I take doughnuts very seriously, which means I also take National Doughnut Day, a made-up marketing ploy, very seriously. Some amateurs might be satisfied to snag a free donut with any beverage at the local Dunkin’ Donuts, but not me. This year I wanted to level things up Bushwick-style: with a vegan Luther Burger.
For the uninitiated, “Luther Burger” is the official name for a hamburger or cheeseburger that substitutes a doughnut for a bun, and its origins can allegedly be traced back to the late, great Luther Vandross. It’s just as bad for you as you might think, and it’s delicious.
There are preexisting vegan variations on the traditional Luther Burger, one of which I’ve actually seen as an off-and-on limited-time offering at our very own vegan donut heaven Dun-Well Doughnuts (222 Montrose Ave.) BUT, have any of those recipes tapped into the magic of the Beyond Burger? (The vegan 1/4lb patty that “bleeds”?) I did a little Google research, and as far as I can tell it hasn’t become a “thing” (yet). And so I had my National Doughnut Day 2017 epiphany: the Luther Beyond Burger needed to be created. By me.
The first step was hitting up the Williamsburg Whole Foods to get the Beyond Burgers (which cost $5.99 per 2-pack) and the vegan cheese (I went with smoked Gouda-style). Some Luther Burgers incorporate traditional toppings like lettuce and tomato, but I think that’s pretty fucked up, so all of those things were omitted from the shopping list.
The next step was obviously obtaining a vegan glazed donut from Dun-Well. The daily selection included flavors like maple and blueberry, which were tempting, but I ended up going the traditional route with a plain. And with all three of the ingredients in hand, I could finally get down to cooking! The Beyond Burgers are pretty hard to mess up; you just need to sear them on a medium-hot pan for three minutes on each side (the package warns explicitly not to overcook), and while your smoke alarm may go off (not that I would know), it’s a pretty foolproof process.
Once the first side is done, flip it, add the cheese, finish cooking the second side, maybe add a lid to the pan to finish the cheese melting process, et voila! It’s ready to be popped onto your sliced glazed donut and eaten.”So how did the Beyond Burger taste, Megan?” Well, this was my first Beyond Burger experience, and from a textural/mouth-feel standpoint, I’d say it’s pretty spot-on. I also really enjoyed the flavor, though if you’re like me and ate a lot of Flame-Grilled Boca Burgers in college, you will definitely pick up on some similar taste vibes. The only slight critique I have is that the inside’s tendency to stay pink for an optical medium, medium-rare cook is kind of for naught; the texture is definitely more of a medium-well indicator, and it’s a little confusing and unnecessary to try to trick your brain into thinking otherwise. (Tried and true vegans may not care about this. Similarly, tried and true vegans may be put off by the visual similarities to real ground meat.)
So as a standalone product, the patty was already a win. As a Luther Burger, it was (dare I say) a home run?! The smokiness from the vegan Gouda with the grilled taste of the “meat” worked really well against the sweetness of the donut, and I inhaled the whole thing in what cannot have been more than two minutes. (Probably thirty seconds, let’s be real.)
What’s extra great is that, because it’s vegan, it doesn’t leave you feeling like you swallowed a boulder; seeing as National Doughnut Day is happening today, a Friday, this is something you could totally eat and still feel like getting off the couch to go out afterwards. (And if you imbibe, because there are two patties per package, maybe grab an extra Dun-Well donut for when you get back from said going out. I ate this sober and thought it was great, so who knows what flavor magic a slight inebriation holds!)
Bottom line: I regret nothing! I will probably repeat embarrassingly soon! Happy National Doughnut Day, and to all a good Bushwick night!