Food by VICE

Does This Soylent BBQ Sauce at SXSW Foreshadow the End of the World?

This is an affront to both the purpose of Soylent and the tradition of Texas barbecue.

by Alex Swerdloff
Mar 16 2017, 7:16pm

The Austin, Texas technocrat bacchanalia known as South By Southwest may have been making headlines recently for the festival's threat to call immigration authorities on any foreign bands caught playing unauthorized shows, but it turns out that draconian contractual stipulations aren't the only injustices being committed at this year's SXSW.

In what can only be construed as a blatant slap in the face to the entire state of Texas, tech-bro meal-replacement brand Soylent inexplicably decided to get into the barbecue game this SXSW with the deeply puzzling creation that is a plate of Texas brisket smothered in "Sweet Cacao" Soylent sauce. Cacao-flavored Soylent Cacao was released earlier this year and is supposed to taste like "velvety chocolate."

READ MORE: The CEO of Soylent Is Enraging LA With a Single Shipping Container

As part of a collaboration with Austin-based Keith's BBQ, festival-goers were offered the chance last week to indulge in the sheer unbridled sensory pleasure that is a variety of Soylent-infused cocktails and a plate of barbecue drenched in a Soylent-derived sauce. Keith's served brisket, chicken, and sausage at the event and also offered their regular barbecue sauce just in case you don't happen to have a sense of deep-seated loathing.

Aside from being a middle finger to the pitmasters and barbecue tradition of the Lone Star State, the PR stunt seems to be diametrically opposed to the entire point of Soylent and the company's mission to "use science, technology, and enterprise as tools to improve the quality and accessibility of nourishing food." That's not to mention that just putting regular barbecue sauce on Texas barbecue is an act of controversy in that state, so we can only imagine how Texans are reacting to this ungodly affront.

Muddying the proverbial waters even further, Soylent's creator and CEO—Rob Rhinehart—happens to not be the biggest fan of that whole "food" thing. Rhinehart previously told VICE that he "feel[s] liberated from a crushing amount of repetitive drudgery" that is having to cook and consume regular meals.

READ MORE: No One's Sure Why Soylent's Food Bars Are Making People Puke

 And as Buzzfeed points out, the CEO has also previously called the act of grocery shopping a "multisensory living nightmare." So there's that. A spokesperson for Soylent told MUNCHIES, "According to our business development manager, Abel Charrow, he hired Keith's to cater the SXSW party. Abel then pitched Keith's the idea of making a chocolatey sauce out of Soylent Cacao as an experimental addition to the regular menu. The team was on board and started experimenting by mixing Soylent Cacao with their own unique sauces and ingredients. The finished result was surprisingly delicious and sweet, great for dipping."

If food could talk, we're pretty damn sure that Soylent's "Sweet Cacao" barbecue sauce would either be spouting unintelligible gibberish or speaking in tongues.