking these items isn’t like cooking a traditional burger or sausage.

In this guide, we will explain plant-based meat solutions – what they’re made of, why they’re different from other veggie burgers, and how to cook them.

What Are Plant-Based Meat Substitutes?

Plant-based meat substitutes are processed mixtures of ingredients like soy, grains, legumes, and other plant types that are mixed and shaped into burgers, sausages, nuggets, and a variety of meat-mimicking products.

Plant-based meat substitutes have actually been around for centuries (tofu has been a Chinese go-to for over 2,000 years).

Although meat substitutes haven’t historically been designed to perfectly match the taste and textures of the meats they’re supposed to replace, grillmasters have recently been partnering with some innovative food scientists to create a new generation of plant-based meats that come a whole lot closer to recreating the juicy deliciousness of real, grilled meats.

Cutting-edge pioneers like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have started rolling out some pretty incredible plant-based meat substitutes that look, feel and taste like the real thing. With the natural smoking power of a wood-pellet grill, you can transform any of these futuristic meat-free creations into the stuff of BBQ legend.

What Is the Impossible Burger?

The Impossible Burger is a 100% vegan-friendly and gluten-free burger produced by the California-based startup, Impossible Foods. Developed by a team of over 100 scientists, engineers, and researchers, the Impossible Burger is composed mostly of soy protein with added sources of fat (like coconut and sunflower oil) to give the burger patties a nice, juicy sizzle on the grill. What really sets Impossible Burger apart is the use of heme, which is a molecule found naturally in all living things, but especially animals. It’s what gives meat its meaty taste and aroma. Impossible was the first to devise a way to use heme to make plant-based products taste truly “meaty”.

The actual list of ingredients is pretty long and a little scientific, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

The recipe has been tinkered with a bit as the company has progressed with Impossible Foods transitioning from wheat-based protein to soy in 2019, so the burgers could be gluten-free.

What Is Beyond Meat?

The Impossible Burger is a 100% vegan-friendly and gluten-free burger produced by the California-based startup, Impossible Foods. Developed by a team of over 100 scientists, engineers, and researchers, the Impossible Burger is composed mostly of soy protein with added sources of fat (like coconut and sunflower oil) to give the burger patties a nice, juicy sizzle on the grill. What really sets Impossible Burger apart is the use of heme, which is a molecule found naturally in all living things, but especially animals. It’s what gives meat its meaty taste and aroma. Impossible was the first to devise a way to use heme to make plant-based products taste truly “meaty”.

The actual list of ingredients is pretty long and a little scientific, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

The recipe has been tinkered with a bit as the company has progressed with Impossible Foods transitioning from wheat-based protein to soy in 2019, so the burgers could be gluten-free.

Beyond Meat is an LA-based startup that was founded in 2009 with the goal of finding a mass-market solution capable of replacing our big taste for animal proteins with delicious plant-based substitutes. Beyond Meat is probably Impossible’s biggest competitor in this arena, and the products of both companies are now widely available across the U.S.

Beyond Meat’s flagship product is the Beyond Burger.

Beyond Meat’s scientists have created their own unique meat substitute by taking all of the core parts of a choice cut (like amino acids, lipids, carbs, and trace materials) and using a simple process of heating, cooling, and pressure to create a fibrous and layered meaty texture that does a fool-proof job of mimicking the real thing.

The company compares their processes to creating fresh pasta from scratch. They aren’t inventing scary chemicals or weird additives. These scientists are simply matching up plant equivalents against naturally occurring elements within meats, and then mixing and compressing the ingredients before shaping the final product.

The end result could fool just about any carnivore on the block -- but we’ll talk about taste tests in a sec.

What’s the Difference Between the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger?

The Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger are both tasty, hi-tech meat substitutes, and in terms of basic ingredients, they’re actually pretty similar. The key difference between the two substitutes is in their primary source of protein. The Beyond Burger is mostly composed of pea protein while the Impossible Burger’s main protein source is soy.

