Meat-eaters' reviews of fake meat

I friend posted a picture of the Trader Joe’s Breaded Turkey-less Stuffed Roast with Gravy. She said it was ‘really tasty. Even [my husband] liked it. Far better than Tofurkey.’ I’ve been away from L.A. a long time now, but back when we lived in the same apartment building they were both meat eaters. She’s now a vegetarian, and I think he said he is not as well. Anyway…

I’ve had my share of Boca Burgers. I like them. They’re good. I like Tofurkey Italian sausages. Trader Joe’s has some vegetarian chorizo that’s quite nice. If I didn’t cook them myself (served on a toasted roll with marinara sauce), the Tofurkey Italian sausages would fool me. The vegetarian chorizo is pretty close too, I think. Boca Burgers? They don’t really taste like a deadcow patty. (And Gardenburgers – sometimes I get the Subway version – are not even in the ballpark.) But they’re hot patties good for a quick sandwich. I eat meat. I like meat. Nothing wrong with vegetarian fakemeat for variety, though.

Here’s the thing: I can read reviews of fakemeat all day, but they’re written by vegetarian. They’re preaching to the choir. Being cynical, I wonder if they remember what real dead animals taste like. What I’d like to hear are reviews of fakemeat by confirmed meat-eaters. Read the previous paragraph. I like the meat substitutes I mentioned there for what they are. A couple actually taste meaty. So ‘positive reviews’ are preferred – though if something’s awful I’d like to hear about it.

I’d like to try TJ’s Turkey-less Stuffed Roast. But with a whole bunch of dead avian flesh leftover from today’s feast, it will be a while before I do.
[Waaaay off on a tangent, I’ve always liked the line delivered by a Borg on Star Trek: Voyager: ‘It tastes similar to a bird I once ate.’]

I find that TVP works great, for any dish where the flavor mostly isn’t coming from the meat in the first place, like spaghetti sauce with meat, or chili. In fact, the first time I had it (in spaghetti sauce), the only way I could tell that it wasn’t was that it was being served by one of my vegetarian aunts.

That’s the only fakemeat I’ve had that would actually fool me, though as you said some are still pretty good on their own merits.

Morningstar makes a breakfast sausage patty that isn’t terrible. Unless you over cook it, then it gets terrible quickly. They’re easy to over cook. I think it does a fair job of simulating actual breakfast patty flavor.
(Don’t get me wrong- in no way is it equal to a sausage patty, it just isn’t terrible.)

I’m a big fan of Bob’s Real Dead Animal Patties™ (they’re not just for breakfast any more), so I’d be hard to sell on Nigel’s Fake Meat Just Like The Real Thing Sausages™.

I agree with the Morningstar patties being pretty good. Also, way back when (like 20 years ago) I had some kind of mock duck preparation made with seitan that was pretty amazing.

I always found Boca burgers to be pretty terrible, even on their own merits. Just give me a bean patty at that point. As far as stuff resembling cow, I recently had one of the much-hyped Impossible Burgers, which takes the fake meat game up a notch by even oozing red “meat” juices when you bit into it (if it’s prepared medium rare.) A lot of the review online say its almost indistinguishable from meat. I’ll save you the trouble, it’s not. You can tell it’s not a meat patty when you bite into it, BUT it’s pretty darned impressive on its own merits. It fries up just like meat with a beautiful crust, has a great, slightly loose texture like a meat burger should have. It’s 10 on appearance, 9 on texture, and maybe 7 on flavor in how well it mimics meat. While I don’t think most people would have difficulty identifying the Impossible Burger vs a real meat hamburger, I would not be surprised if many people did not notice if you swapped out the patties of a meat burger without telling them.

Here’s a video review of the Impossible Burger, where you can see the juice coming out. The reviewer, Megan Morrone is a fairly recent convert to vegetarianism, and remembers the taste and mouth feel of a genuine burger.

I’ve never liked any Morningstar product (sausages, sausage patties, bacon) I’ve tried. If they’re actually good, I must have over-cooked them.

I’ve never really cared for beanburgers. I like the Boca Burger soyburgers. Trader Joe’s used to have a product called Burger Champignon, which, as you can surmise, was made out of mushrooms. It also hat cheese mixed into it. I liked those, and sometimes wish they still had them.

And that’s why I started this thread. So many reviews say ‘It tastes just like meat!’ But the reviews tend to be written by vegetarians. I don’t care if it tastes ‘just like meat’, as I indicated in the OP. But I raise an eyebrow when someone who doesn’t eat meat says the vegetarian product is indistinguishable from deadcow, deadpig, deadbird, or deadfish.

