Tag Archives: sausage

Does Beyond Sausage Smoke?

Hamburger patties get most of the attention when it comes to plant based faux meat.  Why?  America is a land of hamburgers.  It is one of our core national foods.  Fast food restaurants on just about every major intersection sell hamburgers by the bag full.  If one is making a bet on a startup you go where there is a lot of market share to grab.

However, there is a world of delivery vehicles for meat that are not hamburgers or beef analogues.  The next frontier will probably be sausage.  Whether in link form or bulk we also eat a lot of sausage.  It’s on pizzas.  It’s in breakfast burritos.  It’s not the grill right next to the hamburgers.

It looks like the second wave of faux meat from Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat is going to focus on sausage.  In this post I am going to take a look at Beyond Meat’s Beyond Sausage:

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This package is the “hot Italian” variety.  At the grocery store there was also a traditional bratwurst variety, but for smoking I thought the spicier variety might work better.

I put the four faux meat links in with two varieties of traditional pork sausage—fresh garlic and Toulouse—from the good people at the Sausage Foundry in Cedar Rapids in the smoker.  At ~225 degrees Fahrenheit the sausages came to temperature fairly quickly and evenly.  All three varieties came to temperature within a few minutes of each other which was nice.

Out of the smoker the Beyond Sausages had turned from a smoky red to a dusty mustard:

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Compared to the traditional pork sausages the grind of the Beyond Sausages was really fine.  It bordered on hot dog consistency in many ways.  The traditional pork sausages had more of the tooth and bite you want out of a link.

In terms of smoke flavor the Beyond Sausage absorbed some, but there was definitely less of an impact compared with the traditional smoked sausages.  This has to be attributed in part of the density of the interior, which is also tied back to the grind.  I wish I had snapped a photo, but you could see a nice quarter inch ring of pink around the circumference of the fresh garlic and Toulouse links.  Those links definitely absorbed more smoke flavor.

Of note was that the spice level was highly variable from one sausage to the next.  The first link that I ate had very little heat, but the second came on with that kick of heat you expect from hot Italian sausage.

It is quickly approaching the point where we are debating whether faux meat alternatives are as good as the meat products that they are intended to replace rather than asking if they are good enough for meat substitutes.  This is where the tipping point for mass adoption occurs because the benefits are so great that “good enough” performance causes people to switch without regret.

Friday Linkage 7/26/2019

The heat and humidity finally broke here in eastern Iowa this week and we got to open the windows.  Okay, we opened the windows in our house but it seems like everyone else still has their air conditioning running full blast.  Naturally, this includes my neighbors who run their air conditioning even when it is sixty degrees outside.  It must be an ice box inside that house.

These are the same neighbors who complain about their high electricity bill.  So it also makes sense that these same neighbors would install a hot tub.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, says high electricity costs quite like a hot tub.

On to the links…

American Green—If there is one thing that I wish people would do it is that they stop obsessing—in terms of both time and money—about the lawns surrounding their homes.  Who cares if a stray dandelion shows up or some clover has established itself?  Who cares it some spots start to brown out when the mercury hits 90 degrees?

New York Just Passed the Most Ambitious Climate Target in the Country—There is no climate leadership at the federal level, so it falls to cities and states to move things forward.  Luckily, the states most likely to move forward also happen to be home to a lot of people and a lot of economic activity.

Refinery Explosions Raise New Warnings About Deadly Chemical—If a Tesla or other electric vehicle catches fire there is sure to be a whole raft of coverage.  If a normal ICE car bursts into flames or an oil refinery explodes there is little coverage.  Never mind the potential of a truly catastrophic incident at an oil refinery.

It’s Just Good Business: Even Red States Are Dumping Coal for Solar—I think that this needs to be the response for anyone who gets asked a question about solar power.  It’s just good business.

Waste Only: How the Plastics Industry Is Fighting to Keep Polluting the World—Plastic is bad.  It may be a necessary evil in some applications, but limiting the use of plastics is the ultimate goal.