The Beyond Burger also does not include heme which is what the Impossible Burger uses to mimic the meaty flavor and aroma of a real, juicy burger patty. Instead, the Beyond Burger gets its meaty color from natural beet extract.

Beyond the protein source and coloring, both burgers share a relatively long list of naturally-occurring, plant-based ingredients.

What Is in Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger?

Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger both feature a long list of plant-based ingredients. Beyond Meat’s primary ingredient is pea protein, while the Impossible Burger instead uses soy. Just to cover all of our bases, let’s quickly break down each product’s full list of ingredients.

Stick with us, because we can’t even pronounce a couple of these.

Beyond Meat Ingredients

Beyond Meat’s flagship product, the Beyond Burger, is a combo of water, pea protein, canola and coconut oils, rice and bean proteins, and potato starch. It also includes cocoa butter, apple extract, vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, pomegranate powder, beef juice extract, and salt, as well as a few more complicated-sounding ingredients like methylcellulose, potassium chloride, sunflower lecithin, and other natural flavors.

Impossible Burger Ingredients

Beyond Meat’s flagship product, the Beyond Burger, is a combo of water, pea protein, canola and coconut oils, rice and bean proteins, and potato starch. It also includes cocoa butter, apple extract, vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, pomegranate powder, beef juice extract, and salt, as well as a few more complicated-sounding ingredients like methylcellulose, potassium chloride, sunflower lecithin, and other natural flavors.

Impossible Burgers contain water, soy and potato proteins, coconut and sunflower oil, food starch, salt, soy leghemoglobin (heme), yeast extract, methylcellulose, and dextrose.

Unlike the Beyond Burger, the Impossible Burger is heavily fortified with added vitamins. That means you should expect to see mixed tocopherols, zinc gluconate, thiamine hydrochloride, sodium ascorbate, niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, and riboflavin in your ingredients list. Those are just super fancy ways of saying the burger’s got a few different kinds of vitamin B and C.

Both burgers come in just under 300 calories per serving, and include about 20 grams of protein and roughly 400 milligrams of salt. The Beyond Burger is a little bit fattier at 20 grams of fat compared to just 14 grams in the Impossible Burger. Apart from that, both offerings are nearly identical (and if wood-fired just right, pretty delicious).

Because it’s a bit more widely available at this point in time, the rest of our guide is going to focus on the Beyond Burger rather than the Impossible Burger. But don’t worry. Pretty much all the same rules and methods apply to both products when it comes to grilling and plating them.

Does Beyond Burger Taste Like Meat?

Yes, the Beyond Burger tastes like meat. The Beyond Burger has been taste tested by just about every food critic under the sun, and they all come back with close to the same answer: You might get the ghost of a coconut aftertaste (which makes sense given the burger’s ingredients list) if you’re eating it plain, but the general consensus is the Beyond Burger is as close as you could possibly get to beef without eating the real thing.

Those added oils give the Beyond Burger a savory and familiar (almost slightly greasy) feel that your mouth expects in a meat patty. And if you wanna get the full effect in terms of taste, you have to make sure you’re grilling this bad boy right.

Where to Buy Beyond Meat

You can buy Beyond Meat in over 35,000 grocery stores and restaurants across the U.S. The company’s plant-based products are on sale at places like Target, Sprouts, Safeway, ShopRite, and Giant just to name a few. There are even some restaurants like TGI Fridays, Carl’s Jr., A&W, Subway (and more) that have started to offer their own take on the Beyond Burger or its sister products.

If you’re trying to get your hands on the Beyond Burger so you can try it for yourself on the grill, your best bet is to use the company’s store finder.

How to Cook Beyond Meat Burger

You can buy Beyond Meat in over 35,000 grocery stores and restaurants across the U.S. The company’s plant-based products are on sale at places like Target, Sprouts, Safeway, ShopRite, and Giant just to name a few. There are even some restaurants like TGI Fridays, Carl’s Jr., A&W, Subway (and more) that have started to offer their own take on the Beyond Burger or its sister products.

