June 18, 2010

Lightlife Smart BBQ

As many of you may have noticed, it's summer. And what's a good thing to eat in the summer? Barbecue! So this week, we're going to take a gander at Lightlife's Smart BBQ.

Just to compare, I also tossed some pork shoulder into my slow cooker in the morning, but ended up choosing not to make this a head-to-head post, which I'll explain in a bit. I decided to flesh out the meal with some traditional sides: corn on the cob and coleslaw, with an awesome strawberry-rhubarb crumble for dessert. I was going to do this right!

Once the real meat and the sides were just about ready, I put the package of Smart BBQ into the microwave, as directed. Right in the package and everything - just slightly tear the top to vent. Just a couple minutes later, everything was done! We loaded up our plates with both real meat and fake meat and got ready for some awesome barbecue.

First thing I noticed - the fake meat barbecue did not have even remotely the same texture as the pulled pork I made. The pork was melt-in-your-mouth tender, while the fake meat was super chewy. I decided that the fake meat was not meant to imitate a pulled pork recipe, but maybe some beef brisket, which is much chewier. With that comparison in mind, I took another bite. I would go ahead and say it is pretty faithful to the chewiness of beef. As for the flavor, well, barbecue sauce covers most flaws, and this was no exception. The sauce was nicely tangy and and smoky, as promised.

Unfortunately for the Smart BBQ, it was up against some very tough competition, so not too much of it got eaten, but the stuff that did was surprisingly good.

The experience:
Texture - Once we decided it was imitating beef, not pork, I totally got behind the (initially excessive-seeming) chewiness
Flavor - Can't really go wrong with a good barbecue sauce

Final grade for this attempt: A

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