Going Vegetarian for Lent – Day 15: Burnt Ends…


Starting out week 3, I was needing something different and new.  Chase the challenge, right?  Focus is now on nutrients and figuring out how to manage the protein levels.  Tempeh to the rescue?  Maybe?  Never heard of this stuff.  After some research, it looks like a better option than some of the other “meat” substitutes.  So off to the store to try and find this stuff.  Took awhile to find some that wasn’t prepared or seasoned, but scored a couple different brands to try out.

My idea was to make Burnt Ends.  Now, for meat lovers out there, and if you’re at all familiar with Kansas City BBQ, you would know it is the coveted “find” at most notable BBQ joints.  People line up for them on days they’re served.  OMG, my mouth is watering.  STOP THE MADNESS.  Told you I was starting to crave this stuff.

Ok, focus.  Like I was saying, I wanted to try out this tempeh stuff “burnt end” style.  Fired up the grill, put in a couple chunks of hickory wood, and let it dial down to 250 degrees.  I typically like hickory wood smoke on beef and apple wood on pork.

Not having a clue on how to “smoke” this stuff, I thought a good approach might be doing it like cheese.  Oh yea, there’s another good one, smoked cheese.  Once the little Big Green Egg was chugging along, on went the tempeh.  No seasonings, just right out of the package.  What’s better than real smoke flavor.  Was also a little hesitant to over season it with traditional BBQ seasonings.

Let is smoke about 7-8 minutes on each side then pulled it off.  Cut it up in to cubes, sauced it with my current favorite BBQ sauce (Jack Stack spicy).  Pushed the grill back up towards 400 degrees, and put the tempeh cubes back on.

Not sure exactly how long they cooked before I carefully turned them, guess maybe 5-6 minutes on each side.

Now the moment of truth (drumroll please…).  Had a great smoke flavor, not over powering.  The crusted sauce had that good char taste.  Had all the hints of good BBQ, except the texture.  Took me awhile to wrap my head around the texture.  As each bite progressed, I started sorting it out.  Guess it was so different than anything else I’ve ever eaten, it was just weird.  My brain and taste buds were screaming BBQ, but there is a mental learning curve to this stuff.

Final verdict.  It was good.  It was filling. And a work in progress.  In the world of cooking beef brisket, one of the hardest cuts of meat to nail, it takes practice.

I think the cube style might have had something to do with the texture “mind blow”, so that might be why you read about people making fake ribs.  Thinner pieces might fire different receptors?  I can totally see how this stuff would be good in stir fry or scrambles.

Had a great run today.   Credit goes to The Lumineers music for matching up the beat to my cadence.  Sometimes it just all comes together.

Inspiration for the day is to remember that its ok to venture into uncharted territory and to not fear failure.  Joshua 1:9


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