Thursday, May 10, 2012

Barbecue "Ribs"

Fake ribs and slaw on a sammie, with corn on the cob.
Perfect summer fare!
Today I bring you another installment in the saga of this 20-year vegetarian's love of good ol' meat:  barbecue ribz.  (The "z" means they're not real!)

You can buy frozen fake barbecue ribs, and they're pretty tasty, frankly.  But they're expensive, and I'm cheap.  This version is less expensive (assuming these are the sort of ingredients you keep in your pantry).  They're also surprisingly easy.  Note that there are lots of similar recipes on the net.  This just happens to be the one I've tried and the one I can vouch for.  But don't be bashful about trying something similar with different spices or a slightly different protein profile.

You can grill the finished product on an actual charcoal grill, but I'm happy to broil them to get that caramel crisp on the sauce.  The ribz themselves can be eaten alone, but I like them on a sandwich with a simple coleslaw garnish.  Voila, some down home bbq sammies.

Susan V's Barbecued Seitan Ribz 
(originally posted at Everyday Dish)

1 c. wheat gluten
2 tsp. smoked paprika (I have sometimes subbed 2 tsp. of Penzey's Galena St. Rub, so you could probably try any BBQ rub blend that has paprika in it)
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast (or parmesan cheese)
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 c. water
2 Tbs. nut butter (tahini, peanut butter, etc.)
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 c. bottled barbecue sauce

Preheat oven to 350 and spray an 8x8 inch pan with nonstick spray.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk all the wet ingredients (except the bbq sauce) in a separate bowl, then add to the dry ingredients.  Mix and knead for about 2 minutes.

Place dough in pan and flatten.  Score into 8 strips, then cut those in half to make 16 rectangles.  Bake 25 minutes.  Turn broiler on to high.

Remove from oven and cut again.  Use a spatula to lift the pieces out, and place on a broiler rack lined with foil.  Brush with half the sauce, broil for 3 minutes, flip, brush with remaining sauce, and broil again.  (Keep an eye on the broiler so you don't burn these ... you can also grill them on an outdoor grill or a George Foreman type thingie.)


  1. I'm totally fascinated by this recipe. Yesterday's post was from Avery, who has to avoid wheat gluten, and today, wheat gluten is the basis of the entire dish.

    It's interesting to me that something like wheat gluten can be manipulated to simulate meat. I've seen Seitan in my health food store, but never thought about what it might be!

    ~ Krista

  2. Krista - the gluten-free / glutenous dichotomy was interesting to me, too. Seitan (based on wheat gluten) is also called mock duck. It's pretty meat-like in texture (as I remember it, that is), and it cooks up nicely. My seitan pot pie is an absolute favorite "fancy meal."

  3. Fake ribs. How interesting! I'm sure a lot of veggie people will enjoy this for Mother's Day. Great post.