Crispety, crunchety, peanut buttery…..wait, wrong thing. Not peanut buttery, crispety, crunchety, salty, smoky, savory, slightly sweet, delicious BACON! Bacon, bacon, bacon. Yum yum yum nom nom nom. This version (there will be others, rest assured) uses king oyster mushrooms for delectably large strips, perfect for some BLTs, to top your burger, or alongside some breakfast noshes. Their mild flavor is spot on here, allowing the marinade to transform these planks of mushroom goodness into a fantastic bacon that tastes of just the bacon without any lingering vegetal flavours. This is some seriously good bacon here.
Up to 5lbs of king oyster mushrooms, cut into planks about
¼ inch thick
240g/ml | 1 cup dark vegetable broth
25g/22ml | 4 ½ tsp chinese dark soy*
12g/9ml | just under 2 tsp maple syrup
7g/ml | just under 1 ½ tsp liquid smoke (hickory or mesquite)
3g | 1 ¼ tsp nutritional yeast flakes
2.5g | 1 heaping tsp applewood smoked salt
2.5g | 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1.3g | ½ tsp chipotle powder
1.5g | heaping ½ tsp onion powder
1.5g | heaping ½ tsp fine ground black pepper
2g | ½ tsp MSG crystals OR 3g | 1 tsp mushroom granules/seasoning (optional)
A few tablespoons of neutral flavored oil for brushing
Preheat oven to 350F
Mix all your ingredients but the mushrooms and oil
Brush the oyster mushroom planks with the marinade, they will quickly absorb the liquid, you want every part to get some
Lay the planks out on a baking sheet (or sheets) lined with parchment, in a single layer (it’s okay if they overlap a little)
Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes
Remove and flip each plank over, brush any dry spots with marinade, then brush with oil (just the side facing up for now)
Return to oven and bake for another 20 minutes
Remove and flip the planks again, they should be greatly reduced in size and thinner bits starting to crisp, if you have any marinade left, you can brush it onto the bacon, then brush the side facing up with oil
Return to oven and bake until crisp, you can remove them as they crisp up, as they burn very very easily once dry
After they’re all done and allowed to completely cool, you can store them in an airtight container at room temp for a few days, in the fridge for several weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months
To re-crisp, simply pan fry briefly in a dry skillet or reheat in the oven at 250F
*if making gluten free make SURE and check the ingredients, most contain wheat or barley, if you can't find a chinese dark soy, sub with japanese dark soy and reduce salt to compensate
Let’s gather up our stuffs, you’re gonna need your king oysters, these are becoming more common in standard american supermarkets but you can usually find them in asian markets no problem (and usually cheaper). Pick out some decent sized ones, they are going to shrink like crazy when you bake them. For the liquid part of the marinade, we have dark vegetable broth, something rich and hearty and filled with umami, some chinese dark/black soy sauce, this is much richer, nuttier, and toastier than chinese light soy or japanese soy sauces, liquid smoke (preferably hickory or mesquite), and maple syrup for richness and sweetness.
For the dry seasonings we have sweet smoked paprika to bring in more sweetness, some tartness and more smokiness, chipotle for heat, sweet and smoke, applewood smoked salt (any smoked salt will work really, but the measurements here are done using applewood, it might vary slightly with others), onion powder for more sweetness, nutritional yeast for some soft umami notes, black pepper for woodsy notes and bite (And what’s bacon without pepper? you need pepper) and finally, optionally, some MSG or mushroom granules/seasoning for added depth and richness.
These are how you want your mushroom planks to look after basting them with the marinade, which is fun to do since they suck it up like a sponge. You don’t want to totally saturate them, just try and get it on as even as possible, the first part of the baking will cause lots of moisture to come out of the mushrooms, so it will sort of even out when that happens. You don’t want to put any oil on for the first baking, it can slow down the evaporation, and it will end up all over your pan from all the extra moisture anyhow, wait until the first flip. IF you have marinade left (you might not have any depending) baste any dry bits during the flips to try and keep things evenly hydrated, it helps to prevent burning, if you don’t have any you can use a little water or just watch them close toward the end to prevent burning.
In the end you’ll have this wonderful bacon delight to chow down on, you can pat off any excess oil, or just leave it as is, totally up to you. I like to leave it on personally. I mean, it IS bacon after all. Use this however you’d like to, bacon cheeseburgers, BLTs, crumble it up for bacon bits, have it with breakfast, crumble it onto pizza….whatever strikes you. Do keep in mind that it shrinks like crazy, like big time crazy….You’ll only end up with about a sixth the weight and volume that you started with, so go big and make a lot at once, it stores really nice. Also, this marinade can be used to make anything into bacon you want, so don’t be afraid to experiment with things other than king oysters, i will have recipes for other plant bacons later on using this formula. Now, LET THE BACONING BEGIN!