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This easy vegan BBQ seitan is seasoned and basted into the perfect vegan brisket or ribs that even meat eaters will enjoy. It’s juicy, succulent, and sticky with a smoky sweet-savory-spicy flavor and packed with protein, perfect for cookouts, BBQs, and picnics!

completed Smoked BBQ Seitan [Brisket Or Ribs] being sliced against a white background
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What Is Seitan?

Seitan (pronounced SAY-TAN) is a super versatile vegan meat substitute made using vital wheat gluten, the protein found in wheat once the starch is removed.

When combined with water (or stock) and the seasonings of your choice, you can make firm, chewy, seitan vegan meat: beef, chicken, turkey, etc. It’s also a great meat alternative (containing even more protein than most meats!) for those who can’t consume soy and it’s a great lean protein with low amounts of fat and carbs.

Super Smoky BBQ Vegan Seitan Brisket or Ribs

The next time you’re craving BBQ, we have the perfect vegan BBQ seitan recipe for you! With a simple, inexpensive collection of pantry-friendly spices and BBQ sauce, you can make delicious barbeque seitan beef that is savory, sweet, spicy, smoky, tender, and succulent.

And if you’re looking for more delicious dishes worthy of your next grill day, you might also enjoy Vegan Kabobs with Marinated Tempeh, Vegan BBQ Jackfruit, or spicy buffalo tofu.

Estimated Cost Per Serving: $.93

The Ingredients and Substitutes

Just 6 ingredients make up the base vegan seitan meat recipe before being smothered in BBQ sauce and a homemade spice rub of 7 inexpensive, pantry-friendly ingredients for the perfect flavor combination!

completed Smoked BBQ Seitan [Brisket Or Ribs] in slices against a white background

The Basic Seitan Meat:

  • Vital wheat gluten: This makes up the base of the vegan meat substitute. You can’t replace it.
  • Water: For more flavor, use vegan beef broth or vegetable broth.
  • Seasonings: You’ll need onion powder, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast for a savory, umami flavor.
  • BBQ sauce: For subtle sweet and smoky flavor in the BBQ seitan.
  • Soy sauce: For salty, umami flavor. Use reduced-sodium soy if preferred.

The BBQ Spice Rub

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • Chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • Black pepper

You’ll also need a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce to glaze the smoked seitan.

What Else Could I Add?

  • Liquid smoke: You can add a teaspoon of liquid smoke to mimic the flavor.
  • Chickpea flour: Adding this high-protein flour will produce a softer final seitan beef, as the VWG isn’t as densely packed. Per cup, use ¾ cup VWG + ¼ cup chickpea flour.
  • Jackfruit: Adding a small can of jackfruit (drained, shredded, and squeezed to remove all excess liquid) can help add textural differences in the smoked seitan brisket/ribs.
  • Tahini: Add a tablespoon for extra fatty richness. Neutral oil would work too.

How To Make BBQ Seitan Meat?

Keep scrolling to the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients and recipe instructions.

How To Make Seitan Dough

  • 1) Mix the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon of onion powder, and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder in a large bowl. In a different bowl, mix water, BBQ sauce, and soy sauce.
  • 2) Combine the wet and dry ingredients forming a wet, spongy dough, then knead it for 3-5 minutes before leaving it to rest for 5 minutes for the gluten to relax.

The amount of time you knead the dough impacts the texture of the BBQ seitan meat. Less time will be more tender, and longer means firmer results. So if you want it super tender, knead it for just 30-60 seconds.

  • 3) Next, shape the seitan beef. We like to stretch the dough into a long 7-8-inch log and enjoy it as one larger loaf (flatten slightly for seitan brisket).
process shot of forming shape of wheat gluten against white background

Alternatively, you could cut nuggets, cubes, or make seitan ribs, by rolling it into a ½-inch thick rib-shaped slab (or square). Note the size of the pieces will affect the cooking time.

To steam the seitan: Loosely wrap the vegan seitan meat into a parchment paper or foil parcel, then transfer to a steamer basket and steam for 40-50 minutes, until firm. This method is slightly quicker and yields slightly denser, drier ‘meat,’ great for pan-frying and grilling to achieve crispiness.

