Impossible Foods' Chef J. Michael Reveals The Best Sustainable Grilling Tips - Exclusive

After a long winter, it's finally time for the grilling season. And with the growing interest in plant-based meat, new flavors and products are available now more than ever. Sustainability is the name of the game for barbecues this year, and there are more than a few tips and tricks to make a barbecue bash less wasteful. In addition to the classic meatless burger option, Impossible Foods now offers three flavors of plant-based sausage links and spicy and savory options for sausage patties. 

So, how exactly can barbecuers cook Impossible Foods sustainably this summer? Chef J. Michael spoke to Mashed during an exclusive interview where he revealed some of the best sustainable grilling tips using Impossible Foods products. He also dove into the importance of the brand's new Wild Nuggies and why it's critical to broach topics like sustainability and endangered species with kids in an informative and engaging way.

The secrets of sustainable grilling

When it comes to Chef J. Michael's favorite tips to grill sustainably with Impossible Foods, he said, "Gas is probably the most efficient method of grilling outdoors. Gather your mise en place and make sure that you're ready to go [when] getting out there." It's important to only keep the grill on when you're actively using it, as he added, "Don't let the embers burn too long, [and] also don't leave the gas on for too long. [There are] definitely different methods, but preparation is everything to make sure that, if you are using fossil fuels or carbon, you get organized and make sure that you're ready to roll."

Not everyone has access to a grill, but Michael has some hacks. "It's really hard to mimic grilled flavor, especially if you're [not] using grill components," he explained. "The beauty of our product design is that it works on any type of apparatus, those with high heat temperatures, bakeability, and/or broiling for that matter, sauté, really whatever you have in terms of a cooking method, our product will react and respond in the same way that you would expect meat to."

Sometimes the condiments can make all of the difference. "In terms of driving those flavors, I'm sure that you could add smokey condiments, say a smokey barbecue sauce or something along those lines, in order to drive some of those characteristic components of a grill," Michael noted. "What comes to mind in the forefront is the availability of any cooking surface or apparatus to really provide ease of use for our products. They're available to do anything."

Wild for Wild Nuggies

Impossible Foods has also released plant-based nuggets called Wild Nuggies shaped like endangered animals. As Chef Michael shared, it's important to start kids young on eating sustainable food choices. "And what an accessible way to have a conversation about endangered animals while feeding them something that they know and love, like a nugget."

If there's one way to get kids interested in learning, it's the combination of interaction and iPads. "Past that, we have beautiful Instagram accounts for each individual animal that they could follow along with, with full-on food scenes built out of different vegetables," Michael added of Impossible's further opportunities to engage kids. "It's important to have a not scary but distinct conversation about what kids are eating and how it affects different things, everything in stride. You really have to understand what's going on with the world, and kids today are more involved and more aware of that." 

It's important not to sugarcoat important realities from children, as they'll be dealing with the fallout from climate change and other environmental factors, too. As Michael noted, "We've been hidden from a lot of the facts behind food along the way, and more information is available today than ever before."

Customers can search for Impossible products and restaurants here, and for some Wild Nuggie fun, customers can follow the Instagram pages for Wanda the Whale, as well as Rhonda the Rhino, and Tommy the Tortoise, plus Paul the Polar Bear.