If you’re trying to get your hands on the Beyond Burger so you can try it for yourself on the grill, your best bet is to use the company’s store finder.

Once you’ve got your hands on a couple of the Beyond Burger patties, it’s time to cook your Beyond Meat burger. Just like a typical beef patty, the best way to cook your plant-based burger is on the grill.

If you want to inject your Beyond Burger with a bit more flavor, you should use a wood pellet grill if you can. Why? The truth is not all burgers are created equal, and when it comes to a wood-fired burger versus a gas-fired or charcoal burger, there’s no comparison. The smoky flavors from cooking over 100% natural hardwoods adds incredible depth to every bite.

Wood pellet grills are also more versatile, easier to control in terms of temperature, and have a smoke consistency that means cooking your Beyond Burger will be hassle-free and won’t need a lot of clean up. You can easily gas grill or pan fry your burgers if you don’t mind missing out on those mouth-watering smoky tones, but you’ll need to keep a closer eye on them to make sure you’re not overcooking.

Can You Marinate Beyond Burgers?

You can definitely marinate Beyond Burgers. You can also work herbs and spices into your Beyond Meat patties because they’re designed to feel like normal beef rounds. That makes them easy to flatten, mold, mix, and rework with all sorts of ingredients in them.

This also gives you some creative license to adventure beyond a pinch of salt and a crack of black pepper, so you should definitely think about mixing it up to create some genuine meat-free magic. Check out our top burger tips for a bit of inspiration.

Can You Cook Beyond Burger on a Grill?

Once you’ve got your hands on a couple of the Beyond Burger patties, it’s time to cook your Beyond Meat burger. Just like a typical beef patty, the best way to cook your plant-based burger is on the grill.

If you want to inject your Beyond Burger with a bit more flavor, you should use a wood pellet grill if you can. Why? The truth is not all burgers are created equal, and when it comes to a wood-fired burger versus a gas-fired or charcoal burger, there’s no comparison. The smoky flavors from cooking over 100% natural hardwoods adds incredible depth to every bite.

Wood pellet grills are also more versatile, easier to control in terms of temperature, and have a smoke consistency that means cooking your Beyond Burger will be hassle-free and won’t need a lot of clean up. You can easily gas grill or pan fry your burgers if you don’t mind missing out on those mouth-watering smoky tones, but you’ll need to keep a closer eye on them to make sure you’re not overcooking.

Can You Marinate Beyond Burgers?

You can definitely marinate Beyond Burgers. You can also work herbs and spices into your Beyond Meat patties because they’re designed to feel like normal beef rounds. That makes them easy to flatten, mold, mix, and rework with all sorts of ingredients in them.

This also gives you some creative license to adventure beyond a pinch of salt and a crack of black pepper, so you should definitely think about mixing it up to create some genuine meat-free magic. Check out our top burger tips for a bit of inspiration.

Cooking Beyond Burger in a Pan

The same goes for pan cooking. Heat a greased skillet over a medium-high heat or 400 degrees F on the grill, place your patties, and cook for about three minutes per side. Just be careful not to overcook, or you’re going to end up with a dry burger.

In fact, just plan on keeping a close eye on your Beyond Burgers, use your trusty meat thermometer. Beyond Meat recommends you aim for an internal temp of around 165 degrees Fahrenheit (just above the USDA’s recommended 160 degrees for real beef burgers).

Can I Cook Beyond Burger From Frozen?

The same goes for pan cooking. Heat a greased skillet over a medium-high heat or 400 degrees F on the grill, place your patties, and cook for about three minutes per side. Just be careful not to overcook, or you’re going to end up with a dry burger.

In fact, just plan on keeping a close eye on your Beyond Burgers, use your trusty meat thermometer. Beyond Meat recommends you aim for an internal temp of around 165 degrees Fahrenheit (just above the USDA’s recommended 160 degrees for real beef burgers).