Everyone loves burgers, but until recent years, vegans and vegetarians were given the option of laboriously constructing wheat and bean cakes, gnawing on T.V. dinner-grade soy protein, or pretending that portobello mushrooms, for all their charms elsewhere, can replicate the joys of a meat patty by substituting selenium water for animal fat (we're sorry, portobello, we love you, but stay in your lane. If you must imitate meat, then become jerky).
Enter the new Beyond Stack Burger from Beyond Meat, the latest iteration of the company's — for our money, peerless — plant-based burgers. The company's positioning this lower-fat take on its legume-protein patties to take advantage of the rising popularity of the smashburger at restaurants around the country: Doubtlessly because smashing is the superior burger cooking method.
For those who want to bite into plant meat and keep on biting, the Beyond Stack is your burger to stack multiple patties minus the multiple macronutrient blowouts. But all of that only matters if it tastes good, right? So let's get into it.
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Ingredients And Nutritional Information
As with the first edition of this plant patty, the Beyond Stack Burger is comprised of pea, bean, and rice proteins and standard vegetable oils quite literally juiced by beets for color and flavor, amid some other micronutrients and potato starch for binding and texture.
However, it has just 10 grams of fat instead of 14 and reduces each type of fat across the board. It also uses 260 milligrams of sodium instead of 390, which can only help defend Beyond Burger against the criticisms leveled at it as a healthier option to beef burgers. And to be fair, once you salt a burger, its salt levels tend to be comparable to what comes stock in the Beyond patties.
One detriment to this edition compared to the original is that it only offers 12 grams of protein versus the 20 in the standard patty. And, of course, there are no antibiotics or hormones used in growing the peas and fava beans.
Where The Beyond Stack Burger Sold And How Much It Costs
You might not have the Beyond Stack Burger near you, as it's rolling out initially through Kroger, Ralphs, King Soopers, Fry's, and Smith's grocery stores. If you're firmly in Wegmans and Stop & Shop (or Giant) country, you won't even see these patties as an option.
If you do find it in the wild, a suggested retail price of $10.99, putting it on par with the classic Beyond Burger mixture, though the past year has seen the latter fall in price. If plant-based meat on a budget is still your priority and Impossible Burger or Dr. Praeger's won't do, you're going to want to stick with the original Beyond Burger. That said, this is six patties — nearly a pound of plant burger — for $11, compared to our local N.Y.C. Whole Foods Market listing $5.29 for a two-pack of the original recipe, $15.79 for the Cookout classic 2-pound eight-pack, or $7.69 for a pound of the stuff that you'll have to shape yourself: All of which sticks the new patties squarely in the span of the old ones, depending how much and what format you buy.
How Do You Cook The Beyond Stack Burger?
This version is designed to be cooked smash-style, though it does come, perplexingly enough, in existing frozen patties rather than fridge-temperature smashballs. With the smashing part already done for you, this... wait, these are just patties then, right? Regardless, Beyond recommends searing the Beyond Stack Burger in a skillet to get a burger in your face six minutes later. That's it! You can turn on a stove, so you already know how to make these. You won't need to invoke your smashin' technique. If you want to get fancy with some plant-based meat tips and tricks, go for it, but, otherwise, you're good here.
One note: You might hear tell of a Beyond Smashable Burger, but, as far as we can tell, this is identical to the Beyond Stack. A Beyond spokesperson tells us the mitigating difference is the Smashable cooks up thawed, whereas the Stack is intended to cook from a frozen state, but we're not hearing of any different ingredients or composition. It sounds like the Smashable is just different packaging with the expectation of faster turnover.
How The New Beyond Stack Burger Tastes
We tried the new Beyond Stack Burger at a wellness influencer conference call with the Beyond PR team, and we absolutely could not stop eating it, even with all the other options laid out, like Beyond Sausage with grilled onions and mustard, plus some very tasty Beyond Steak spring rolls and fajitas. The Stack Burger absolutely scratched the Big Mac itch.
But sure, you say to your screen like a lunatic, it's easy to make anything taste good with special sauce and onions. True and fair, true and fair. But permit us to wax on the taste and texture here.
The Beyond Stack burger simply does a better job of replicating the pleasant springiness of real beef better than any other vegetarian burger out there. Period. And it does so with a much better taste than its competitors, which tend to deliver an earthy under-note to their products we'd say is akin to a bean-flavor vape. The Stack Burger lacks that. It's juicy, tasty, and frankly addictive. Building off how easy it is to schnarf its predecessor, that's a hard statement to emphasize. We housed more of these than we'd like to admit during the course of the presentation.
How Does The Beyond Stack Compare To The Original Beyond Burger?
Tasted side by side, the Beyond Stack Burger has a chew that the first version, for all its virtues, lacks, and the structure of the proteins feels more beefy. Looking at it close up, the "grind" looks less like tiny tubes. Flavor-wise, it has less of that signature seared coconut oil smell and taste that version 1.1 offers even after getting restructured to have fewer flecks of "marbling" throughout.
Regardless, if the original Beyond Burger was never your thing, the Stack Burger gets even closer to the beefy experience, saving what works from the original article while adding new attributes that make it an even better hamburger substitute. It might be the same cost or half again, depending on how much Beyond you keep in your freezer, but it's a negligible cost increase in the course of a year even if you're eating veggie burgers weekly.
All in all, Beyond is really at its strongest when innovating and developing ground meat replicas — the chicken tenders were rightfully retired in 2019 (supposedly, though they remain on the Beyond Meat website). Although last year's debut of Beyond Steak turns out some really tasty tri-tip replica nuggets, and the jerky tastes legit, so perhaps whole-muscle analogs aren't a dead dream yet and we'll get a chicken strip version that doesn't disappoint one day.
Is The New Beyond Stack Burger Worth Buying?
Oh, absolutely. As with the original Beyond Burger, this one satisfies on a level that other plant-based meat just can't touch. Sorry, Impossible, but you still taste floral no matter how much you bleed — though we reserve the right to disagree with ourselves regarding which is the best plant burger.
Beyond's had tough times in recent years (its stock cratered last autumn, triggering layoffs) amid relentless hammering from the meat industry that, frankly, ignores the plant meat's straightforward ingredients, so it's good to see it return to its strength in the ground meats department. Regardless, you might want to stock up on these awesome Beyond Stack Burgers now, both to ensure more get made with wider distribution, and that there's still a company to produce them. As for us, we're going to go locate the nearest Kroger and see if they ship interstate.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.