When I lived in Austin, Texas, I loved going to Mother’s Restaurant in Hyde Park for their “BBQ On a Bun” sandwich. The sandwich was basically BBQ tofu with lettuce, tomato, red onion and thick sandwich pickles. The tofu was spectacular, seemingly baked in a nutty coating, similar to a peanut satay sauce, then slathered in delicious BBQ sauce. The pickle was essential.
Mother’s is still there, and the BBQ on a Bun is still on the menu, but the sandwich just isn’t the same. At least, such was the case in 2009 when I last went to Mother’s while in Austin for a friend’s wedding. The whole peanut slather aspect of the tofu was gone. The bun was unremarkable. The pickle was minute.
This was a major disappointment. Who knows, maybe I was there on an off day. Or maybe they had to lose the peanut stuff due to allergy concerns. The point is: I’ve been on the search for the BBQ Tofu Sandwich of my dreams ever since, and it all comes down to mastering beautiful BBQ tofu.
The best BBQ tofu I’ve found so far is the Baked BBQ Tofu from Veganomicon. The recipe doesn’t have the peanut slather, but it’s so easy that I’ll forgive it that indiscretion. And with a beautiful BBQ sauce, it doesn’t really need it. I used the Backyard BBQ Sauce recipe in Veganomicon, but it could easily be made with your favourite BBQ sauce to save on time (Stubb’s, perhaps?).
I like to eat the tofu on its own, with sauteed greens and baked potato. But I LOVE to eat the tofu on a delicious bun, such as Ottolenghi’s crusty bread rolls or my Ultimate Burger Buns. It’s great with just lettuce, avocado and giardiniera.
This BBQ tofu sandwich is not quite as good as I remember the BBQ on a Bun of yore, but it’s still mighty fine and a recipe I’ve made again and again. Perhaps next time I will experiment with my own peanut-coating for the tofu.