If it looks like meat, tastes like meat, and smells like meat, is that trifecta enough to turn meat-loving Texans into plant-based burger obsessives? With the arrival of the Impossible Burger, that question could be answered in short order.
Launched in Houston last Friday, the Impossible Burger is the brainchild of Stanford scientist and professor Pat Brown, and has been described as a meat-free alternative that’s really close to the real thing. Made with wheat, potatoes, and coconut fat, the product visually resembles ground meat, even when raw. Thanks to an ingredient called heme, the molecule that makes meat taste meaty, the Impossible Burger even bleeds.
But why not just eat a veggie burger? According to Brown, that’s not the point. “If vegans and vegetarians don’t like our product it’s almost an endorsement,” he said at a panel discussion in Houston. Skeptics are welcome, in fact, as Brown continues to improve his meat-free product to make it more appealing for carnivores. At present, Brown is currently working on improving the burger’s texture thanks to the addition of alfalfa.
In Houston, the Impossible Burger will be available at Chef Chris Shepherd’s Underbelly and The Hay Merchant. Shepherd has already made clear that he’s a fan of the meat-free patty, and the fact that he’s willing to put it on his menus is an even bigger endorsement. That said, the average price of an Impossible Burger clocks in at around $18, so it does require coughing up a pretty penny.
The Impossible Burger is currently available only at lunch at Underbelly, and is served all day at The Hay Merchant. Don’t be surprised if this patty starts to pop up at burger joints across the city, though — the company is currently plotting a larger push into Houston and beyond.