May 25, 2011

Recipe Replay: Smoked Seitan

Just in time for Memorial Day, I’m bringing back my Authentic Smoked Seitan recipe. Truth be told, this stuff is just too good to languish in the early pages of my blog!

As I said originally, this comes as close to real barbecue as vegetarian food can get. It’s smoky, crispy and chewy – and perfect on a bun with a vinegary, North Carolina-style sauce. If you don’t have a smoker, you can smoke in a Weber grill.

Trust me, if you make this, people will be talking about your amazing vegetarian barbecue for months to come!

Step 1:  Make Seitan

1 ½ c. vital wheat gluten*
¼ c. nutritional yeast flakes*
1 c. + 2 T. ice water
1/3 c. low sodium soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 t. lemon zest
2 t. paprika
¼ t. cumin
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
½ t. chili powder

Liquid for simmering:

10 cups extremely cold water
1/3 c. low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

Combine gluten and nutritional yeast in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together water, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, lemon zest and spices.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine. Knead dough in the bowl for about 3 minutes until you have a spongy dough (this will look and feel like the most disgusting food ever). Excess liquid will accumulate in the bottom of the bowl, and that’s fine – just leave it in the bowl.  Let rest for a few minutes, then shape into a log about 7 or 8 inches long. Cut into 3 pieces.

Put the cold water and soy sauce in a large saucepan and gently put the pieces of dough in the liquid. Partially cover the pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for one hour, turning the pieces occasionally.  Let it cool for ten minutes, then remove the seitan. As soon as it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the liquid you can, being careful not to break the hunks of seitan.  Wrap each piece in plastic wrap or place in a zip lock bag and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

* Vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast are available at any health food store or markets like Whole Foods.

Step 2:  Rub and smoke

Dry rub:

3 T. paprika
1 T. black pepper
1 T. sugar
1 T. chili powder
2 t. garlic powder
2 t. onion powder
1 t. cayenne pepper
½ t. dry mustard powder

Start a fire in your smoker.  Soak wood chips (preferably hickory) for 45 minutes or more. Coat the seitan pieces in the dry rub mixture and put it on a grill basket or right on the grate. Throw some wood chips on the hot coals and close the  cover. Smoke for 1 ½ hours, adding more soaked wood chips occasionally.   If your smoker has a thermometer, keep the temperature at about 225.

Step 3:  Sauce and eat

Barbecue sauce:

1 c. water
1 c. cider vinegar
2/3 c. ketchup
1 T. sugar
½ t. red pepper flakes
½ t. freshly ground pepper
1 t. salt

Whisk the sauce ingredients together until sugar dissolves. Let the smoked seitan cool for 5 minutes, then slice, drizzle with sauce and serve plain or on buns.  (Note: It’s best served right after you smoke it – if you reheat it in an oven later, the edges will lose the crispiness.)

See more recipes: Miscellaneous


  • Wow – this looks so extravagant! When I made vegan chorizo, it seemed much simpler sine they were baked. What kind of texture do you get with these?

  • I always wanted to smoke something, just never got around to it. Seitan looks like the perfect thing to smoke. I am inspired maybe smoked tempeh this week. Enjoy the tempeh…I make a wonderful toasted walnut-smoked paprika-soy tempeh and toasted sesame split pea tempeh that you have to try.

  • I have made seitan before. I like it. It was a lot of work but I felt it wasquite worth the effort. I never thought to smoke it. I think this is a fabulous idea and I am quite sure I will try it.

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