Editor’s Note: Feral Babies drummer Andy Stern brutally demolishes eardrums with a wall of thrashing sound, but his food is cruelty-free. Stern’s vegan recipes have garnered a following online and around town. Intrigued by tales of his vegan jerky, we asked Stern to give us the lowdown on his favorite animal-friendly snack food.
For me, veganism was more of an ethical choice than a nutrional one. At times, I do enjoy less-than-healthy foods. But I do try to consider nutritional value as much as taste when planning out foods.
Feral Babies hits the road again in March, and I dislike eating “junk food” while on tour. I’ve been working on making a number of snacks to bring up the East Coast on tour to supplement the inevitable junk food I’ll eat. Seitan jerky is one of my favorite snacks and is commercially available, but it’s expensive and you don’t get much.
Seitan is a mock-meat made primarily from wheat. Seitan’s beauty lies in its copycat meat texture, high protein and iron, low carbs and fat.
Before you can make the jerky, you need some seitan. You can buy it pre-made at the store, but making it yourself yields a larger amount at a fraction of the cost.
Seitan grows to fit its body of water. For spongier seitan, place just a few pieces in a large pot. For firmer stuff, put several pieces in a smaller one. A food dehydrator is needed for this recipe.
In a large bowl, combine the wheat gluten and nutritional yeast. In a large cup, stir together the water, soy sauce, and garlic. In the dry ingredients make a space in the center and pour in the liquid. Stir the dry and wet ingredients together with a spoon or spatula until the mixture firms up, and then knead with your hands for a minute or two. It should almost feel as if you are kneading bread dough but should look like meat. Set aside while making the broth. In a large stockpot off of the stove, combine the water and soy sauce. Shape the gluten mixture into a log, and cut into 6-8 pieces. Gently place in the broth, and bring to a low simmer on the stovetop. Partially cover, and simmer 1-1 ½ hours, turning over at least once. The seitan will expand significantly and may look very spongy; it will firm as it cooks.
Allow seitan to cool completely in the broth. The seitan can be refrigerated for up to 10 days.
After cooling, slice the seitan into thin strips with a serrated knife. Place the strips in a single layer in a deep baking dish side by side, as you will need to marinate them before placing them in your dehydrator.
Once all the strips are placed together, pour a bottle of your favorite marinade on the seitan. I personally love Teriyaki, which is readily available at the grocery store and very inexpensive. Make sure that all strips are evenly coated and place in your refrigerator. Leave to marinate for 12-24 hours flipping once during that time. How long you leave the strips soaking is up to you. The longer the time marinated, the richer the taste.
The seitan is now ready to be dehydrated. Take the strips from the baking dish and lay them on your dehydrator tray once again in a single layer. You will want to space them out a bit to allow the hot air in the dehydrator to do its work. I find that the amount of seitan I’ve suggested gets spread out to 3 or 4 shelves and equals between 40 to 50 pieces of jerky.
Turn the dehydrator to 155 degrees and let it run for an hour and a half. Remember to flip the jerky strips approximately once every half hour to make sure they dry evenly. You’ll know your jerky treats are ready when they feel slightly tough. Take the strips out and allow them to cool. Enjoy!
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