|It doesn't really look like bacon, I know. But it looks kind of good, right?|
Here’s why you should make Pigless Bacon: 1) You’re a vegetarian. 2) You’re a nostalgic former vegetarian. 3)Your kids or partner are vegetarians. 4) You’re cheap and/or broke, and you’ve done the math, and real bacon is $6 a pound, while homemade Pigless Bacon is $3.38 a pound. 5) You’re cheap and/or broke and you’ve done the math, and store-bought tempeh bacon is $10 a pound, while homemade Pigless Bacon is $3.38 a pound. 6) You love to make and eat weirdly scrumptious things. 7) It seems sort of healthy. 8) Your friend Maddie (of crack broccoli fame) borrowed some liquid smoke from you because she wanted to make her own tempeh bacon, and you said, like a jealous four-year-old, “I want to make tempeh bacon too!”
Maddie, this one’s for you. And it’s so ridiculously delicious that I almost literally made my self sick on it: smoky and crispy and chewy and sweet in all the right ways. And it works for Birdy, who, like any normal vegetarian, misses bacon. Make it and try saying you don’t love it. Seriously.
|They probably make liquid smoke by soaking a bunch of cigarette butts in high-fructose corn syrup. And I don't even care.|
Makes 3 PBLTs
This is adapted from the Vegetarian Times, with some notable exceptions. They bake it, and all I can say is that if you’re not going to fry it, don’t bother. I tried baking it, I did—I even sprayed it all over with oil and roasted the living heck out of it—and it just doesn’t get properly crisp. Plus, they add a bunch of non-bacon spices, like cumin, which I don’t understand. And they suggest that the liquid smoke is “optional,” which is crazy, because that’s the whole recipe right there. That said, I am grateful to them for giving me the bones of this recipe to work with.
1 8-ounce package tempeh, sliced into 24 very thin slices
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
Canola oil for frying
Lay the tempeh slices in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Bring the soy sauce, water, vinegar, maple syrup, and garlic powder to a boil in small saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the liquid smoke, then pour it over tempeh slices. Let cool, then cover and chill 2 hours, or overnight or—better yet—up to 3 days.
Heat a generous slick of oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Fry the tempeh slices, turning them frequently so that they crisp up deeply brown on both sides without burning (around 5 minutes total).
|From Trader Groovy's.|
|Unlike some other soy products I know (I'm looking at you, tofu!), tempeh is very easy to slice thin.|
|I used too small a dish for marinating, but it didn't really matter.|
|You can fry it all at once, or whenever you want it.|
|I'm a fan! Ha ha.|
|You really need more Pigless Bacon in your sandwich than this, but I ate the rest of it already, even though I knew I was going to be taking a photograph!|