Archive for the ‘Barbecue’ category

Upton’s Naturals Jackfruit

September 28th, 2015

Upton's Naturals Chili Lime Jackfruit and BBQ Jackfruit - Nashveggie - Vegan and Vegetarian in Nashville

 

Anyone who knows me knows my love for barbecue. As a vegan I still love barbecue. You don’t have to use pork, beef or chicken to get the smoky goodness of barbecue. As a matter of fact, for me it is all about the sauce. I just need a form of transport for the sauce and sometimes that’s a simple as a spoon. However, being the barbecue lover as I am I was excited to try Upton’s Naturals Jackfruit. I had tried a barbecue jackfruit sandwich once before at Native Foods and we seriously underwhelmed but I believe it had more to do with the fact I had paid $10 for a sandwich that had 2 small pieces of jackfruit and was nearly flavorless.

Jackfruit has recently elevated itself as the new vegan meat replacement of choice among the vegans who like meat replacements. It has a chewy texture and a stringy form when unripe that much resembles pulled pork or beef. Add that to barbecue sauce and you have what could be a nice sandwich for some.

Upton’s Naturals is a Chicago based natural food producer. Their products consist of seitan and now they have added jackfruit to their line. The jackfruit from Upton’s Naturals is available in Bar-B-Que and Chili Lime Carnitas. I tried both.

I prepared the Bar-B-Que jackfruit on stovetop. I heated it slowly in a pan, covered and served it on a freshly baked bun with sweet pickles. On the first bite I felt something was off. The flavor was very vinegary. There was no smokiness or sweetness to the sauce. The flavor of the jackfruit was there in a fruity way but the sweetness of the barbecue sauce which should always be noticeable in a good barbecue sauce was completely missing. I trudged through the rest of the sandwich but was left very underwhelmed. I think this product could benefit from a reworking of the sauce that it is served with.

 

Upton's Naturals BBQ Jackfruit sandwich - Nashveggie - Vegan and Vegetarian in Nashville

Upton’s Naturals BBQ Jackfruit sandwich. Served with sweet pickles on a fresh baked bun.

 

The Chili Lime Carnitas Jackfruit is similar in form to the Bar-B-Que Jackfruit. I prepared it the same as the Bar-B-Que and serve it with black beans and rice. Upon the first bite I noticed the same acidity present in the Bar-B-Que Jackfruit. There was no lime flavor at all. There was no spice or flavoring to the sauce or jackfruit other than the acidic sauce. There was a distinct fruit flavor to the jackfruit that was entirely out of place as though the jackfruit had been overripe. I had beans and rice for dinner this night and the jackfruit went uneaten.

 

Upton's Naturals Chili Lime Jackfruit - Nashveggie - Vegan and Vegetarian in Nashville

Upton’s Naturals Chili Lime Carnitas Jackfruit served over rice.

 

If you are a jackfruit fan these two products may be for you. I am not certain of whether these are not good products or I’m just not a fan of jackfruit but I honestly think the issue lies in the sauce and spices used with the jackfruit.

If you’re up for trying your own and forming an opinion for yourself both varieties of jackfruit as well as seitan from Upton’s Naturals is available from Vegan Essentials and other locations. At the time of this article, Whole Foods in the Nashville area does not stock the jackfruit.

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Butler Soy Curls

January 14th, 2012

Butler Soy Curls

If you’ve been to Portland you’ll find plenty vegan food and you’ll also likely experience a thing called soy curls. They’re found everywhere from Homegrown Smoker to Native Bowl. Nothing more than dried soybean protein they have a chewy texture and, like tofu, Butler Soy Curls can take on the flavor properties of whatever you season them with. So when given a few bags of these versatile goodies I brainstormed on what I should prepare first. The obvious choice was a simple barbecue sandwich.

I’m no fan of meat substitutes and I’ve made that clear before. I do, however, realize that fake meats have their place for transitioning vegetarians and the occasional vegan who likes the chance of getting with some junk food. I’ll indulge in junk food from time to time and sometimes one of those fake meats might be what I choose if it’s new or really doesn’t have exact properties of actual meat.

I chose to make saucy barbecue sandwiches using some of the peach BBQ sauce I made and bottled over the summer. Instead of simply soaking the curls for a few minutes as the directions indicated I simmered them in a mixture of broth, seasonings and a little of the peach BBQ sauce for about 15 minutes until most of the liquid had boiled away leaving the soy curls well-flavored before I added them to a saucepan of peach BBQ sauce. I turned them down on low and simmered them again for about 30 minutes. Fresh baked buns awaited great vegan barbecue sandwich.

Butler Soy Curls

Butler Soy Curls hydrated. At this point they have a slightly chewy texture and are ready for your recipe.

 

Butler Soy Curls BBQ

Butler Soy Curls simmering in homemade Peach BBQ Sauce. Getting ready for a great vegan BBQ sandwich.

 

Butler Soy Curls - Vegan BBQ Sandwich

Vegan BBQ Sandwich with Butler Soy Curls

 

The soy curls are slightly chewy and have no flavor on their own so they can be made to fit into most any dish you choose. They’re great for stir fries, sandwiches, fajitas and could be chopped slightly smaller and used in soups or stews.

Butler Soy Curls are available from their website as well as many online retailers.

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Portland, Oregon: Homegrown Smoker

October 20th, 2011
Homegrown Smoker

Homegrown Smoker Food Cart in Portland, Oregon

Food carts! In Portland they’re everywhere. 6×12 (or somewhere in that general area) portable trailers fitted with small kitchens and setup in empty lots around the city. You’ll find just about any cuisine you’re in the mood for: Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican, burgers, pizza, coffee bars and juice bars and plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. One we searched out and really enjoyed was Homegrown Smoker.

You’ll find Homegrown Smoker in a food cart pod at SW 4th and SW Hall at Portland State University. The menu is completely vegan and filled with barbecued and smoky goodness. It was hard to choose from the menu. So many delicious sounding choices. There’s the SloSmoMoFo: BBQ soy curls which are chunks of seitan in a sweet, smoky barbecue sauce, and chipotle slaw on a grilled bun. A Macnocheeto: vegan mac and cheese, baked beans, grilled peppers and onions, BBQ sauce, vegan cheese sauce and a choice of those soy curls or vegan chipotle sausage wrapped in a tortilla. We settled on the Smoked Chili Pie: A bag of Fritos corn chips opened and inside poured smoky chili, cabbage, onions, chipotle aioli, Daiya cheese and the vegan NoCheese sauce. It looks very subdued but that’s one bag of a filling lunch. We also picked the Loafaroni, my favorite of the two. Two thick-cut pieces of smoky vegan meatloaf topped with Mac & NoCheese and covered in BBQ sauce and NoCheese sauce on a grilled bun. That’s right, ON A BUN! It’s a sandwich! How can you possibly go wrong with vegan mac & cheese on a bun? It’s served with one side so spicy baked beans worked perfectly. Did I mention it is ON A BUN?

Everything on the menu at Homegrown Smoker is 100% vegan. When you’re faced with so many vegan choices in a city like Portland, Oregon and then most all of them are 100% vegan you have to pick and choose wisely. Choosing Homegrown Smoker won’t be a bad decision.

Loafaroni

Loafaroni: Smoky Vegan Meatloaf, Vegan Mac & Cheese, BBQ sauce and vegan cheese sauce ON A BUN!

 

Homegrown Smoker - Smoked Chili Pie

Smoked Chili Pie

 

Food Cart Pod at SW 4th & Hall Portland, Oregon

Food Cart Pod at SW 4th & Hall

 

Homegrown Smoker Menu

Homegrown Smoker Menu

 

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