Coconut oil and cocoa butter make all the difference in texture.
Beyond Meat Meatier Burger.
Credit: Courtesy of Beyond Meat.

2019 has been a big year for plant-based meat, with the debut of the Impossible Burger 2.0 in January and Beyond Meat launching “Beyond Beef” ground beef this past March—not to mention, the sheer amount of fast food and chain restaurants that have added meatless burgers to the menu, ranging from Red Robin to Burger King. While the burgers we’ve tried so far have been pretty satisfying substitutes—we tested four different brands back in May—the juicy, fatty taste and texture from the…well, fat of regular beef was missing, something admittedly difficult to pull off when you’re working with plants. However, Beyond Beef turned heads last month when it announced yet another innovation, “Meatier” Beyond Meat products with marbling.

Using coconut oil and cocoa butter, two plant-based fats, Beyond Meat’s new burgers and ground beef now have the signature white flecks that you’d find in regular burgers—plus, apple extract to help the red patties brown while they cook. (Apples turn brown when they oxidize.) After trying the original Beyond Burger formula a few months ago, which we found to already have a nice density and pleasantly crisp exterior, we were curious to see what difference a few ingredients could make. As it turned out, they made all the difference in the world.

Beyond Meat Burgers Marbling
Credit: Kelsey Youngman

Right when we started cooking, we noticed a change. There was the telltale sizzle of meat hitting the grill, and we could also see fat rendering as the patties cooked in the skillet, which was pretty mind-blowing. They looked like burgers, and charred like burgers—as for the taste? It’s remarkably spot-on, the closest meat substitute we’ve tried so far. Although it’s not a dead-ringer for beef, with toppings (we used mustard, ketchup, and pickle slices) you’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference. The umami flavor from the fat comes through just like it would in a standard burger, with a crisp outside and juicy, filling bites. With the Fourth of July around the corner, we could easily see it being a hit at cookouts.

If you want to try them yourself, the new Beyond Burgers and Beyond Beef started rolling out in grocery stores last month, including Whole Foods, Kroger, Safeway, Publix, Wegmans, Target, and Sprouts. To learn more about your other plant-based burger options, check out what we had to say in our taste test.