Mmm…BBQ! When Tom and I were planning our elopement in North Carolina, we were more excited about eating authentic Southern barbecue than we were about getting married. Seriously. We watched endless barbecue cooking challenges and travel food shows on television. We read up about how to find the best, most authentic barbecue (they suggested restaurants without windows).
So after we were hitched, we went off to find one of those authentic barbecue joins. We found one that looked like a shack with no windows but crowds of people and glowing reviews. We sat at the little wooden table and ordered our dishes (I don’t remember now what they were). And we didn’t like it.
We were so disappointed. Now probably we just didn’t like North Carolina barbecue – though we love North Carolina with all our hearts. It was more vinegar-based and I guess we like it more tomato-based. There were plenty of places in NYC that we loved for barbecue and we would often go and indulge in copious amounts of meat. I remember how I hated when the BBQ places had pictures of cows and pigs on the wall to knock on my walls of denial and remind me where my food came from.
After we became vegan (7 years ago this month!!), one of my BEST experiences was when I met Little Dude at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. That was my first time up close and personal with a live pig.
Little Dude arrived at the sanctuary in August 2010. He and his brother were being raised by a man who planned to butcher them and in the meantime, was neglecting them both. The piglets were screaming with hunger and a couple who were neighbors kept sneaking over to feed them. One of the piglets died and after many confrontations with the owner who wanted to butcher and eat “Dude” at only 2 months old, the couple got possession of the pig. They kept him for over a year but they didn’t have the right place to keep him. Many neighbors offered to take him, all with various plans to kill and eat “Dude.” Eventually, they took him to Woodstock Sanctuary where he lives today.
Of course, now I make my own barbecue dishes – all vegan. No cows or pigs are dying for my food anymore. There are recipes here on the blog for Balsamic BBQ Seitan and Tempeh Ribs, Baked BBQ Tofu and Tempeh, Orange Balsamic Tempeh with Cheesy Chickpea Polenta, and Buffalo BBQ Vegan Chicken.
And I always make my own barbecue sauce because it’s so easy and I get to choose the ingredients. It’s so simple – combine ketchup or tomato sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and whatever spices and flavors you like. Sometimes I cook it first and sometimes I don’t. It literally takes five minutes to throw it together and about 15 minutes to cook.
A couple of weeks ago, I was working on an article for National Southern Food Day and it gave me a craving for barbecue. I wanted to make a “pulled” dish but of what? You can make pulled dishes with seitan, mushrooms, hearts of palm and jackfruit. I wanted to do it with carrots. I had made Carrot Dogs and everyone loved them.
Julienned carrots seemed perfect for making a pulled BBQ dish. I whipped up a quick BBQ sauce with ketchup, brown sugar, balsamic and apple cider vinegar, spices and hot sauce.
Then I sauteed the carrots with onions and garlic until they were tender and drowned them in the BBQ sauce. After it all cooked for awhile, it got piled on a roll for the most delicious BBQ Pulled Carrot Sandwich.
It would have tasted great with a cool, creamy slaw on top or on the side. The BBQ Pulled Carrots are gluten-free but my roll was not. So use gluten-free bread to keep it totally gluten-free if you need to.
My BBQ Pulled Carrot Sandwiches were so spicy, so tender and so mouthwateringly delicious. So quick and easy to make too.
I only wish we had had those sandwiches on our honeymoon. Maybe one day, Tom and I will renew our vows and have the vegan honeymoon I wish we were enlightened enough to have had then. Enjoy!
BBQ Pulled Carrots Sandwiches
SF, GF if using gluten-free rolls
For the BBQ Sauce:
1 cup ketchup or tomato sauce
½ cup brown sugar or maple syrup or agave nectar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. hot sauce, or to taste
4-6 large carrots, julienned or spiralized
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
A few drops Liquid Smoke
4 buns or rolls
Optional: cole slaw
Combine the ingredients for the BBQ sauce in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning adjustments and set aside.
Julienne or spiralize the carrots into thin matchsticks or ribbons. Heat the oil in a deep saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes until they start to soften.
Add the barbecue sauce to the pan and toss the carrots in it. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and let the carrots stew until they are soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Add a bit of Liquid Smoke to the carrots and cook for another minute.
Open four buns or rolls and pile on the pulled carrots. Spoon more BBQ sauce over the carrots. Top with cole slaw if desired.
The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.
- For the BBQ Sauce:
- 1 cup ketchup or tomato sauce
- ½ cup brown sugar or maple syrup or agave nectar
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. hot sauce, or to taste
- 4-6 large carrots, julienned or spiralized
- 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- A few drops Liquid Smoke
- 4 buns or rolls
- Optional: cole slaw
- Combine the ingredients for the BBQ sauce in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning adjustments and set aside.
- Julienne or spiralize the carrots into thin matchsticks or ribbons. Heat the oil in a deep saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes until they start to soften.
- Add the barbecue sauce to the pan and toss the carrots in it. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and let the carrots stew until they are soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Add a bit of Liquid Smoke to the carrots and cook for another minute.
- Open four buns or rolls and pile on the pulled carrots. Spoon more BBQ sauce over the carrots. Top with cole slaw if desired.