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.

The experience:
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+

14 comments:

  1. i'm personally not a big fan of these. i ate them for a while, but what moderate enjoyment i recieved from them got old fast. the crisp exterior is definitely the biggest plus. but yeah, they taste nothing like any meat i've had (i've never had those chicken patties).

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  2. You really have to look at them as something other than meat, a "burger" all its own. When you think of them that way, they are not half bad.

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    1. If they don't want me to think of it as meat, they shouldn't brag about its "prime burger flavor". I'm just saying the packaging sets the product up for a certain experience, and the consumer is bound to be disappointed.

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  3. I think the Grillers Prime is the best of the "burger" line from MorningStar, but I don't exactly follow the printed instructions. I put a few tablespoons of regular olive oil in a nonstick pan and let it get a little warm on medium heat. I then put the frozen patty in the pan and let it sizzle in the oil for at least 3-4 minutes before turning. Ideally, I'll only turn it once, but sometimes it doesn't quite get crispy enough to suit me. Sprinkling a little seasoned salt also helps boost the flavor, but the best you can really hope for is a good school cafeteria hamburger flavor and texture. Compared to red meat, however, these veggie burgers are so much healthier, and after a month or so they should start to grow on you.

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    1. Personally, I love them! And when cooked correctly they taste exactly like a burger...I don't understand how the reviewer got it to taste like chicken???
      I do the same as you - olive oil in a fry pan, place the burger in & then drizzle a tiny bit more olive oil over the top. Mine brown up just lije my husbands beef burgers do & I load mine up with lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard , mayo & relish. Sometimes American cheese.
      How do they taste? Well when you have four cats trying to steal it off your plate I say that's a darn good endorsement.

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  4. I really enjoy the griler prime. My very picky 10 y.o eats them topped only with a slice of cheese. He said to me after eating it,that was a good burger. I'm not planning to tell him its a veggie burger. I think when you know what it is your expectations are different. Try serving to people without telling them and see what there response will be. That wil be a true assessment o.

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  5. I love these so much. I eat them plain with A-1 sauce, no buns. They are the most meat like veggie burger I've ever had.

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  6. I pan fry in olive oil spray. Each time I flip I spray the side facing up so it won't dry out. I season with Garlic Salt and I think they're delicious. I use them in chili and serve them in a breakfast sandwich with egg whites and cheese, and sometimes throw in spinach. I love them and all the Morningstar products. Makes it easy to be a vegetarian!!

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  7. I use a forman grill (lazy) to cook these 3-4 minutes on each side, depends how crispy you want it the. Melt a few slices of copper sharp on top , a little slat and pepper then eat with ketch up and mustard - no bun. I did forget to put a teaspoon or so of olive oil on before cooking like I have done with other veggie burgers - While they don't really taste like meat they are closer than any other veggie burger I've tasted so far.
    It's not meat so I don't really expect it to taste like an actual beef burger but I do think these are pretty good. I would like to try them on an actual grill.

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  8. I've used these for at least 10 years, and think they are delicious. I cook them in a skillet using olive oil, worchester sauce, and soy sauce. They're also pretty good cooked in the microwave with the same ingredients too. I've even indoctrinated some of my friends to use them regularly. Lately they have been really hard to find, so I'm hoping they have not been discontinued like the morningstar steak strips were, which were just insanely delicious... I still miss them big time.

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  9. I really enjoy Griller's Prime (if you think they're bad, try Grillers Original... ugh, aweful!), but then, I also hate the taste of real beef... so consider the source. :)

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    1. Yes, Griller's Original are hideous. Prime is where it's at.

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