Vegan Vittles Barbecue-Style Braised Short “Ribs”

October 5, 2010 by Keri

I could sum it all up in “this is one amazing recipe”, but that would be a mighty short blog post.  Vegan Vittles Barbecue-Style Braised Short “Ribs” (page 154) are so delicious, I’d serve them to my non-vegan friends and family in a heartbeat.  And I just don’t think I could say that about many “faux meat” recipes.  We all agreed these deathless ribs are going in the household recipe hall of fame, meaning if someday I stop trying new recipes nonstop and settle into some sort of rotation, these would be in it.  The sauce is perfect, complete with caramelized onions and carrots, and the long cooking time gives the seitan a great flavor and bite.

Vegan Baking Recipes

Barbecue-Style Braised Short “Ribs”

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onions powder

Liquid Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

Oil For Cooking

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Lip-Smackin’ Barbecue Sauce

  • 2 yellow onions, cut in half and thickly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 can (16) ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup bottled barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • salt
  • ground black pepper

For the dry ingredients:  Place all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and stir with a dry whisk until well combined.
For the liquid ingredients: Place all of the liquid ingredients in a small bowl, and stir until well-combined.  Pour into the dry ingredients, and mix well with a wooden spoon.  If there is still flour around the edges, add a small amount of additional water (1=2 tablespoons only).  You should now have a large, firm, spongy mass of gluten in the bowl.
Knead the gluten directly in the bowl for about 30 seconds only, just to blend.  (Do not add any more flour.  Kneading any longer than this will make the gluten fluffy, spongy, and bread-like, rather than dense, chewy, and meat-like!) Slice into 6 equal pieces.
Pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a very large skillet or large, heavy pot and place over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the gluten pieces and brown them evenly on all sides, taking care that they do not stick.  Do not allow the “ribs” to touch.  Transfer the “ribs” to a plate lined with several layers of paper towels and drain briefly.  Lightly oil a large, heavy, ovenproof pot or deep baking dish, or mist it with a nonstick cooking spray.  Transfer the “ribs” to the prepared baking dish.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
For the barbecue sauce:  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet, and place over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the onions and cook and stir for 15-20 minutes, or until they are lightly browned and starting to caramelize.  Add the carrots, and cook and stir until they are softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, and cook and stir for 1 minute.  Then add the tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, water, soy sauce, and salt and pepper to taste, and stir until well combined.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 1 minute to blend the flavors.
Pour the sauce over the “ribs”, and turn them so they are evenly coated.  Bake the “ribs” uncovered for 1 1/2 hours, turning them every 30 minutes.

Vegan Baking Recipes

Vegan Baking Recipes

Vegan Baking Recipes

What’s your favorite dish to make when your nonvegan friends and family come over for dinner?

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I Eat Trees is a blog featuring my adventures in all things vegan. My favorite recipes, snack food finds, and restaurant trials are all on the menu so enjoy!


  1. Stefanie says:

    Honestly, I do not cook for others but I do bake. If I know I am going to have company I try to have some type of sweet treat for them. It is looking like a trip to whole foods is in my near future. Those ribs look like the perfect fall meal. Thanks for sharing the recipe. 🙂

  2. Noelle says:

    Looks SUPER delicious! Apple cider and pumpkin pie are my favs!

    • Keri says:

      I have a major apple cider problem. Don’t get a pitcher of it within a 100 yards of me or it’s gooooone. 😀

  3. Jess - The Domestic Vegan says:

    Wow, YUM!!! I am definitely making these soon!

    I like to switch things up when I serve food to family/friends, depending on their tastes, how well I know them, how adventurous they are with food, etc. For instance, for my best friends who have eaten lots of my home-cooked meals, I’d be okay trying out a new recipe on them because if they don’t like it, their impression of veganism won’t be forever tainted. 🙂 But for a first-time guest or someone who’s typically more “meat & potatoes,” I like to serve my roasted vegetable lasagna. Not to toot my own horn, but everyone seems to love it. 😉

    I am currently trying to decide what to serve for a dinner party I’m hosting later this month, and I’m debating on whether or not chicken-fried seitan is too risky for the main course… Everyone I know who’s had it loves it, but some of my friends’ husbands are bigtime meat-eaters & I don’t know if that will be too weird for them…

    ANYWAY. Here’s another one of my super long comments! Haha.

    • Keri says:

      I say go for the chicken-fried seitan! When I made chicken-fried seitan and white gravy for Chris, he said if he weren’t already vegan, it would have turned him. 🙂

  4. Sheila says:

    Okay, thanks, I’m hungry for dinner now and its not even 9:00 am! 🙂 I’ll be trying these VERY soon. I’m afraid I usually serve very ‘conventional’ food to non-veg visitors: Chili, stir fries over noodles, quinoa salads, pasta dishes – I haven’t tried them on ‘faux meat’ dishes yet, but this looks like a good candidate! Thanks for sharing.

    • Keri says:

      Hehe! Yeah, I don’t think tofu is very well-received by nonveg guests, but seitan can get a pretty conventional bite and flavor if cooked properly, so it might win ’em over. I’ve served Gardein to a lot of nonveg friends and they always love it!

  5. The Vegan Version says:

    This sounds great. I was recently at a festival where they were serving bbq short rib and apple grilled cheese sandwiches. Sounds kinda good o me- I am going to use this as the basis for my version of that sandwich!