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What is the "Impossible Burger"?

Posted by Jake Eller on

What is the "Impossible Burger"?


Earlier this year, Burger King announced that something called the ‘impossible burger’ was coming to their menus nationwide. The Impossible Burger is a product made by the aptly-named company Impossible Foods. It’s a soy-based veggie burger that is said to be nearly indistinguishable from its beef patty counterpart (yeah, right). It certainly passes the eye test: the Impossible Burger is dark and charred on the outside, pink in the middle, and it even ‘bleeds’ like actual beef.


At Grillaholics, we’re skeptical (to say the least). So, we decided to take a deep-dive into the Impossible Burger. We should point out that we aren’t exactly “fans” of the meat alternatives that exist today, but it is good practice to keep an eye on the latest and “greatest”. In any case, below are our findings.


What’s It Made Of?

The Impossible Burger is built of four basic components: protein, fat, binders, and flavor.


The protein that makes up the Impossible Burger comes mainly from soy and potato sources. An earlier, “1.0” version of the burger utilized wheat protein, but the company made the switch for their latest version.


As for the fat component, the Impossible Burger is loaded with coconut oil. To keep everything together, the product uses a binding compound called methylcellulose. When it comes to flavor, things get weird…


For the main flavor compound in the Impossible Burger, food scientists have turned towards something called soy leghemoglobin, or -- heme. Heme is found in all living things, and is generally responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. To create large amounts of pure heme, DNA from soy roots is inserted into genetically modified yeast. There, fermentation occurs and produces large amounts of heme. It’s all very weird.

What’s It Taste Like?

Well, it tastes like beef...mostly. For us Grillaholics, we’d argue that the difference is night and day. For the more casual meat-eater, though, the Impossible Burger is probably a reasonable enough substitute.


Generally speaking, the burger is more meat-like to the eyes than to the palate. It looks like beef, cuts like beef, and even grills like beef (sort of). But there is something less savory and satisfying about the plant-based Impossible Burger. There’s something that just isn’t quite there. All that being said, when you pile on the toppings and condiments, the patty itself can easily blend right in.


Where can I get an Impossible Burger?

Last year, the Impossible Burger could only be found in metropolitan city areas. These days, it’s available at national chain restaurants from coast to coast. Among the list of participating stockists are Burger King, Red Robin, White Castle, and Umami Burger.


So, for better or for worse, that’s all you need to know. Our hot take? Stick to beef.