bbq seitan riblets

A bite of my mother's McRib sandwich during my formative years has led to a lifelong love affair with boneless barbeque things.  As a vegetarian, this is a tricky one ;-)

When Trader Joe's started carrying Gardenburger Riblets, I thought I'd died and went to veggie bbq  heaven.  Then I moved to the Danish countryside, where procuring something as simple as tofu or tempeh means keeping track of the Asian shop's biweekly delivery schedule.

So, my chances of finding a pre-made veg-friendly barbeque anything here are somewhere between slim and none.

But I love a challenge, and I love seitan, so now I make my own riblets.  The only catch is I have to get my vital wheat gluten in my travels, or order it from the UK with crazy shipping charges.  But, it's totally worth the hassle!

1 cup vital wheat gluten
2 t smoked paprika
2 T nutritional yeast
2 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
3/4 cup cool water
2 T peanut butter
1 t liquid smoke 
1 T tamari

Stir together the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, then add them to the dry ingredients and stir the mixture just until it's combined.  You don't want to activate the gluten!

Grease a baking sheet, then press the dough into a rectangle that's approx. 12" x 6" or any shape that's uniform 1/4" - 1/2" thick.   Cut it down the middle the long way, then cut it into whatever size strips make you happy. I make mine with sandwiches in mind, so if you're planning to eat it as "ribs" you might want to adjust your dimensions.

Bake it at 350 degrees (175 celsius) for 25 minutes, or until it starts to puff up.  Then brush the top with barbeque sauce and stick it under under the broiler for 5 minutes, or until the sauce starts to caramelize.  You can flip it and repeat the sauce protocol on the other side, but it's sort of messy and it's totally ok to skip it.

Then, as a nod to the sandwich that started my barbeque luv way back in the early 80's, I eat my riblets on a baguette with pickles, onions, and lots more barbeque sauce.

I make my own barbeque sauce because the selection here is very poor, and quite expensive, so it's just better that way :)

Here's my bbq sauce recipe:

1 1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1t liquid smoke
1 t onion powder
1/4 t chili powder
1/2 t salt

Whisk everything together, bring it to a boil then simmer it uncovered for 10 minutes, or until it's as thick as you'd like it.

So it's not exactly a McRib, but I can have it anytime I want, and it's a bit less frightening than the "restructured meat product" (e.g. a mixture of tripe, heart, and scalded stomach) that passes as the original.  Bon app├ętit!

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