Otto von Bismarck’s aphorism about how it’s undesirable to see how laws or sausage get made needs a quick update now that plant-based Beyond Meat has made its mark in San Francisco. Having debuted at every location of Rosamunde Sausage Grill — Haight Street, Mission Street, and Downtown Oakland — the Los Angeles purveyor of meat that isn’t sourced from animals sells three types of sausage: a Brat Original, Hot Italian, and Sweet Italian. (Can anyone resist a Hot Italian? In a head-to-head match-up, it beat the Brat.)
In similar fashion to the way Impossible Meats produces its signature burger, Beyond Sausage basically reverse-engineered sausage to replicate the multi-sensory experience of eating one, but by using components derived entirely from plants — specifically, peas and fava beans for protein, coconut oil for mouthfeel, and a trace of beet juice for color. Refraining from soy or gluten, and also from GMOs — hardcore rationalists may take offense here, but sometimes you have to gauge which way the wind is blowing — it reduces the carbon footprint of conventional meat while achieving two other goals: human health and animal welfare. There’s just as much protein as a top-selling pork sausage, fewer calories and sodium, and zero cholesterol — and no piggies went to slaughter, either.
Noble intentions are always good, but nobility doesn’t satisfy hungry bellies accustomed to a certain deliciousness factor (or turned off by dry meat substitutes that taste like reclaimed particle board). While neither Beyond nor Impossible claims their prodcucts to be indistinguishable from their progenitors, the differences are quite minor, and there isn’t that telltale fibrousness to any of Beyond’s offerings, something that still characterizes the Impossible Burger. There might be the occasional bit of coconut oil, but that only serves to enhance the sausage-like look and feel.
It’s gotten a big response right out of the gate, Rosamunde owner Josh Margolis tells SF Weekly.
“When you eat seitan, it’s good and satisfying, but it’s kind of … bread,” he says. “When you eat tofu, you know you’re eating tofu. It’s kind of spongy. When you eat this, it eats like meat sausage. For me — and I’m a big meat eater — it’s satisfying. We’ve been waiting for a product like this to come round.”