VeganMoFo: Tempeh Ribs

I sadly don’t have time this week to cook the things I had planned to cook for my last theme, which was supposed to be using long forgotten pantry ingredients.  So, instead I will bring you posts that have been patiently waiting their turn to be written.

A few weeks ago Dave and I had some friends over to watch the NFL games on Sunday.  Dave was going to smoke some ribs for everyone else and I had a package of tempeh in the fridge.  I wondered what would happen if I smoked the tempeh in the same manner, so I gave it a shot.

I prepared my tempeh pretty much exactly like their meat counterpart.  First, I slathered the tempeh with mustard, which helps the spices stick and forms a sort of coating.  Then, I liberally sprinkled on a spice mix that Dave had made with paprika, onion, garlic, sugar, and probably a few other things.  I smoked the tempeh for just under an hour, flipping it halfway through, then I basted it in a makeshift barbecue sauce which I think included ketchup, apple cider vinegar, vegetarian worcestershire, cayenne and possibly some maple syrup, and cooked for another half hour or so.

(As far as the actual technique of smoking goes, I haven’t a clue.  Dave is in charge of the grills and fires at our house.)

Mmm, meaty!  It almost looks kind of like “real” ribs, right?

The tempeh had a nice crust from the mustard and spices, and was sticky sweet from the barbecue sauce.  It was neither moist nor dry on the inside, and if I make it like this again and aren’t being totally lazy I’d probably steam the tempeh first.  It would have also been nice to have some extra barbecue sauce for dipping because, while the outside was very flavorful, the insides were just plain tempeh.


  1. What a delicious idea! I’m going to try this using liquid smoke and the oven instead of an actual smoker.

  2. ameyfm said

    oh, nice! I’ve never used a smoker, but I love smokey flavor on things. I can see that steaming the tempeh, and maybe even soaking it in marinade afterwards might help the flavors seep more deeply into the tempeh. Still, it looks pretty darned good! 🙂

    How have I been missing out on your *amazing* mofo efforts!!??? Must catch up now!

  3. I keep forgetting that I really like tempeh – I’ve never been in the habit of buying it, but your pictures of it are definitely droolworthy. I’ve never used a smoker either, or a barbecue for that matter. Huge appliances with gas and fire tend to freak me out a little. One day.

  4. Carrie said

    Yum, smoked tempeh sounds fantastic!

    I wish we lived closer to each other, I need another NFL vegan foodie to hang out with on game day!

  5. I’d love to have a smoker. Your tempeh looks amazing, I like this idea much more then the seitan varieties.

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