Bonnie: No, I’m not a vegetarian. But I do occasionally have to try meatless burgers and sausages for my various writing outlets. In fact, that’s how I discovered how tasty these meatless bratwurst could be.
In looking for low-fat grilling items for my shopper’s column in Better Homes & Gardens’ Heart Healthy Living magazine, I contacted Boca spokesperson Sydney Lindner to learn about their meatless sausages. I wanted to consider one of their low-fat sausages for my summer grilling story. Syd, a Wisconsin-native, suggested I try them Midwestern-style — that is, simmered gently for 10 minutes in beer to cover, along with a white onion, sliced into rings, then grilled or pan seared about 2 minutes until evenly browned.
Dutifully, I tested them just as Syd had described.
I then dished up the beer-infused brats onto a Dijon mustard-coated bun and topped them with the beer-infused onions. Truth be told, it was yummy. Truly yummy, while saving about 14 grams of fat and 100 calories compared to one pork-based bratwurst. I liked that savings a lot too.
I generally use sausages (full-fat yummy ones such as chorizo) for their flavor in soups, stews, eggs, pasta and rice dishes. I don’t often eat an entire sausage on a roll, as it frequently gives me indigestion. Not meatless ones. And yet another reason to recommend them.
And I almost forgot; be sure to wash this down with an icy cold brew.
Bryan: We’ve written about meatless products before and I always let readers know, I’m not really a ‘meatless’ fan. When given the choice between a brat and a Boca brat, I’ll take the brat. (call me a glutton if you will). That preface aside, I’ll also tell you when something tastes good. While you might think that anything boiled with onions and beer would taste good, you’d be wrong (try it with tofu cubes and get back to me). The Boca brats are good though, actually quite good with this preparation. A rough cut crusty roll, some sautéed peppers and a slather of mustard makes for a really great snack. Dieters looking to cut fat and calories while keeping taste intact should salivate at the thought of this great sandwich. Vegetarians should take a bite and learn what all the meat-eating fuss is about (well, almost). Simpsons fans may remember that “you don’t win friends with salad,” but you might have a chance with these faux brats.
Eric: You’re damn right, “you don’t win friends with salad.” I remember the first time (and the last time) I tried one of the Boca Bratwursts because, coincidentally enough, it happened on the same day. I’m not a vegetarian, and, although I’ve admitted that I enjoy vegetables with my meal, I don’t like them being the main focus, and I don’t enjoy being tricked into eating them. I remember I had a hankering for a juicy onion and pepper sandwich similar to what both my mother and brother were referring…to me, this sandwich is one of the greasiest, most delicious I have ever tasted…and for one time it was ruined by the presence of a faux brat. I was tricked into gracing my sandwich with one of these Frankenstein monstrosities of food science, and I’ve been put off by this product ever since. Now any meat-eater will point out that I should have been able to recognize the difference between a real bratwurst and the Boca Bratwurst, and to this I say, “I know.”
Although this product has emotionally scarred me from enjoying an onion, pepper and sausage sandwich, it also has good qualities. For a vegetarian product it has a firm texture, as well as good taste. The nutritional value is high enough to be recognizable and it’s filling. That aside – remember, “if a cow had the chance, it would probably eat you…”