Cigarette Butts are the Most Pervasive Man-Made Pollutant—My late father, a former smoker who quit in his thirties, hated cigarette butts with a passion and had a more hot burning hate for the people who threw their cigarette butts about with abandon.  His whole theory was that cigarettes with filters should be banned, all cigarettes should be called coffin nails, and the package should say “Smoke More, Die Younger.”

10 Ways the Bicycle Moved Us Forward—The bicycle is a humble solution to a lot of problems.  As we design ever more complex solutions to our problems we need to remember that easier solutions exist.

In Madrid, a Car Ban Proves Stronger Than Partisan Politics—I know it will come as a shock to most right wing reactionaries, especially the ones on Fox News who want to cover themselves in a cologne called Fossil Fuel Funk, but people actually like living in places where cars are not valued over people.  Remember, in most modern offices your car will be allotted more space in the parking lot than you will be inside the building.

How ‘Corn Sweat’ Makes Summer Days More Humid—If you live in Iowa during the summer you understand this phenomenon all too well.  The humid haze that rises from the endless fields of tall corn in July and August is like an oppressive ghost moving through the landscape.  Maybe I spend too much time cycling along these same fields in the heat.

Dunkin’ Adds Beyond Meat’s Sausage to its Menu, Starting in New York—Are we turning the corner into a world where renewable energy is the cheapest source of electricity, people actually care about the climate, and non-meat alternatives are commonplace?  I sure know that non-meat alternatives seem to be everywhere.

Can You Taste the Difference Between Plant-Based Meat and Beef? Burger King Sweden is Betting No.—This is what the people behind calling plant protein “meat” in Arkansas are worried about.  Okay, their actually being funded by a locally powerful meat industry to take this fight on but their paymasters fear this outcome.

Has Wine Gone Bad?—When reading Napa at Last Light by James Conaway I was struck by some critiques of wineries for the total lack of environmental consideration.  The gist was basically that if anyone actually knew just how much of a bad actor the wine industry was in California it would cripple the industry’s marketing efforts.

The Budweiser Beer Empire was Built on Debt. Now it’s Racing to Pay it Off—Geez, I cannot imagine how building an empire through acquisitions fueled by debt could ever go wrong?

Not Really Claypot Rice

I am a big fan of claypot chicken rice.  However, I do not actually own a claypot or cook over a smoky charcoal fire.  Okay, it’s not really claypot chicken rice because I split the grain 50/50 with quinoa.  Oh, I usually use chorizo instead of Chinese sausage like lap cheong.

What it comes out as is Not Really Claypot Rice.  My goal here was to create a dish that approximated some of the flavors I love in claypot rice but with a more weekday friendly preparation and using quinoa.  Why quinoa?  Other than the fact that it is the supposed “International Year of Quinoa,”quinoa is loaded with protein, it’s easy to digest, and it’s a whole grain.  Pretty much a winner all the way around.

Ingredients

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 pound chicken, diced (I use boneless thighs and pieces for extra flavor)

1 bunch scallions, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

Thumb sized piece of ginger, minced

4 ounces sausage (I use chorizo, but others use lap cheong or high quality salami)

10 ounces shiitake mushrooms (I use dried, but you could use fresh)

1 cup long grain rice

1 cup quinoa

4 cups chicken stock

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and corn starch.  Whisk until combined.  Stir in chicken, scallions, garlic, and ginger. Marinate for at least fifteen minutes, but ideally longer.

Using a Dutch oven (I use my trusty Le Creuset) heat over medium high until hot. Add sausage.  When the sausage releases its fat add mushrooms.  Let them cook for a few minutes without stirring and then flip over letting the mushrooms cook for another few minutes without stirring.

Add a little oil to the pot along with the rice and quinoa.  Toast the rice for about a minute.  Don’t brown the rice.  Add some salt, marinated chicken mixture, and stock.  Bring to a boil.

Take off the burner, put on the lid, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or so.  Let the pot stand for 5 minutes or so after removing from the oven.  Stir the casserole well before serving because the mushrooms will have risen to the top during baking.

Serve with the garnish of your choice.  My daughter loves sweet and sour, but she is five years old so take that recommendation with a grain of salt.