The reviews I’ve seen were actually from meat-eaters who were impressed by the product. Like I said, if you gave it to someone without telling them what it was, I’d wager that perhaps most wouldn’t grok that they’re eating a meatless burger. Heck, I’d say most. I wouldn’t even be sure enough to say I wouldn’t be fooled by it if I went into the situation unknowingly.

Yeah, I had mine at Umami Burger here in Chicago. There’s a number of places now that have it: all the Umami Burger, M Burger, and Kuma’s locations, and I think one or two other random places. I’ll agree with her on mouth feel. The taste isn’t quite as “meaty,” though. There’s hints of meat, so it can taste like a cheaper burger patty. But it doesn’t have that oily dead animal-ness to it. There’s something distinctive about that animal fat flavor. But I thought it was quite good, and if I were a vegetarian wanting to relive my meat-eating days, this is a pretty damned good simulacrum.

I like Quorn products but apart from the mince and meatballs they’re fairly easily distinguished from real meat. The “chicken” pieces makes good fajitas too. But as noted above, you have to use them in recipes where the flavor is added as they don’t taste like much on their own.

I was doing some work at the home of a vegetarian, and was accompanied by my daughter, who is trending toward vegetarianism. The home owner offered us some lunch — which included some pseudo-chicken from Whole Foods carry-out. It was “kung pao,” I think.

Both my daughter and I had the same reaction: “Are you sure this isn’t real chicken?”

So, I think I’ve seen the Promised Land — although I’m less interested in pseudo-chicken than in pseudo burgers, sausage, brats, ham.

Whatever Cracker Barrel is using for turkey sausage, I’m sold; the taste and texture are super and there’s much less grease.

I’m a carnivore; trying to do less red meat because doctors say so and life isn’t crappy enough.

Mock Duck is remarkable! If I didn’t know the difference, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Same with fake crab (sometimes called Krab.) Make it into a salad, and, I, at least, cannot tell the difference at all.

Fake meats are just getting better and better and better! I’m perfectly happy with a plate of really high-quality fake bacon. Yeah, it ain’t bacon…but, doggone, it really is good!

Ugh, my one experience with krab, it was so bad that even the cats wouldn’t eat it. And that’s still made from fish, just a cheaper kind of fish, so it’s in no sense “more vegetarian”. The only reason for krab is that it’s cheaper, and that’s not nearly a good enough reason.

I should try one at Kuma’s Corner.

This is totally past the use-by date, but I vividly remember Bontrae soy-based vegetarian chicken and ham from the early 70s. It was pretty good and we used to prefer it to similar dishes made with real chicken and ham. It was especially good when cubed or ground (coarsely) for creamed dishes, chicken and ham salad, and similar dishes. Good consistency and mouth feel, flavor was a little artificial, but acceptable, and the cost was fairly low. Creamed Bontrae ham on biscuits was great! (As I understand it, the products may not have been strictly vegan, but there were no actual meat products in them.)

Boca Burgers have been mentioned; while the taste is a little off, the texture is perfect! Back during my vegetarian year, I would fry one of those up and dump it in marinara sauce for spaghetti. I liked the messages on the wrapper, like “Being a vegetarian 50% of the time is 50% better than being one none of the time!”

This, like Chronos, the Mrs. and I have had great success making sloppy joes with tempe. We actually prefer the tempe over the real meat. It’s just that the flavor in sloppy joes comes from everything else in the recipe even if using real meat.

I’ve never met a boca burger I liked, and while I have eaten other fake meat burgers and sausages, while mostly not bad, it was never anything I’d choose again. Well, actually the fake sausages were bad, like, could not spit that crap out fast enough and I wonder if I got a spoiled batch bad. I couldn’t tell you the brand though, it was at a vegetarian (maybe vegan?) restaurant that has since gone out of business.

Yeah, right. That’s impossible.

I don’t actually care how “most” people would react. I care how I would react. And I know that I pay more attention to flavor than many. And that I actively enjoy the flavor of chicken. And that I noticed when the cafeteria served pork gravy with the chicken. And when I was told “have some chicken”, I wondered why it didn’t taste right before the host revealed it was rabbit. (Perfectly tasty, just not chicken.)

So I don’t eat fake meat. When I want to serve vegans, I cook roast root vegetables or beans or falafel. Things that aren’t supposed to be meat.