The future comes faster than you think. Just a couple years ago I was wow’d by plant-based meat movement, with brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger doing a pretty good job of imitating ground beef and being found in every single grocery store in America. Plant-based meat is now fully mainstream, part of diet choices for millions on a daily basis.
I’m still pretty old fashion when it comes to red meat: I love a good, seasoned ribeye in my cast iron skillet and I much prefer my burgers to come from a butcher vs. something grown in a biosphere. But every and then I’ll make chili, tacos, or bolognese out of Beyond Meat just to feel like I’m making a better decision – in the name of self-care and all that jazz. When the doctor says “you need to change your diet” and “you aren’t getting any younger”, it’s probably in my stubborn best interest to listen.
Which is why a company called Juicy Marbles caught my eye. Founded by Tilen Travnik (a self-proclaimed “food technologist”), Luka Sincek (a microbiologist), and Maj Hrovat (a bio technologist), Juicy Marbles is making a “plant-based cut of filet mignon” that doesn’t involve any futuristic 3D printing, GMOs or laboratory alterations, according to FoodBeast.
According to the company, Juicy Marbles has mastered the art of making plant-based steaks. They’re calling it a “copy/paste version of animal meat.”
Juicy Marbles makes plant-based filet mignon with a patent-pending technology called the Meat-o-matic Reverse Grinder™ 9000. This process causes soy protein to mimic the muscle texture you’d find in a cow by layering soy protein into linear fibers. It produces the fatty “marbling” similar to what you’d find in a steak by arranging and layering the protein fibers from the bottom up while making a steak. Like in a cut of filet or ribeye, this so-called “Intramuscular” fat structure help keeps the plant-based meat moist during cooking, ensuing in “a juicy steak full of beefy, deeply perturbing flavors and aromas.”
Th company says it’s a “simple, 100% physical process using natural ingredients” designed for “flavor longevity, juiciness retention, crust development and the nutrition profile.”
“The biggest challenge was getting the right fiber alignment and intramuscular fat structure – the marbling. The most expensive steaks in the world are known for their lush marbling. It takes a lot of energy and a rare breed of cow to attain that. With plant meat, we control it and, thus, over time, can scale up our steak production and bring down the price. Eventually, we’ll be able to make the most premium meats attainable for everyone,” explains Luka Sincek.
According to the company, it’s “cuts” of meat for home cooking are remarkably similar in texture and taste to the kind of steaks you’d buy at a butcher: “Poke it and it jiggles. The texture is firm, while the linear fibre placement results in juicy chunks tearing away softly, like real muscle. It’s succulent, it’s luscious, it’s outrageous.”
Juicy Robles CEO Tilen Travnik explains:
“We can’t expect a necessary global diet shift towards plant-based without a wide variety of plant meats that will not only enable the continuation of culinary traditions, but also enable a well -balanced and wholesome diet.”
I’m a “try everything once” kind of guy, so I might give plant-based steak a shot this summer during grilling season. I’m curious how it stacks up in both flavor and experience to some of my favorite pieces of steak.
The world’s first first filet mignon made from plants is now available on their website. The A5 Tenderloin comes raw and unseasoned, so you can fire it up to your liking – even if that means lots of steak sauce.
I’d love to take some Juicy Marbles to a bunch of ranchers and cattle-workers in Texas and Oklahoma to do a blind taste test. Feels like their reactions, filmed on video, would be content gold.