Friday, August 30, 2013

Pulled Eggplant BBQ

Click HERE to order our new cookbook, The Chubby Vegetarian: 100 Inspired Vegetable Recipes for the Modern Table (Susan Schadt Press, November 2016). The book features two delicious BBQ recipes that you need right now.

Check out the simplified update here:

Clint, my buddy who’s also the editor of, was kind enough to ask us to write a guest post, and we are thrilled to be here. Let me give you a quick intro about who we are and then we'll get right to it: some really good food. 

We’re Justin Fox Burks and Amy Lawrence, bloggers at The Chubby Vegetarian. We’re a husband-and-wife team out of Memphis, Tennessee, and we have a new cookbook out called The Southern Vegetarian: 100 Down-Home Recipes for the Modern Table (Thomas Nelson, 2013). Our goal is not to take your bacon away, but to show the world all the great meals that are possible with vegetables. We want to help you take vegetables from the side dish to center of the plate, and we do that by thinking in a whole different way. 

This pulled eggplant dish uses an ancient method of cooking eggplant by charring the skin, which imparts a smoky flavor and a meaty texture to the dish -- much like roasting a red pepper over an open flame. From there, we remove some of the moisture and spice it with our Memphis BBQ Dry Rub, and last, we toss it with some smoky, sweet BBQ sauce. It may just be the best eggplant you'll ever put in your mouth.

Once you've prepared our Pulled Eggplant BBQ, you can serve it any way you'd like: on a bun, over spaghetti tossed with BBQ sauce, or our current favorite, on squares of freshly-baked cornbread with a little slaw and extra sauce. This recipe serves 2 to 4 folks, but if you have more to feed, just double or triple the recipe. 

Thanks for hanging out with us and enjoy the recipe!

Pulled Eggplant BBQ

1 pound Japanese eggplant
2 to 3 tablespoons Memphis BBQ Dry Rub (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup Chipotle BBQ Sauce from The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook 

Char the whole eggplants over the open flame of your burner or on a very hot grill until the skin is black and flaky and the eggplant has begun to collapse. This will take about 10 minutes of total cooking time. Remove eggplants and place into an airtight container until thoroughly cool. 

Peel eggplant by running your hand down the length of the eggplant to remove the charred skin. Discard skin and remove the top part that was connected to the vine. 

Create strips from the eggplant by peeling the flesh into 6 to 8 pieces. It comes right apart with the grain of the eggplant. On the trays from your dehydrator or a parchment-lined baking sheet,  arrange the strips of eggplant in a single layer. Apply the dry rub liberally to the strips of eggplant. 

 If using the dehydrator method, simply set the timer for 1 hour at 125 degrees. If you’re using the oven, set the temp to the lowest possible setting, prop the oven door open, and set the timer for 40 minutes. 

The eggplant should look fairly dry at this point. Toss eggplant with the sesame oil and about 1/4 cup of warm BBQ Sauce. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes. (Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a first course; know that this recipe is easily scaleable.) 

Memphis BBQ Dry Rub

Mix together one teaspoon of each: chipotle, smoked paprika, sweet paprika, garlic powder, salt, cumin, black pepper, brown sugar, thyme, oregano, and ancho chili. Store extra dry rub in an airtight container for up to six months.


Angie said...

This sounds so amazing!
I have regular globe eggplants in my garden.
Do you think this would work with this type of eggplant?

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

I think it will. Japanese varieties tend to be meatier and less creamy, but I say go for it. Just use the small-sih ones.

Bianca said...

Genius! Always looking for things to sub for pulled pork. I'd never have thought to use eggplant!

Sara said...

YUM. This looks amazing, I so need to try it! :)

Neeli said...

Holy "F"! What an awesome idea. I must make this.

jessica said...

one of the ONLY things that i've truly missed as a vegetarian is a pulled pork sandwich.

you're my new hero :D.

Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche said...

Wow! This is absolute genius. Looks delicious!!

Anonymous said...

Alternative if no gas burner and no grill?
Thanks much.

The Yogi Vegetarian said...

Interesting way of cooking eggplant- looks yummy :)

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Francoise, I think that you could probably stick them under the broiler to burn the skins of the eggplant.


Nay said...

I broiled mine. It stripped easily and took the seasoning well. The baking was a problem for me. The texture was weird and it looked like raw meat, so of course as a vegetarian that was a turn off. So I pan fried it after for a better texture.

Anonymous said...

I've made this twice now & think it's absolutely wonderful! I make Barbecue Pork in the crock pot for my family & the aggplant for me. I like to put some on a bun with some pickles - it's delicious!

Lauralie said...

Wow! Is all I can say! I was just wondering if there was any way you could do something like this in a slow cooker?

Cathy@ What Would Cathy Eat said...

Wow, I thought my smoked seitan was a good barbecue idea, but this is effin' inventive!

MB said...

Would you be able to make this ahead of time and freeze it?

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Havent died that, but it'd be worth a shot…although it only takes a few minutes to makes, so it may be best to make it to order.

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Tried!… :)

Anonymous said...

I tried the broiler method and my eggplant exploded :(

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Dear anonymous,

I'm sorry your eggplant exploded. I've never seen that before. Usually they blister and crack before collapsing. To be extra sure that doesn't happen just pierce the skin with a pairing knife in a few places. You should try the updated version. It's much easier and better:

Vanessa said...

What kind of slaw do you make with this and how? Sounds so delocious, I can't wait to try it!