Vegan Pulled-“Pork”…and No, It’s NOT Jackfruit!

So as I’ve mentioned before, when James became vegetarian (when he got together with me!), the one thing he really missed was pulled pork. He mentioned this once in passing to Annie and she put him onto the whole jackfruit-pulled-pork phenomenon. It was a revelation to James, and the dish has been in our regular rotation ever since. However, as I was making it the other day, I realized that shredded seitan might actually be a better texture than jackfruit, so I decided to give it a try.

The result was absolutely brilliant–I will be making James’ favourite dish this way from now on! James loved it so much he ate THREE pulled-“pork” sammies!!

I highly recommend making this succulent dish!

A bit of a heads up: this whole entry is somewhat labour-intensive because I made the seitan “pork,” the barbecue sauce, the pulled “pork,” and the buns, but you can leave out the barbecue sauce and buns and just buy those for a quicker result.

So, first off, you’ll need to make the seitan “pork.” This is almost identical to my chickwheat recipe, but I switched out the vegan chick’n broth powder for BTB vegetable base and also switched the poultry seasoning for sage, cumin, and thyme (spices commonly associated with pork). I also added vegan Worcestershire sauce.

Seitan “Pork”

Throw the following in your Vitamix and blend until smooth and runny:

  • 1 can chickpeas (liquid and all!)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 TBS tahini
  • 2 TBS miso
  • 1 TBS Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
  • 1 TBS onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 TBS vegan Worcestershire powder (or 2 TBS vegan Worcestershire sauce)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

While the mixture is blending, measure the following into the bowl of a stand mixer:

  • 1 3/4 cup vital wheat gluten (255 gms)

Next, pour in the liquid and mix on the lowest speed until the dough is uniform. At this point, you may have to add more vital wheat gluten. You do not want a sticky dough–it should be slightly shaggy, but not sticky.

Let sit for fifteen minutes and then knead in the stand mixer for about eight minutes.

Next, cut the dough in half and form each loaf into long sausages. Tie the sausages into one or two fat knots.

Wrap tightly in parchment paper and then in tin foil.

Next, pour two cups of water into your Instant Pot, set the steamer insert in the pot, and set the wrapped seitan on the insert. Set the Instant Pot for 120 minutes on high pressure. Once the cycle is complete, do a quick release and remove the seitan loaf.

Once the seitan is steamed and cooled, you’ll be able to see the reason for the knots: the knots create greater opportunities for striations:

While your seitan is steaming, make this amazing barbecue sauce. I don’t even like barbecue sauce and I like this stuff. Alternatively, as I mentioned above, you can just use your favourite commercial barbecue sauce and save yourself some time. The source for this sauce is Allrecipes’ Bourbon BBQ Sauce, but I made a few changes.

Irish Whiskey BBQ Sauce

Pour….

  • 3/4 cup Jameson Irish Whiskey

…into a saucepan.

Add…

  • ½ onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

…and saute for ten minutes.

Mix together…

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ⅓ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 TBS liquid smoke
  • ¼ cup vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 TBS sambal oelek
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes

Add to the sauce pan, whisk together, bring to a boil, lower the heat to minimum, and simmer for one hour.

Okay, so now onto the pulled “pork.” First off, when the seitan finishes in the Instant Pot, unwrap it and let it cool. Next, pull it open and start shredding it into long thin shreds. You want about a pound.

Seitan Pulled “Pork”

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Spray a saucepan with oil and saute….

  • 1/2 chopped onion for five or six minutes

Add….

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

…and continue to saute for another minute.

While the onions and garlic are cooking, whisk together…

  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2/3 cup Whiskey BBQ sauce

Add to the saucepan with the onions and garlic. Mix well and add….

  • 1 lb. seitan “pork,” shredded into thin shreds

Simmer for ten or fifteen minutes until most of moisture has evaporated/been absorbed.

Line a cookie pan with parchment paper and spread the contents of the saucepan over the parchment paper.

Ready for the oven

Bake for twenty minutes, flip the “pork,” and bake for another twenty minutes.

Perfect!

You may have to add more time in five minute increments because it should NOT be mushy. You want the finished product to look like this–sticky, not mushy:

If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve likely done enough work for one meal, buuuuuut if you feel like making super soft flavourful buns for your pulled “pork” sammies, this recipe for vegan buns made with a tangzhong starter is great! I’ve become obsessed with bread products made with a tangzhong, which means that you add a kind of roux to the dough. The process makes for a very soft bread! The aforementioned recipe is, of course, vegan, but if you want to see a video of how it’s done, have a look here. Be forewarned though–this video contains dairy products; I’m including it only for demonstration purposes:

Non-vegan buns made with a tangzhong starter

James made a batch of his deliciously crunchy Chez Piggy slaw and I air-fried some smashed-down baby potatoes and we had a feast!! This is James’ plate; as delicious as the sammies were, I could not eat two. James ended up eating THREE! In his defence, the man exercises two hours a day while I “read the papers”….and then we all walk the dogs for an hour and a half, so he is HUNGRY at dinner time.

Pulled-“Pork” Sammies with Smashed-Down ‘Taters

Aaaaand the song of the day is Roo Panes’ “Water Over Fire.” I discovered Roo Panes last week and have been completely OBSESSED with him ever since!

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