First I must make note of this special day by offering my kind greetings to all , May the 4th be with you. Over the weekend my cousin busted out her smoker. The assigned task: Jerky. This is a long standing family tradition that we are continuing here in Vancouver. It involves intensive Jedi meditative techniques like sitting in the sun, drinking a few beers and chatting with the family while you stare at a box of smoke for hours on end. It is something that we all look forward too. In the past this ritual had always made me feel a bit left out due to the fact that nothing that ever came out of the smoker was something I could eat. But guess what my young padawans, smokers are for vegetarians too!!!!! In fact it makes the most amazing veggie stuff! I have made many smoked things now such as veggie ribs, smoked nuts, spices, cheese, vegetables. Posts will come related to such notions in the future. Today we focus on vegetarian jerky.
I have never made vegetarian jerky before, and this is my first attempt. Luckily it turned out amazing!
First I made the seitan, but differently than usual. I wanted to impart a lot of flavour in the dry mix itself to make the jerky as flavorful as possible
Seitan for Jerky Ingredients:
3 cups of vital wheat gluten flour
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/8 cup mushroom powder (this is natural msg. MSG is a synthetic replication of umami. Umami is a natural substance found in fermented items, mushrooms, cheese, meat ect. It is a savory taste. I found this at a Vietnamese grocery store.It is quite salty but very mushroom-y and umami. If you aren’t into it substitute with a few tbsp of braggs or soy sauce)
a ton of black pepper (like 50 cracks worth)
4 tbsp of home made creole spice
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cups water
Lg pot filled with water a few inches from the top
5 bay leaves
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp miso
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 carrot broken into big chunks
2 ribs celery
Uncle Jim’s Jerky Marinade:
1 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup lime juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
2 tbsp chili flakes
2 cloves smashed whole garlic
1) add all the dry ingredients and incorporate well. Then add the wet and knead until comes together in a squishy ball. separate into 4 loaf type chunks.
2) whisk the miso and soy in the broth and throw in other ingredients. Bring to a simmer. Add the seitan chunks and cook at a simmer for 45 min to an hour. Make sure to keep it at a simmer otherwise the boil with fuss up the gluten.
3) drain broth and re use for something else if you wish. Allow seitan to cool. This can be frozen for later use if desired or used for other veggie products. I reserved 1 loafish thing like a bbq sauce marinated seitan “steak”.
4) cut into thin strips
5) whisk together jerky marinade
6) place strips in jerky marinade overnight in an air tight bag or container in the refrigerator.
7) The next morning take the marinated seitan out of the fridge and drain all the liquid.
8) preheat the smoker to 230 degrees and add a selection of woodchips (we chose a mix of applewood and hickory)
9) Place strips directly on the rack of the smoker, or in a perforated aluminium pan
10) Smoke at 230 for an hour and then turn the heat down to 190 and smoke for 4-6 hours, replacing wood chips throughout the process. Make sure you have a comfortable chair and a tasty beverage.
You will want to see the colour dark and the texture dry and chewy. note: My jerky had to finish in the oven for another hour at 200 degrees to dry it out more. You can experiment with different techniques. I think I might try drying it out in the oven a bit first next time and then putting it in the smoker. Still learning as I go!
11) This can also be done in the oven, but the oven jerky won’t have that lovely smoked flavour. Mabye try adding more liquid smoke to the marinade?And the result…. chewy, smoky, umami, and delicious!!!