When most of us think about BBQ, the first thing that comes to mind is low-and-slow smoked meats. BBQ is truly a way to bring people together. People from all backgrounds and places can come together over a great plate of BBQ.
However, jokes abound regarding vegans and vegetarians in regard to the world of BBQ. On one hand, it makes a certain amount of sense. On the other hand, the heart of BBQ is about bringing people together.
If you have a friend or family member who is vegan (or even recently became a vegan yourself,) you don’t have to turn your back on your grill or smoker (or your friend or family member!). There is such a thing as vegan barbecue. Here are some of the best vegan BBQ ideas for vegans, including vegan bbq sauce.
What Is Vegan?
If you hear someone say that they’re vegan, what do they mean by that? In the context of vegan BBQ, it means that the person doesn’t eat anything that is a part of an animal or is derived from animals. That’s a big difference between vegetarians and vegans. Vegans don’t eat fish, honey, eggs, milk, cheese, or gelatin.
1. Vegan BBQ Sauce
While some styles of BBQ don’t go for the sauce, it can be an iconic condiment for a lot of people. If you fall in that latter category and then later in life become a vegan, you don’t want to give it up. You can buy vegan BBQ sauces at the store, but why not make a sauce at home? It’ll be cheaper and you can experiment to make it your own.
Nora’s recipe is simple and the one ingredient you might not have (vegan Worcestershire sauce) is optional. You don’t have to cook anything on the stovetop or side burner on your grill. Just mix and it’s ready to go. Now you have a vegan BBQ sauce that will work for any number of your vegan BBQ dishes. Our BBQ sauce recipes can be easily modified for vegans as well.
2. Simple Grilled Seitan
Seitan is a high-protein meat substitute made from gluten protein that’s been separated from the starches in wheat flour. It mimics meat in texture while being mild in flavor, making it a perfect base for a vegan bbq option meal.
This recipe is a perfect vegan grilling recipe for kebabs at your cookout. The bulk of the time is spent marinating in a citrusy yet savory marinade from four hours to overnight. Once you take it to the grill, it’ll be quick just like any other kebabs.
3. Grilled Seitan Asada
While this recipe and the previous one both use grilled and marinated seitan, the applications can vary wildly. This seitan asada sits in a spicy marinade overnight before being grilled. It can be served as is, but if you love tacos and burritos, it’s perfect as a vegan BBQ substitute for carne asada.
The recipe includes a way to make seitan from the vital wheat gluten, but you can use store-bought seitan like the previous dish.
4. King Oyster Mushroom Steaks
Don’t let the name of this recipe fool you, there’s no seafood involved. Instead, it’s sliced King Oyster mushrooms that are marinated in a garlic and ginger-enhance soy sauce base. Then it’s to a grill preheated to about medium heat. You don’t want to scorch or dry out the mushrooms on too high a temp.
The mushrooms don’t have to marinade or cook very long, so this is a quick weeknight main course.
5. Smoked Mushrooms
Mushrooms are a great vegan alternative for smoking and grilling. They have a savory taste and good texture. This recipe takes whatever your preferred mushroom is and coats them in herbs and chili flakes (if you like some heat) before smoking them.
If you aren’t sure what mushrooms you want to use, the recipe’s author included a breakdown of common mushrooms and what they work best for. Good options for smoking include portabella and shiitake mushrooms.
6. Easy Grilled Sweet And Spicy Black Bean Burgers
Few things scream summer more than burgers on the grill. You can still enjoy burgers as a vegan, and this recipe packs a whole lot of flavor. It uses a mango habanero salsa in three different ways to amp up the spice factor. So if you or anyone you’ll be serving this to have spice problems, you’ll want to sub in a milder salsa.
This does take more prep work than a traditional burger, but the flavor you’ll get from this black bean burger will blow you away. The recipe even includes a “cream” sauce using the mango habanero salsa and cashews to ramp up the flavor.
7. Vegan Tofu Satay Skewers
You can give your summer BBQ a fusion flair with this take on satay. While this recipe was pan-fried, you can absolutely grill these on your charcoal or gas grill. This tofu satay is tossed with a satay sauce based on peanut butter and soy sauce with an optional kick of cayenne if you like heat. Just make sure you’re using firm tofu, not soft.
If you are having a summer cookout with both vegans and non-vegans in attendance, you can use the same sauce and seasonings to prepare chicken as well as tofu.
8. Vegan Ribs
Yes, your vegan summer BBQ doesn’t have to miss out on ribs. While it won’t be the same as a rack of baby backs or spare ribs, you can make a meaty and smoky-tasting rib that any vegan can enjoy. These vegan ribs use seitan to replicate the meat while using a vegan BBQ sauce (just like the recipe earlier!), liquid smoke, and dark beer to give them a real depth of flavor.
While the recipe was finished on a grill pan, you can absolutely take these ribs out to the grill to finish them. Getting a bit of fire flavor will only make these ribs even better.
9. Grilled Cauliflower Steaks
These cauliflower steaks won’t pass for New York strips or ribeyes, but they will be a flavorful addition to your summer cookout. While some vegan grill recipes may take some serious preparation, cauliflower steaks are simple and quick to prepare and make.
Cauliflower can take on different flavors because it’s very mild. Hitting it with flavors like garlic, lemon, paprika, and red pepper flakes before throwing it on the grill can lead to a fantastic meal. You grill it until golden brown and crispy on the edges, which means the center will still be tender.
10. Smoked Barbecue Jackfruit
A number of people have tried to replicate pulled pork by cooking jackfruit in BBQ sauce in a crockpot until it’s tender enough to shred. While it works, is it truly capturing the essence of pulled pork? This recipe takes that idea and runs it through the smoker. Now you can get that smoke flavor in shredded jackfruit.
How does the smoker break down the jackfruit so it can be shredded? The author puts the jackfruit in a foil pan with apple juice and barbecue sauce to braise the jackfruit for tenderizing.
Wrapping It Up
Whether you are vegan, you have vegan friends or family, or you just want to check out something new, take the time to try some of these recipes. If you have a favorite vegan BBQ recipe, share it in the comments!