Spring is in full bloom with flowers budding, birds chirping and people of all ages springing out of their winter hibernation to smell dead meat sizzling on the grill… Wait, what?
As a new vegetarian, this will be my first meatless summer. I’m not exactly sure how I’m supposed to survive the constant hamburger and hot dog cookouts… I know there will be a plethora of invites that I’ll definitely accept for the social aspect. But chances are slim to none that I’ll be eating something more than a few potato chips.
Meat companies have already begun their summertime grilling campaigns with men lusting over juicy pork sausages. My music has mainly been interrupted by Johnsonville Bratwursts commercials. They should really look into making a vegan brat… but that’d probably be loaded with GMO ingredients and even more false commitments to animal well-being and sustainability.
FIY: By 2025, Johnsonville Sausage, LLC “hopes” to transition to working with pork suppliers who can provide housing alternatives that allow for greater movement of the animal, while ensuring their comfort and the safety of their caretakers. Awesome… but by that time, they will have continued to support the unethical treatment of pigs and factory workers while supporting major environmental contamination for an additional 10 years. And their commitment statements are extremely vague.
End Johnsonville rant.
This spring I’ve been on a mission to find the best vegan hot dog possible. I don’t want my vegetarianism to keep me from enjoying spontaneous grill outs with my family. There are so many days when we choose to grill for the sake of convenience and the pure joy of staying outdoors in the sunshine. I’ve tasted a few brands of vegan hot dogs with no luck of pleasing my tastebuds.
So, I contacted The Tofurky Company about reviewing some of their products… And **I received one free package of Tofurky Gourmet Beer Brats and one package of Tofurky Hot Dogs in exchange for an honest review** 😀
Introducing, The Tofurky Company!
The Tofurky Company is an independent, family owned business founded in 1980 that strives to create delicious, nutritious, vegan soy meat substitutes that are lightly processed using traditional methods.
Our goal is to produce the best tasting and textured vegan soy foods possible using healthy, high quality ingredients. For soy proteins we rely on products like tofu and soybeans, which we believe are more wholesome, better textured and more environmentally friendly than high tech, hexane-extracted soy powders, isolates and concentrates.
I am thrilled to share with you that Tofurky’s meat-free, GMO-free, vegan beer brats taste just as good as they boast! I was told in advance that their beer brats really do sizzle on the grill like regular meat. And, sure enough, it’s true! Take a listen.
@Tofurky sizzling beer brats! So good! #ad #delicious #vegan A video posted by Monica Geglio (@mommyandlove) on
Nutrition & Ingredients
When comparing to popular brands of meat brats, Tofurky offers a healthier option with nutrients and higher quality ingredients. There are less Calories from Fat, Total Fat, Saturated Fat, Sodium and 0mg Cholesterol compared to meat brats. One Tofurky brat contains significantly more protein, dietary fiber, calcium and iron. While the sodium content is still high, it is important to note that Tofurky does NOT add corn syrup, monosodium glutamate, BHA and propyl gallate as other meat companies do.
One ingredient of concern, Carrageenan, a plant-based gelatin substitute is currently being evaluated by the U.S Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Standards Board on its safety. They will be voting in 2017 on whether or not it should be removed from organic products (source).
Tofurky Gourmet Beer Brats Ingredients: Water, vital wheat gluten, expeller pressed non-genetically engineered canola oil or hi oleic safflower oil, organic tofu (water, organic soybeans, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride), onions, spices, textured wheat protein, Full Sail Amber Ale (water, malted barley, hops, yeast), autolyzed yeast extract, carrageenan, garlic, konjac flour.
Vegetarian, Kid & Meat-Lover Approved
We topped our brats with warm sauerkraut, sautéed peppers and onions, and several dashes of Tobasco sauce. It was very delicious and satisfying! My toddler and baby gobbled them up fast. Even my (meat-eating) husband approved of having them again in the future.
We were able to taste-tested the Tofurky hot dogs too. I did not grill those because the package recommended boiling them for 2 minutes instead. My toddler wasn’t a huge fan of the hot dogs, but she did eat an entire one regardless. And my baby had his gone before everyone could even sit down at the table! So, overall, I couldn’t be more satisfied with these vegan products!
Do they taste like regular meat hot dogs and brats?
No, the Tofurky beer brats and hot dogs do NOT taste like the meat version. They are not greasy and the texture is somewhat softer and airier. This is not a bad thing. They are just different foods made with different ingredients, which is what we want. Products like these are created for new (and old) vegetarians looking to enjoy similar meals they ate in the past. To me, it doesn’t matter the type of meatless protein source used. I can eat any meatless substitute and still indulge in my favorite toppings like sauerkraut, pickles, hot sauce, and sautéed onions, peppers, jalapeños, etc. on a bun.
I will say that I even thoroughly enjoyed several bites of the plain beer brat before dressing it up!
My brats turned out great first try! I simply basted them with olive oil before and during grilling, while continuously rotating them to avoid having them stick. Be sure to stick by the grill with this type of brat because they cook really fast!
Oh & Don’t forget to toast the bun for extra goodness!
Have you tried Tofurky products before? What do you think? Can you recommend any other favorite varieties from this brand?