September 11, 2009
Morningstar Grillers Prime
This week, I'm going to talk about Morningstar Farms Grillers Prime Veggie Burgers. The description on the box (and on the website) promises "Savory grilled prime burger flavor, veggie-style." I was intrigued, as I really enjoy the flavor of beef.
There were a bunch of options for heating these bad boys up. Everything from the oven to the microwave, but, since we were aiming for a grilled flavor, I fired up my Foreman grill. Just too lazy for charcoal, sorry. I got all my accoutrements ready, which, at my house, includes cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, and mustard. The cheese we got was a nice apple-smoked cheddar, and the tomato was fresh out of my garden, just so you know.
The grilling instructions say to "lightly spray both sides of the pattie [sic]with cooking spray" which I totally missed when I made these (and isn't it spelled "patty"?). Odd note, in reading all the instructions now, to inform you, in all the other cooking methods, the food is referred to as a burger, not a "pattie". Anyway, I tossed them (all four!) onto my grill, and let them hang out there for a couple minutes. I then added cheese to only three of them, leaving one naked for testing purposes. Once they were nice and hot, and the cheese was all melty, I pulled them off and got them ready for eating. The naked burger got only ketchup and a bun. The other three got everything.
I tried the naked one first, just to see what I was in for. It had a nice, crispy exterior, which I appreciated. Here comes the catch: it tasted nothing like beef. It did, however, taste exactly like a frozen chicken patty. I used to eat those all the time in college at the dorm, and they have a pretty distinctive flavor. So, with the bun and the ketchup, it was pretty enjoyable, but nothing like a burger. With the lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and cheese, the chicken-patty flavor completely disappeared. It was like eating a slightly chewy lettuce and tomato sandwich with a weird smoky flavor from the cheese. Pretty unpleasant, actually. I tried removing components, one by one, to see what it would take to make it taste good. Once the lettuce and tomato came off, it was better. I'd have taken off the cheese, if I could have, but it was really melted in there. Big disappointment.
Texture - nice crispy exterior, slightly stringy-looking interior, but a good mouthfeel
Flavor - tasted just like chicken!
My wife agreed with me on the chicken patty assessment. In fact, I'd tasted it, took some notes without saying anything out loud, then she said the exact same thing I'd written down. It was pretty funny. I think next time, I'll actually give the charcoal grill a chance to infuse these with some nice grilled flavor to see if it makes it any more beefy-tasting. Otherwise, they serve as pretty tasty chicken patties, when left naked.
Final grade for this attempt: C+