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The Key To Browning Impossible Burgers Starts With A Smash

smashed impossible burgers in pan
smashed impossible burgers in pan - Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

Meat substitutes continue to get more and more realistic every day and can be a great option to give you the essence of your favorite meat, without using any animal products. But although meat substitutes have come a long way, they still aren't perfect; if you've ever attempted to get a good crust on your Impossible burgers, you might've noticed it's a struggle. Luckily, with a little bit of patience and technique, you can recreate the seared effect you get from real meat.

To achieve a charred Impossible burger, you must start with a smash, specifically a smash before your burger even touches the pan. Pre-smashing your burgers makes your patties thin and increases the surface area of the meat to get browned. Smashing before it hits the pan prevents your Impossible meat from sticking to the pan while it cooks. Another important tip to getting your Impossible burgers browned is to properly heat your pan before cooking; a properly heated pan ensures even cooking for your burger. You might also need to cook your burgers for longer. Impossible meat takes more time to brown so be patient while you cook and don't be afraid to continue flipping your burger till each side gets the crust you want.

Read more: Tips You Need When Cooking With Ground Beef

Why Is It So Difficult To Brown Impossible Meat?

impossible meat in package
impossible meat in package - Grandbrothers/Getty Images

Whenever your meat gets that brown, caramelized crust, it is a result of the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction of the sugars found in amino acids being broken down when exposed to heat. Once the heat impacts the sugar and proteins in the meat, this crust begins to form and the yummy smell you get from grilled burgers or roasted meats begins to fill the air. Animal proteins carry more of these amino acids than plant-based proteins, making it harder for Impossible meats to get that same crust as animal products.

Another reason it can be difficult to brown Impossible meat is due to the texture of the product, if you've ever handled Impossible meat, you know how sticky the texture can be. When cooking in a pan, if you press the burger while it's on heat, you risk the crust sticking to the pan and making for a difficult burger flip. Pre-smashing the burgers prevents this sticky situation and ensures you don't risk overcooking the burger since you have that even surface area from the start.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.