Vegan BBQ: Easy Sauces

Can you freeze beer? Can fungus be made to taste like Deep South pulled pork? These were just a few of the tricky chemistry questions Hot Knives tackled this month in throwing our first installment of a roving kitchen we call Gnosh Pit.
The answer? An unequivocal, obviously inebriated “Fuck yes.”

For two Sundays we took over the back patio of the Verdugo bar. We transformed the grill cubicle that’s built into the back fence into our short-order window serving vegan Banh mi sandwiches, BBQ mushroom buns, fresh hand-cut potato chips, kimchi coleslaw and Lmbic popsicles. We told people to bring board games and sunscreen. We made a 6-hour playlist of summer songs.
And people showed up! Maybe too many people the second week… We got a few bummed out dudes and some old codgers who flipped out when we ran out of food earlier than expected. (All apologies, bros). But all in all, by most accounts, a great success. The food came out just right. The sun came out. The beer list was outrageous.
So how do you freeze beer? How to ‘pull’ shrooms? It’s easy sauce. If you showed up late last Sunday and missed the Pit. Here’s your chance to gnosh in your kitchen…

Lambic Pops
(Makes 12)

1 bottle Lambic (750 ml)
1/2 cup grape juice
12 popsicle molds
1. Reduce your Lambic just slightly, to kill carbonation: Empty the Lambic into a large soup pot, making sure to milk of every last sud, and put the pot on medium heat until the beer hits a foamy boil. Stir and turn off heat. Let the beer cool and foam subside, about 20-30 minutes. (Not sure why this helps, but we conducted experiments, and it does).
2. Add the grape juice and stir well.
3. Using a measuring cup or other vessel with a spout, pour the mixture into your popsicle molds. Transfer to the freeze and let sit for at least 14-16 hours.
4. To remove, gently warm for one minute with your hand or dip each mold in room temp water, to prevent from cracking.
bbq bun.jpg
Photo and good vibes thanks to

(Makes 4-6)

2 cups commercial BBQ sauce
1 cup “Frank’s Red Hot” hot sauce
1 cup IPA (we used Anderson Valley)
1 lbs. oyster mushrooms
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
Pinch of fresh black pepper
1 tsp. fresh black pepper
2 white onions
hamburger buns
1. Start by making an easy cheater’s BBQ sauce: Choose your favorite commercial sauce (something without corn syrup or too much sugar, please) and throw it in a sauce pot. Dilute it with vinegary hot sauce (we like Frank’s) so that its one-part hot sauce, two parts BBQ sauce. Top it off with a cup of pale ale, stir, and bring it to a bubble on high heat and then remove. Done.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Rip the oyster mushrooms into manageable thin strips. (Think pulled pork.) Place on a sheet pan and toss well with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 10-12 minutes, or until mushrooms deflate and outer ones are crisped and brown. Remove and let sit.
3. In a skillet or cast iron, caramelize the onions. Slice into thin half-moons. (Leave a tablespoon or so raw onion for garnish.) Add to an already hot pan with 1 Tbs. olive oil and stir well, letting brown. Remove.
4. In a bowl, combine mushrooms and onion. Add sauce and toss.
5. Gently warm the buns. Serve with a garnish of white onion.
Beverage: Lagunitas’ Little Sumthin’ Sunthin’
Soundtrack: Sparklehorse’s “Knives of Summertime”

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9 Responses to Vegan BBQ: Easy Sauces

  1. charlie says:

    this blog is so great!

  2. please keep doing these! verdugo is awesome and the food was even better!!!

  3. kelly says:

    everything was so friggin’ tasty!! we wanted to come back the 2nd sunday but we couldn’t. you guys should do this all the time!

  4. quarrygirl says:

    funnily enough, we actually bought a bottle of lambic over the weekend and were gonna set about trying to make pops with it. thanks for posting the recipe.
    i am gonna hold out and hope you give us the curry seitan recipe someday. i can dream.
    we went to the bbq on both days and absolutely loved it. you guys make some of the best food i’ve ever had. can’t wait until your next vegan event!

  5. EVAN says:

    Oh yeah. Look for the curried seitan recipe later this week!

  6. quarrygirl says:

    yes!! i will be checking back daily.

  7. yutastic says:

    curried seitan? sei no more.

  8. Hi guys! I had a great time at the Verdugo Bar when you had the vegan bbq. Do you ever hire yourselves out for events? My friend’s 30th bday is coming up next month and she would be thrilled if we surprised her with yummy vegan food from the Hot Knives guys. Please email me! You guys rock.

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