Break out the barbie this bank hol – it’s time for VEGAN STEAK!

Plus all the BBQ sauce recipes you’ll ever need

Wicked Healthy Vegan BBQ scene Title Sussex Magazine


Thought the BBQ was just for meat heads? This is a deeply satisfying plant-pusher dish; truly eye-opening for hard-core meat eaters. When you press and sear a big, fluffy maitake mushroom, it develops a dense, meaty texture and satisfying browned flavour. Then you can barbecue it low and slow with some wood chunks or chips, and baste it with barbecue sauce.

And as shown above, you can chuck a ton of other vegan goodies on the racks – corn, cabbage and cauliflower steaks, tofu, whatever. Slather in a sauce and get grilling.

4 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 pound maitake mushrooms (6 to 10 whole mushroom clusters; see Pro Tips below), cleaned
Texas, bulgogi, or char siu barbecue seasoning (see below)
Texas, bulgogi, or char sui barbecue sauce (see below)

1 Heat a large heavy pan (such as cast iron) over medium heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add half of the mushroom clusters and use a second heavy pan or a couple of foil-wrapped bricks to weight down and press/sear the mushroom clusters. Cook for 2 minutes, then remove the weight and the mushrooms to a work surface.

2 Add another 1 tablespoon oil to the pan, swirling to coat. Flip the mushrooms and season the cooked side with half of the seasoning. Return the mushrooms to the hot pan, raw-side down. Return the weight to the mushrooms and press/sear the other side. Cook for 2 minutes, then remove the weight and flip the mushrooms in the pan. Season the newly cooked side with the remaining seasoning.

3 Return the weight to the mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes. Repeat this process of flipping, weighting down, and searing the clusters until the mushrooms are condensed and pressed into crispy golden brown steaks with almost no liquid left in the pan, about 10 minutes total. Poke the mushrooms to test whether they are finished cooking. They should feel compact yet fleshy, the way the fleshy base of your thumb feels when you poke it while firmly making the okay sign. Repeat with the remaining oil and mushrooms.

4 When the ’shroom steaks are compact and golden brown, remove them to a baking sheet. Brush generously with a thick layer of sauce on both sides and let marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Or, if you have time, marinate in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The longer you marinate, the more flavor you’ll get.

5 To barbecue the steaks, heat a charcoal grill or smoker to medium low, 250ºF to 350ºF (or see Pro Tips, page 224, to roast in the oven). Push the coals or wood to one side to keep the heat to one side of the grill only. Throw a wood chunk or a few handfuls of wood chips onto the edge of your charcoal fire. Put the steaks on the opposite, cooler side of the grill, then put down the lid. Cook slowly until the mushrooms are heated through and charred here and there, 30 to 40 minutes total. Every 10 minutes, flip the steaks and brush with sauce so all sides are glazed with a thick layer. If the steaks threaten to burn, lower the heat by closing the air vents or move the steaks to a cooler part of the grill.

6 Remove the barbecued steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice on an angle to create wide slices. You can also leave the steaks whole and refrigerate them for up to 4 days before using.

Pro Tips

Maitake mushrooms (a.k.a. hen-of-the-woods) grow in big clusters. Buy the biggest clusters you can find and keep them whole. Or use oyster mushrooms. Oysters are more watery, so be patient: They’ll take longer to firm up when you press and sear them. You could even use giant portobello mushroom caps—minus the stems.

If you don’t have a grill or smoker, you can roast the seared mushroom steaks on a baking sheet at 400ºF, turning and basting with the sauce until the mushrooms brown here and there, 30 to 40 minutes total.

Maitake mushrooms steaks for the BBQ Title Sussex Magazine


Texas Seasoning
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
¼ teaspoon granulated onion
¼ teaspoon mustard powder

2 cups prepared BBQ sauce, like Austin’s Own
½ cup beer, like Deschutes Mirror Pond Ale (drink the rest)
¼ cup Marshall’s Haute Sauce Carrot Curry Habanero, or another carrot curry hot sauce

Bulgogi Seasoning
½ tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated onion

1 cup tamari
1 cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, for sprinkling on at the end
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, for sprinkling on at the end

Char Siu Seasoning
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated onion

1 cup tomato paste
½ cup tamari
½ cup beet juice, preferably fresh pressed
¼ cup sriracha
¼ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup Pok Pok Som Chinese celery drinking vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon smoked paprika

The Wicked Healthy Cookbook foreword by Woody Harrelson Title Sussex Magazine


From The Wicked Healthy Cookbook by Chad and Derek Sarno is published by Sphere, priced £20.00
For more plant-based yum check out their website

About Sam Harrington-Lowe
As the managing editor Sam is responsible for all the Title publications and works diligently to develop the brand and support relationships with all partners and clients. She runs things with her dedicated PA Ms Alice Pickle Pug

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