We tested a vegan Beyond Burger, bison burger, and grass-fed beef against...

We tested a vegan Beyond Burger, bison burger, and grass-fed beef against a classic patty. Here’s what people liked.

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WHAT’S BETTER THAN standing beneath a blue sky, beer in hand, roasting raw meat on an open flame?

Nothing, that’s what.

Alas, grilling is rarely that simple, as the modern man faces a barrage of choices when planning a barbecue: Bratwursts or dogs? Gas or charcoal? Pilsner or IPA? While these three are easy (brats/charcoal/IPA, no apologies), things get complicated once you get to the meat aisle. Do you go with standard ground beef, or try to get fancy with bison? And what about that grass-fed stuff? And do you have to get some non-meat thing for your co-worker, Jeff? (Yes, Jeff, we know you’re vegan now. WE KNOW.)

To help you hold your best grill-out yet, your humble correspondent held a barbecue of his own, and put four burger choices to the test: ground beef, grass-fed ground beef, bison meat, and the new plant-based Beyond Burger from Beyond Meat.

The contestants

My baseline burger was regular ol’ ground beef with an 80/20 ratio of meat to fat. If you’ve graduated from frozen patties, but aren’t quite on a first-name basis with a butcher who hand-grinds beef for you, this is probably what you buy, too.

I also got a package of grass-fed beef (a slightly leaner 85/15) and another of ground bison (ratio unspecified). In the name of #science, I seasoned all three exactly the same: a tablespoon and a dash of McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning mixed into each pound, one dash beyond the instructions on the back of the container. (Don’t be that guy who under-seasons ground beef.) Each of these pounds got divided into six sliders and refrigerated for an hour or so.

On the veg side, the good folks at Beyond Meat shipped your correspondent several boxes of pre-pressed plant patties. Per the information booklet enclosed therein, each of these plant-based burgers came pre-seasoned. (Also: I was hesitant to tamper with their precision-engineered shape.)