Clint, my buddy who’s also the editor of grilling.com, 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.