BBQ has always been a meat-eater’s party, but not anymore. As Americans are adopting a more plant-based diet, even our grills are being more inclusive. In the spirit of giving grill masters the information they need to grill plant-based meat alternatives, here are some quick tips.
Grill Prep for Plant Based BBQ
When cooking a plant-based patty, vegan burger, or other plant-based products along with animal meat, try to separate the items so they don’t touch. Ideally, clean a designated portion of the grill for plant-based options before firing up the grill.
If possible, check-in with your vegan guests before the day of your barbecue to discuss what vegan meat they prefer and to discuss grilling preferences.
Grilling Beyond Meat Burger Patties
The burgers from Beyond Meat are a common go to for plant-based proteins. Many people choose the Beyond Burger® because they mimic a classic beef patty, have 20g of plant protein, and are soy-free and gluten-free. Those manning the grill will also notice they hold up well to the heat but there are a few tips to cooking them.
I often find the plant-based burger in the frozen section at the grocery store. So be sure to bring the meat up to room temperature before grilling them. Slightly different from beef burgers, it’s recommended to lightly oil the surface of the burger so they don’t stick to the grill grates. Another alternative would be to oil the grates themselves with canola oil or grilling spray before lighting the grill.
When your grill is hot, put your patties on the grill and cook them for 3 minutes on the first side and then flip for another 3 to 4 minutes. It’s recommended to cook to an internal temperature of 165-degrees F.
The vegan burger won’t have the same juiciness as a beef burger, which also makes clean-up slightly easier.
Field Roast Plant-Based Meats on the Grill
The plant-based meat & cheese company, Field Roast offers bold-flavored sausages, burgers, dogs, and cheese. You might find it difficult to identify the plant-based sausages from animal sausages, so take care to keep them separated.
There’s nothing too special you have to do to grill up this plant-based alternative. Once you’ve drizzled the sausages with some olive oil, place them on your preheated grill. Turn and allow grill marks to develop on all the sides and develop the smoky flavor, about 8 to 9 minutes.
Wait to put the plant-based cheeses on until the last 2 minutes. Field Roasts cheeses are coconut-based and tend to melt slower than dairy cheese.
Grilling the Famous Impossible Burger
There has been an ongoing competition between Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat. Both have led the way in this new market of plant options that more closely resemble beef’s texture and taste. They make Impossible Burgers from a blend of soy and potato protein and a longer list of ingredients.
What sets Impossible Foods apart from the others is the fact it contains heme, an iron ion found in all living things. Getting enough iron in as a vegan can be difficult because plants contain very little heme and it’s not as readily available as in animal proteins. You’ll likely see the Impossible Burger show up at your bbq. You might even want to try it.
The Impossible Burger is known for being a direct replacement for a beef burger. And that goes for its cooking methods. There’s no need to drizzle or coat with oil, just form into patties if using the ground beef or use a pre-formed patty and grill. When comparing the Impossible Burger vs Beyond Meat Burger, I feel the Impossible Burger is much more similar to a real beef patty. If beef ceased to exist, I would be okay eating Impossible Burger for the rest of my life.
Another convenient fact about the Impossible Burger is the packaging says you can grill the patties frozen, they’ll just need about 6 minutes per side, compared to 2 minutes per side if using thawed meat. Our smash burger recipe can still be used with impossible burger as the substitute.
Looking for vegan dogs?
Yves Veggie Cuisine is a leading organic and natural foods company that offers several veggie dogs for the grill. The plant-based hotdog has no cholesterol, no saturated fat, and offers 7 grams of protein (compared to an animal-based hot dog with 5 grams of protein). Beyond Meat and Field Roast also offer vegan hot dogs. Mark your vegan hot dogs so your guests know what they’re eating.
The meatless hot dogs are designed to be grill-ready and grilled in less than 5 minutes. Depending on your brand, you might try cooking one first to look for any signs of the dogs sticking. If so, add some oil to the grates before grilling up the rest of the meat. Carefully turn the hot dogs to cook all sides. They won’t blister exactly the same as beef or pork dogs, so just monitor for grill marks and time.
Tips for a Vegetarian Barbecue Season
If you’re grilling pre-made mock meats, here are some additional tips to know:
- If you’re responsible for bringing the vegan meats, read the cooking instructions on the package label. Some veggie brands are not meant to be grilled, as you’ll just end up with a sticky mess. These mock meats don’t have fillers or ingredients to keep them together over the grates and high heat.
- Since plant-based meats don’t have the same natural juices and fat content that animal meats have, you’ll need to add the oil before grilling. Don’t skip this step or you’ll find your meat sticking to the grill.
- Meat alternatives don’t have to be on the grill as long as meat. The goal is to cook the meat but you don’t have to worry about killing bacteria, like animal meat. Cook it low and slow or quick on high heat. But you’ll find plant-based foods need less cooking time.
- You can treat mock meat like meat with dry rubs. A rub mixed with spices, salt, and sugar brings big flavor and energy to plant proteins and can help create the texture that is associated with barbequed meats.
Is it time to barbeque yet?
We hope these tips help you become more comfortable at grilling anything from plant-based burgers to cheese made from coconut to sausages made from peas. There are a lot of options now with what can go on the grill. And in my opinion, it’s making the summer barbeque that much more fun.