Vegan beef tartare is Beyond™ the pale
Uncooked Beyond beef tastes less like beef and more like cat food
Hi. It’s Davida!
As this is my first post here, I’ll begin with a disclaimer: Having been with Dennis for over 3 years, I have absorbed much of his expansive food knowledge, and thus all of the observations recorded here are fully informed and 100% accurate.
At the risk of sounding like I’m on Buzzfeed’s payroll, realistic vegan meat substitutes are having a moment right now.
With chains like Burger King and White Castle jumping on the bandwagon, and producing some actually fairly convincing fare, it really feels like a game changer. But to me, it also still feels like a novelty. And I fucking love novelty. Having been somewhat involved in some of Dennis’ dumbass antics, I have developed a new habit of, whenever I come across an interesting food item, immediately thinking, “How can I break this?”
Our answer today, reader, is that we made vegan steak tartare by using Beyond Beef.
I wanna start this off by saying I’m 100% cool with raw meat, beef, specifically.
I grew up in Wisconsin eating raw ground beef sandwiches (with butter, salt, pepper, and raw onion on a Sheboygan hard roll—ironically, this is one of the few dishes that Dennis “Human Garbage Disposal” Lee won’t touch).
I also like ordering my steak obscenely rare, because it tastes good and also to impress and intimidate those around me. It has worked too well, and I am followed around at all times by three or four pretentious men and at least one stray dog.
Because of these caveman preferences, when I suggested to Dennis that we make vegan steak tartare, I felt like a genius, a veritable wizard of irony. I wish I could preserve that golden moment of pride, to live in it forever. Mostly so that I wouldn’t have to endure the actual result.
Dennis picked up the ingredients: a package of Beyond Beef, chives, capers, cornichons, brown mustard, and a bottle of JUST Egg, a plant-based egg substitute.
And yes, those are all CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE THAT IS HOW THEY NAMED IT.
Before we proceeded to the main event, we tried the “eggs” by themselves. Dennis scrambled them in olive oil.
“Olive oil is optimal for eggs because it has a low smoking point, correct?” I cheerfully asked Dennis, echoing something I had half-remembered from reading somewhere.
“No,” he said, and we moved on.
Before I poured the JUST Egg into the frying pan, I smelled it.
I thought it smelled like the soap that comes in bubble-blowing kits. Dennis thought it smelled like mung beans. This is probably because it is made out of mung beans, and hopefully not soap.
The texture of the cooked “egg” invoked a perfectly passable La Quinta continental breakfast, the kind you inhale gratefully after 3 hours of sleep in the middle of Kansas while on your way to anywhere but Kansas.
The, dare I say it, mouthfeel, became more believable the longer it was cooked. The flavor, however, was slightly off and I felt it was overwhelmed by the taste of the olive oil.
“Maybe we should try butter,” I suggested, completely forgetting what the fuck we were even doing.
Next, we opened the Beyond Beef, which has a distinct smell reminiscent of Fancy Feast, but probably worse.
I say worse because when we opened the package, our cats didn’t even look our way. Usually they are immediately up our asses the moment we open a package of anything, such as potato chips or Kleenex.
The physical texture, Dennis told me, was like canned ham, pulverized and mixed with aspic. I did not touch it, but it looked off-puttingly wet. If I were Dennis, I would probably follow that observation up with “Just like your mother,” but it’s 2019 and I’m going to give your mother the respect she deserves. Therefore, the fake beef looked off-puttingly wet, unlike your mother, who is nothing but enticing at all times. Yas kween.
Dennis portioned the “meat” into a small mound with a pool of raw JUST Egg on top.
He plated the rest of the ingredients very classily, complete with a fancy little mustard swipe.
The finished product was certainly easy on the eyes, until the egg product leaked pornographically through the Beyond Beef. Then it was even easier.
We sampled our creation by scooping it up with vegetable chips from ALDI WHICH, LIKE JUST EGGS, USES CAPITAL LETTERS. At this point, I was hesitant. There was no way this was going to be good.
And guess what?
Without any actual cooking to mask the flavor, the Beyond Beef’s decidedly smoky, pet-foody, un-meatlike taste was free to let its freak flag fly. The acid and spices of the other ingredients, while definitely pleasant, did little to rescue the dish. I don’t know what we expected.
Dennis admitted that he felt guilty for not liking it. I felt guilty for even trying it. He said, “I don’t want to do that again.”
While the ingredients in our vegan steak tartare may have been cruelty-free, absolutely nothing about this experience was ethical. So maybe we accidentally made a poignant commentary on something? I’ll let you folks be the judge. I’m going to go wash my mouth out with blood.
Hello, it is me, DANNIS. MORE CAPITAL LETTERS.
Davida worked really hard on this one. I just stood there, preening my silky mane of hair, looking gorgeous, eating vegan cat food substitute.
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I really don't know what to say other than what I muttered in a barely audible, hushed-yet-gutteral tone the entire read: