Have you dusted off your grill yet? It’s high time to fire up this outdoor equipment and don your “Kiss the Vegan Cook” apron. Despite the year we’ve had, there have been several new innovations in plant-based meat, and we found some truly remarkable products that were made for the grilling season. From adventurous summer grilling packs to apple sage sausages, here are our favorite vegan meats to grill this summer. 

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1. Tofurky Plant-Based Burgers
The original Tofurky has come a long way since its humble hippy beginnings in 1995. The brand is now competing in the plant-based burger space, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. The new soy- and-seitan patties are juicy, grillable, and contain 19 grams of powerhouse protein. Recreate a veganized, at-home version of a McDonald’s classic burger by topping it with ketchup, mustard, a few pickles, diced raw onions, and sandwiching it all on a soft sesame seed bun. 

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2. Chef Tanya’s Kitchen BBQ Ribz
After Tanya Petrovna stepped away from her first major venture—the fast-casual vegan chain Native Foods—she took to the California desert and established her own namesake cafe. She’s been serving the community of Palm Springs for years with her incredible deli salads, vibrant bowls, and epic sandwiches. This spring, she launched nationwide shipping of her insanely good vegan meats, and we’ve been grilling up her BBQ Ribz all summer. We love pairing them with a side of collard greens and homemade or store-bought mac and cheese

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3. Herbivorous Butcher Summer Grill Pack
The original vegan butchery is suppling our summer with grillable proteins we’ve yet to find elsewhere. Complete with four Jalapeno Cheddar Brats, four Garlic Brats, a 10-ounce Flank Steak, and 12 ounces of Baharat-spiced Ribs, this collection is perfect for a large family barbecue or a socially distanced driveway neighborhood tailgate. Cooking for one? Check out the a la carte online ordering option. 

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4. Alpha Chik’n Burger
You can grill way more than burgers and brats, and this juicy chik’n patty proves it. The breading crisps up nicely on the grill—leaving Instagram-worthy char marks. Pair it simply with lettuce, mayo, and a thick beefsteak tomato slice. 

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5. New Breed Meats Burger
This brand new meat company is selling out of its signature New Breed Burger, but customers can pre-order for August—plenty of time to savor that summer grilling season. Quantities come in two, five, and 10 pounds, and we suggest you stock up based on the rate these are flying off the virtual shelves. These burgers are thick quarter pounders that need a sturdy bun to hold up their heft. Try them out with your omnivore friends and watch as their skepticism turns to delight. 

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6. Lightlife Bratwurst Sausages
The same company that brought us Smart Dogs has made a serious comeback with these meaty brats. While we love a classic Smart Dog, we admit that they don’t quite pass for an authentic meat substitute—at least not by 2020 standards. The new bratwurst have redefined the brand. The texture, flavor, and snap replicate its meat-based analog exceptionally well. Load it up with mustard and grilled onions or a pile of sauerkraut—these links can handle it. 

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7. Prime Roots Bacon
What’s better than bacon? Grilled bacon. If you’re obsessed with the Tabitha Brown-famous Whole Foods TTLA, then you’ll flip for a homemade version made with this crispy accouterment. This new, online-only company currently makes one thing and one thing only, so you know they’ve mastered their craft. Prime Roots uses groundbreaking culinary innovation, making its meat not from soy or wheat gluten, but from koji (a plant-based fermenting and curing agent used to turn soybeans into miso) and konjack (an Asian plant with an edible corn). The result is an unbelievably meaty product without an ounce of cruelty needed. 

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8. Trader Joe’s Protein Patties
These pea protein-based patties caused a bit of a flurry when they debuted in January, and initial reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Unlike most veggie burgers, these thick patties stand up to the grill and can take the char without falling apart. In a pinch, Trader Joe’s has become our one-stop-shop for all of our grilling goods. 

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9. Upton Bar-B-Que Jackfruit
This meat isn’t meant for the grill (unless you want to spend the rest of the afternoon cleaning it). This sticky-sweet and smokey pulled pork replica is there to accommodate the grilled onions and toasted buns. This is our go-to product for making amazing pulled pork sandwiches elevated with smokey, grilled ciabatta buns. 

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10. Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage Sausage
The flavor is what truly brings us back to these hearty links. Made with actual apples and sage, they offer a complex taste most brats lack. The slight smokey flavor is amplified when grilled— resulting in a sausage that really doesn’t even need toppings. We enjoy eating them with a side of sauerkraut and spaetzle.  

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11. A Very Good BBQ Box
If you’re only cooking for one or two, this box will last you through the entire summer. The collection includes a pack each of Very Good Burgers, Smokin’ Burgers, Very British Bangers, Smokin’ Bangers, and two packs each of Ribz and Steak. We tried this Canadian brand last fall for our holiday roast roundup, and we became instant fans. If you’re looking for a less processed option, you can trust in the company’s name. The minimal-ingredient meats are made with whole foods such as mushrooms, jackfruit, wheat gluten, spices, and beets. 

12. Beyond Meat Beyond Burger
No matter what kind of alternate reality the world is facing, we can’t pass up a summer without grilling up a few Beyond Burgers. It’s a delicious exercise to try new patties, but we will never go without the brand that catapulted the veggie burger into something that could be legitimately considered as “beefy.” We don’t have to tell you how to dress up this burger—you top it any way you like it. 

Tanya Flink is a Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and runner living in Orange County, CA.

Photo credit: Beyond Meat

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