Shiitake BaconSteven Raichlen
Most vegetable charcuterie involves several days of curing and smoking. This shiitake bacon can be made from start to finish in less than a half hour. The recipe comes from a terrific vegan restaurant in Washington, DC, called Fancy Radish.
It involves a two-step process: First you fry thinly sliced shiitakes to make them crisp. Then you smoke them to make them taste like bacon. You can do the smoking in your smoker or a charcoal grill or indoors with a handheld or stovetop smoker.
You’ll love the crisp crunch and rich bacon-like mouthfeel, with a smoky flavor similar to bacon, but with distinct mushroom overtones. Make shiitake bacon for snacking on its own right, or for serving with eggs or on BLTS.
More Vegan Grilling Recipes:
- Squash and Black Bean Pizza with Queso Fresco
- Grilled Asparagus and Corn Salad with Charred Lemon Vinaigrette
- Ember-Roasted Vegetable Salad (Escalivada)
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings as an appetizer
- Equipment: Hardwood chips, chunks, or sawdust for smoking
- 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms (pick the largest caps you can find)
- 1 cup grapeseed or canola oil, or as needed, for frying
- Sea salt
1: Stem the mushrooms (cut off the stems flush with the caps). Thinly slice the shiitake caps crosswise on a mandolin or by hand. The slices should be no more than 1/8-inch thick.
2: Pour the oil to a depth of 1/2-inch in a frying pan and heat to 350 degrees. (When the temperature is right, bubbles will dance around a slice of shiitake submerged in the oil.) Add the shiitake slices and fry until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring with a slotted spoon. Work in batches as needed so as not to crowd the pan. Transfer the fried shiitakes to a wire rack over a sheet pan or plate lined with paper towels to drain. Let the fried shiitakes cool to room temperature.
3: Smoke the fried shiitake slices in a grill or outdoor smoker, or using a stovetop or a handheld smoker. To smoke the bacon on a grill, set it up for indirect grilling and heat to medium (350 degrees). Add wood chips or chunks to the coals. Hot smoke the bacon long enough to apply a discernable smoke flavor, 5 to 8 minutes
4: If using an outdoor smoker, set it up following the manufacturer’s instructions and heat to 250 degrees. Add wood as specified by the manufacturer. Arrange the shiitake slices on a wire rack or in a grill basket and place in the smoker. Smoke long enough to apply a discernable smoke flavor, 20 to 30 minutes.
5: To smoke the shiitakes using a stovetop or handheld smoker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
6: Let the shiitake bacon cool to room temperature, then store it in an airtight container until serving. Tastes best served the same day it’s smoked (and it probably won’t last longer than that).