To be honest, I never understood the hype with this sandwich. On paper it looks great; I mean anything drenched in BBQ sauce and covered in pickles and onions is sure to be a winner. But every time I tried one, I was ultimately disappointed. That may put me in the minority, but it encouraged me to make the vegan version better than the original. (I think I succeeded, but you’ll have to be the judge of how much you like my BBQ Sauce.) For this recipe, you have two options: a homemade seitan jackfruit version and a shortcut using some store-bought plant-based meat. I like both, but for convenience it’s hard to beat the shortcut.
McDonalds McRib [Vegan]
- 1 can (14 oz, or 397 g) jackfruit, drained
- Neutral oil for preparing the pan
- 3/4 cup (84 g) vital wheat gluten, plus more if needed
- 1/4 cup (24 g) chickpea flour
- 1 tablespoon (7 g) smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon (7 g) garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) chili seasoning
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons (10 g) nutritional yeast
Wet Mixture (Makes 2 cups [475 ml], use half for braising)
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) mushroom seasoning
- 2 tablespoons (28 ml) soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons (40 g) agave or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) sriracha
- 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) beefless broth
- 2 tablespoons (32 g) tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) neutral oil
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2–3 cups (475–705 ml) BBQ Sauce (page 35)
- 6 hoagie rolls, toasted
- Dill pickle slices
- 1 cup (115 g) sliced onions
- Drain the jackfruit and steam in a steamer basket for 12 minutes. While the jackfruit is steaming, combine all the ingredients for the dry mixture in one large bowl, and all the ingredients for the wet mixture in a second large bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C or gas mark 4), and lightly grease a baking pan. Once the jackfruit is steamed, mash it with a potato masher until it is finely shredded, removing the seeds if necessary. Combine the shredded jackfruit with the dry mixture. Then add half of the wet mixture (about 1 cup [235 ml]).
- Stir the seitan mix first with a wood spoon, then knead it in the bowl by hand. This type of seitan will be looser and wetter than typical seitan, but if it’s so wet it won’t stick together, add a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten at a time and knead in until it forms a ball.
- Knead the seitan dough on a cutting board lined with wax paper or parchment paper for 2 minutes, until the dough feels like a cohesive ball. Flatten the dough to 1½ inches (3.5 cm) and divide into six equal portions, about 3½ ounces (100 g) each.
- Shape the patties (use a hoagie roll as a guide). Add patties to the prepared baking pan. Cover them in the rest of the wet mixture to braise.
- Bake at 350°F (175°C or gas mark 4) for 50 minutes, flipping halfway through. If after the first 25 minutes the braising liquid has mostly evaporated, add some water so the patties don’t dry out. The patties will still be delicate so flip and handle with care! Check the liquid level every so often to make sure they don’t dry out. Add a little water, if needed.
- Once the patties are cooked through, heat up a 12-inch (30-cm) skillet with a bit of oil. Brush and coat the patties with BBQ sauce. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes, flip them and brush with more sauce. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes. Some charring is not only natural but encouraged! That’s flavor!
- Once the patties have been grilled on both sides, brush them with some more BBQ sauce. Add them to a toasted hoagie roll with pickles, onions, and more sauce if desired. DIG IN!!
You can use plant-based meat instead of seitan as a shortcut! Simply mix the steamed jackfruit with 24 ounces (680 g) of plant-based meat (no need to make either the wet or dry mixtures). Form your patties, season with a dry BBQ rub, and grill them on a pan over medium heat until browned on both sides. Then brush with BBQ sauce and grill for 2 minutes on each side to caramelize the BBQ sauce. Serve on a hoagie roll with pickles, onions, and more BBQ sauce if desired. It’s great on the BBQ grill too!