How to Make BBQ Seitan Brisket/ Ribs

  • 1) Mix the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon of onion powder, and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder in a large bowl. In a different bowl, mix water, BBQ sauce, and soy sauce.
  • 2) Combine water, BBQ, and soy sauce mix with the vital wheat gluten mix. The mixture will be wet and spongy. Knead for 3 to 5 minutes, and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • 3) Stretch the dough into a 7 to 8 inch log.
process shot of forming shape of wheat gluten against white background
  • 4) Mix the remaining onion powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, pepper cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
  • 5) Rub the spice mixture on the seitan log.
  • 6) Wrap the seitan log with parchment paper the same way you would wrap a burrito. Then tightly wrap it with aluminum foil. 
  • 7) Preheat your oven at 375 degrees. Place the wrapped seitan on a sheet pan.
  • 8) Let the seitan cook for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and parchment paper and brush it with more bbq sauce to rehydrate it.

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • Cooking time will vary: Based on the size of the seitan pieces. I.e., bite-sized pieces can cook in as little as 15-20 minutes, whereas a large loaf may take up to 80 minutes.
  • Tweak the flavors: For example, adjust the amount of chili/cayenne, sugar, etc.

FAQs

What does seitan taste like?

It has a fairly mild flavor, with a slightly yeasty, ‘gluten’ flavor, which makes it a great all-purpose base to season, baste, and marinate in dozens of ways.

Is seitan gluten-free?

No, it’s made from wheat gluten, so it is not recommended for those with gluten sensitivity or allergies.

completed Smoked BBQ Seitan [Brisket Or Ribs] against a white background

What To Serve With Smoked BBQ Seitan?

We love enjoying it as vegan brisket/seitan ribs as part of a cookout/picnic alongside all our favorites, like:

You can also enjoy the baked seitan in a burger bun or sandwich, with fresh ‘slaw, salad veggies, and either mustard or vegan mayo OR chop it into tiny pieces and enjoy it in a pita or wrap!

Storage Instructions

Once cooked, you can store the leftover BBQ seitan wrapped in plastic wrap in an airtight container or Ziplock/Stasher bag for 4-5 days.

You can also freeze the leftovers, whole or sliced, wrapped tightly, and in an airtight Ziplock/Stasher bag for 3-4 months. Allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.

To reheat the seitan meat, we prefer to microwave or pan-fry it with a little liquid to keep it from drying.

If it has slightly dried, soaking it in a little liquid or adding it to a sauce can help rehydrate it.

completed Smoked BBQ Seitan [Brisket Or Ribs] in slices against a white background

Can You Make It Ahead?

Store the prepared seitan dough, tightly wrapped, for up to 12 hours in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer (note this version will be chewier) before continuing with the recipe.

More Easy Protein Recipes

Also, you might enjoy browsing our list of 16 savory tofu recipes!

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

BBQ Seitan [Brisket Or Ribs]

5 from 52 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
This easy vegan BBQ seitan is seasoned and basted into the perfect vegan brisket or ribs that even meat eaters will enjoy. It’s juicy, succulent, and sticky with a smoky sweet-savory-spicy flavor and packed with protein, perfect for cookouts, BBQs, and picnics!

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cups of Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 3 Tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons of Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of Onion Powder
  • 1 cup of Water
  • 1/3 cup of Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon of BBQ Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Black Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons of Paprika
  • 1 bottle of Your Favorite BBQ Sauce

Instructions 

  • Mix vital wheat gluten, nutrional yeast, 1 tablespoon of onion powder, and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder in a large bowl. In a different bowl, mix water, BBQ sauce, and soy sauce.
  • Combine water, BBQ, and soy sauce mix with the vital wheat gluten mix. The mixture will be wet and spongy. Knead for 3 to 5 minutes, and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Stretch the dough into a 7 to 8 inch log.
  • Mix the remaining onion powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, pepper cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
  • Rub the spice mixture on the seitan log.
  • Wrap the seitan log with partchemt paper the same way you would wrap a burrito. Then tightly wrap it with aluminum foil.
  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  • Place the wrapped seitan on a sheetpan.
  • Let the seitan cook for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and partchement ppaer and brush it with more bbq sauce to rehhydrate it.
  • Slice and serve with more bbq sauce on the side.

Notes

    • Cooking time will vary: Based on the size of the seitan pieces. I.e., bite-sized pieces can cook in as little as 15-20 minutes, whereas a large loaf may take up to 80 minutes.
  •  
  •  
    • Tweak the flavors: For example, adjust the amount of chili/cayenne, sugar, etc.

Nutrition

Calories: 473kcalCarbohydrates: 74gProtein: 42gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.4gSodium: 2351mgPotassium: 737mgFiber: 7gSugar: 46gVitamin A: 3653IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 152mgIron: 6mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Terrence Paschal
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Method: Stovetop
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Terrence Paschal

Plant based food, micro brews, punk rock, and running are what I am about.

More about Terrence Paschal

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This BBQ brisket is so delicious! It’s fun to make, smells fantastic and tastes amazing … thanks for the recipe!