Food or makeup, I can’t decide which of the two is my favorite type of BzzAgent campaign. I love both so I was beyond thrilled to be asked to join the MorningStar Farms campaign.
I must admit that as a meat eater I’ve always been intrigued by foods geared towards vegans and vegetarians. That’s not to say that I’m unfamiliar with meatless products. I’m Asian after all, so I’ve eaten my fair share of tofu, soy, and wheat gluten. And, yes, I like eating them so I know that a vegan/vegetarian diet can be both tasty and satisfying. It’s all in the preparation and seasoning. Thus, it was with much anticipation that I waited for the arrival of my MorningStar Farms BzzKit to arrive in the mail.
[If you’d like to learn more about my experiences with the BzzAgent organization please refer to my blog entry here.]
The BzzKit that came in the mail contained several dollar off coupons that I handed out to friends and a voucher for a free box of a MorningStar Farms product of my choice.
When I received the kit, Target happened to be running an awesome promotion on MorningStar Farms products: 2/$6 or $3 per box. There were many different products to choose from — breakfast sausages to buffalo wings and nuggets — all vegetarian or vegan, but I ended up choosing the Grillers Original, Hickory BBQ Riblets and Italian Herb Chik Patties to try. Of the three products I tried, the Riblet was the only one that was totally vegan; the other two are vegetarian.
I tasted the MorningStar Farms Hickory BBQ Riblets first. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you’ll know that I’m a fan of McDonald’s cult favorite McRib sandwich, so of course I looked forward to trying the Riblets and seeing how they stacked up against it.
A single box of Hickory BBQ Riblets contains two individual servings. You have the option of removing the Riblet from the plastic packaging and baking it in the oven (too messy for me) or placing the Riblet in its packaging (cut a vent hole in it first) in the microwave to heat. I chose to do the latter.
Right off the bat I was impressed by the visual similarity of the vegan Riblet with the meaty McRib. If you placed both in front of me I wouldn’t know which one’s meatless. I served mine on a crusty roll which made the Riblet look even more like the “real” thing.
Although I might have been fooled by sight I wasn’t fooled by the texture. The Riblet has a chewy, springiness to it that’s a dead giveaway that it’s not real meat. Anyone who’s ever eaten wheat gluten will recognize the texture.
The Riblet was much too sweet for me but it had a good smoky flavor. I would’ve preferred a zestier, tangier barbeque sauce so unfortunately the Riblet was my least favorite of the three.
Next up was the Grillers Original, the MorningStar Farms vegetarian version of a grilled hamburger patty.
The first time I tasted the Grillers Original patty I followed the directions and heated it in the microwave. I WOULD NOT SUGGEST MICROWAVING THE PATTIES. Have you ever reheated leftover pizza in the microwave? If, yes, then you know how tough and rubbery microwaving makes the crust. Well, a similar thing happens to the patties when you heat them in the microwave. The center is all right but the edges of the patty get incredibly hard and rubbery. Ick.
Instead, I recommend heating the Grillers Original patty in a regular electric toaster on the highest heat setting. It’s a trick I learned from heating real chicken patties because microwaving those also makes them rubbery. One time I wanted to eat a chicken patty but wasn’t patient enough to wait for the oven to preheat so I popped the patty into a toaster and it worked like a charm! Sometimes I have to toast a patty twice to heat it enough (especially if it’s just been taken out from the freezer and hasn’t thawed) but it’s still faster than preheating an oven. When you can hear and see the fat on the surface of the patty sizzling, you know it’s toasted enough and hot all the way through.
Four patties come in a box so I decided to share the rest of the patties with my parents. My dad, who hates anything new or different, couldn’t believe that the patty wasn’t real meat and really enjoyed the patty. I did as well. The texture of the Grillers Original was much better than the Hickory BBQ Riblet. It didn’t have that telltale elasticity but there was still no mistaking it for the real thing.
Here’s an actual beef patty cooked medium. Notice the ground meat consistency/texture.
And here’s the Grillers Original patty. If I had to compare it to something that meat eaters know, I’d say it’s the most similar to a Wendy’s burger patty. Out of the major fast food chains, Burger King has the most authentic beef texture and grilled flavor, McDonald’s is middle of the road and Wendy’s is overly processed (much too smooth and soft).
The flavor was very good. It was well seasoned and tender but I didn’t think it had any grilled flavor. Rather than a stand alone burger I think the Grillers Original would be better cut up as an ingredient for other meatless dishes like in a pasta dish (e.g. lasagna) because the taste isn’t bold and the smokiness is negligible.
My favorite out of the three MorningStar Farms products by far was the Italian Herb Chik Patties and I will definitely repurchase. This is coming from someone who always has a package of precooked breaded chicken patties sitting in the freezer for those days I’m too lazy to cook. Not only do the Chik Patties taste better than the poultry patties but they’re even juicier and the texture can duplicate the real thing. Seriously. It’s a frozen chicken patty dupe…but better!
Four patties come in a box and I’m not joking when I say that when I ran out I was sad. They were that tasty.
Like the Grillers Original, I do NOT recommend heating these patties in the microwave. Rubber city! Heat it in a toaster — twice on the highest heat setting — and you’ll get hot, juicy patties every time. Trust me.
“Meh” on the sugary Hickory BBQ Riblets, I liked the Grillers Original and the Italian Herb Chik Patties were delish. Two out of three ain’t bad and I can’t wait to try more MorningStar Farms products. I have my eyes on the Buffalo Veggie Wings and Veggie Corn Dogs next!