When was the last time you enjoyed a grain bowl with vegan bbq, collard greens, spicy pickles, and a drizzle of kombucha-based barbeque sauce? I've never heard of such a thing until recently. In honor of Earth Day, Elon University threw a socially distanced food festival celebration right on campus next to Lake Mary Nell. After making my way through the different booths offering locally sourced products, I stumbled upon the latest plant-based barbeque to launch, Barvecue®, based in Cornelius, North Carolina, and I just had to try it for myself.

Barvecue is a plant-based and sustainable BBQ company that serves up vegan alternatives to the traditional cuisine and offers pulled BVQ made with soy-bean and sweet potato protein blend and a mix of spices including paprika for heat. They also sell 'Chopped BVQ,’ their gluten-free option, and 'Naked BVQ,’ a low-calorie gluten-free option made with lightly seasoned protein without sauce. The family-owned company, which boasts the largest vegan BBQ smokehouse on the planet, has the vision to transform the traditional southern barbecue into a region where plant-based options are not so plentiful and preferred. As a mission-driven company, Barvecue seeks to “create the best tasting plant-based barbeque on the market,” and in my opinion, they have already mastered it.

"We aim to bring the best tasting barbecue to vegetarians, omnivores, and adventurous carnivores around the globe… wherever they may be," the BVQ website states. After a popular pop-up at Elon, students who tried it can honestly report: they are well on their way.

Vegan BBQ Comes to Elon University's Dining Hall

The vegan barbeque will now be served in all three dining hall locations and Elon is the first of several colleges in the South that Barvecue will be partnering with. Not only is this a look into the future, but it will make it easier for college students to choose healthier options. Currently, Elon’s Harvest Table Culinary Group offers an ever-changing menu that consists of vegan chicken and stir fry to readily available plant-based snacks, a long haul from what BVQ offers. Aside from the numerous health attributes, BVQ is committed to clean, transparent ingredients and strives for quality without compromise. It is the perfect match for students who are climate conscientious and concerned about the environment!

When I went to check out the festival with my classmates Emma and Lizzie, we made our way through the crowd and headed right for the Barvecue table, wasting no time to get our hands on a delicious plant-based meal (It’s been awhile!). The smell lingered through the air as we approached the woman scooping BVQ into bowls, serving the meat alternative to hungry college students. We waited in line with rumbling stomachs and soon enough got our hands on the Chopped BVQ. The other options included the BVQ with grits, collard greens, or spicy pickles. At last, my first bite: The sweet potato and soy blend was a perfect pairing of sweet and savory, the texture was thick and purposefully made for a tasty alternative to traditional barbeque. The consistency was as amazing as the real thing! Then I tasted the rich notes of the sauce--this is when I gave Emma and Lizzie the thumbs up. I couldn’t believe how delicious the entire meal tasted. The sauce has a sweet, smokey flavor, with a kick of spice, similar to my mother’s homemade bbq sauce she makes for the Fourth of July. It certainly surpassed our expectations! Lizzie and Emma could not have finished it any faster. Naturally, as we looped around the festival, we had to stop for seconds!

As Elon moves forward and continues to improve its plant-based and sustainable options, we hope to see more items like Barvecue on the menu. Hopefully, its products will be available this summer so we can have our own special Barvecue at home!

You can still enjoy plant-based BBQ even if you're not an Elon student. Get Barveque shipped to your door by purchasing your choice of pulled or chopped BVQ, click here,