Ready to make their mouths water? Lion's Mane Steak Recipe (The Best Mushroom BBQ) epitomizes flavor and health. This vegan recipe combines the finest ingredients with expert cooking techniques. We're taking mushrooms to a whole new level with just two cast iron skillets and an oven. The beautifully caramelized crust and tender meaty texture will satisfy even the most discerning meat-loving palates.
Lion's Mane mushrooms are known for their delicate, mild flavor, making them a unique BBQ option with a tender and meaty texture—this plant-based alternative 'meat' recipe is perfect when you're in need of a meal that will impress vegans and meat lovers alike!
I've been cooking with mushrooms for years, and since they're my top favorite food group, I've spent lots of time learning the best cooking methods. If you're interested in learning how to better use and cook mushrooms, save my Pan Fry Lion's Mane Nuggets, Lion's Mane Mushroom Pasta Recipe, or get super 'shroomy with my Reishi Mushroom Sleep Tonic.
In this post, I share the following:
- How to clean, store, and find these fresh specialty mushrooms.
- What makes a vegan butter high-quality, and what brands I recommend.
- How to cook these lightweight mushrooms into a tender, melt-in-your-mouth, meaty texture.
Use this section to jump to areas of interest within the post.
Seared between two cast iron skillets and finished in the oven with a tangy BBQ sauce, this dish embodies the best way to indulge in a plant-based BBQ experience.
- Lion's mane mushroom (hericium erinaceus or pom pom mushrooms) - you can find these at your local farmers' markets, grocery store (I shop for mine at Whole Foods), or your local Asian market. If these places are not available to you, try searching 'mushroom supplier near me' or explore growing at home with a grow kit!
- High-quality vegan butter block - an important ingredient that should not be substituted. Check the ingredients to ensure it's high-quality and doesn't contain fillers. Vio Life (nut-free) and Miyokos Creamery (cashew-based) both have a high-fat spread, which is what you're looking for. Using a plant-based margarine or spread will not have the best results.
- Garlic & onion granules
- Fresh sprigs of rosemary - the earthy fragrance infuses into the butter, adding some depth to the flavor of the steak.
- BBQ sauce - either homemade (sweet BBQ sauce) or save time and use store-bought. I love the Texas BBQ Whole Foods brand.
See the recipe card for full quantities and instructions.
Best way to store & clean them
Lion's mane mushrooms shouldn't require cleaning since they're not grown in soil. If the mushroom has any dirt or debris, you want to gently brush it off. These mushrooms should not be rinsed or submerged in water. For mushrooms that have been wild foraged or grown around wood, this shroom broom is a handy tool to clean them.
If you don't plan to use the mushrooms right away, they should be stored in a brown paper bag, loosely closed, and kept in the fridge's main compartment. To prevent spoilage, they should be used within a few days, and if you notice any sliminess, discoloration, or odor, it's best to discard them.
Our goal is to achieve a tender yet meaty texture for the mushrooms. To accomplish this, we'll also incorporate fat to infuse the mushrooms with a herby flavor. At the same time, we'll apply pressure to expel excess water and flatten the entire mushroom. Then, we'll send the hot pan to the oven to bake slathered in BBQ sauce, taking the meaty caramelized crust to a whole new level!
Melt the vegan butter on medium heat in a hot skillet. Important: Do not substitute with any oil, like olive oil. The skillet's high heat will cause the oils to smoke, resulting in a burnt flavor.
Toss in a few rosemary sprigs until fragrant and the leaves turn bright green, then remove and set aside.
Place the whole mushrooms, stem-side down, single layer, in a pan over medium heat. Drizzle some melted butter on top of the mushrooms and let them cook for 1-2 minutes. Then, take the second cast iron skillet (or any heavy pan you have available, such as a Dutch oven or a meat press) over top. Using a kitchen towel or oven mitts to handle the top pan, press down.
While the mushrooms continue to cook, periodically apply pressure on top of the mushrooms using the second pan. Once flattened with a caramelized, browned beautiful sear on both sides, take the hot skillet off the heat, slather in BBQ sauce, and sprinkle with garlic and onion granules.
Place the rosemary sprigs on top and send them to the hot oven for 10 minutes. After cooking, carefully take the steak off the heat and transfer it to a plate to cool down. Then enjoy your delicious meal!
You'll need two cast iron pans and an oven for this lion's mane mushroom steaks recipe.
Use a frying pan, dutch oven, or an actual meat press if you don't have two heavy skillets. When pressing the center of the top pan, cover your hands with a kitchen towel or oven mitt. Periodically look at the underside of the mushroom. They're done when seared, browned, and the butter has soaked in.
These mushrooms have 0 grams of fat. Vegan butter is crucial to the end result, and the fat carries the flavor. Without it, there will be no caramelization. Using high-quality, high-fat vegan butter without fillers is necessary. Using plant-based margarine or spread will not have the same results.
What are the health benefits of Lion's Mane mushrooms?
As medicinal mushrooms, Lion’s Mane is known to impact brain health, cognitive function, gut health, and boost the immune system. Studies have shown that Lion's Mane mushrooms may promote nerve cell growth and stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein vital for maintaining healthy brain function. They support cognitive abilities and potentially alleviate symptoms associated with conditions such as Alzheimer's disease. Evidence also suggests that regular consumption may help lower the risk of heart disease as it lowers cholesterol levels and inflammation.
Where are wild Lion's Mane mushrooms found?
They are typically found growing on hardwood trees like oak, maple, beech, and birch. They prefer dead trees or in the process of decay, like fallen logs and tree stumps. You can find them in North America, Europe, and Asia. Always use safety measures and seek guidance from experts when foraging wild mushrooms.
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Lion's Mane Steak Recipe (The Best Mushroom BBQ)
- 2 cast-iron skillets or heavy pans
- 3 heads Lion's Mane mushrooms (about 1lb)
- 4 oz vegan butter high-quality, high-fat content (recommended brands linked in post)
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- ½ tablespoon onion granules
- ½ tablespoon garlic granules
- 1 cup BBQ sauce store-bought or homemade (link below)
- pinch salt & black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400℉. Inspect the mushrooms and clean them if necessary (no water, just gentle brushing).
- Place a cast-iron skillet (or fry pan) on medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, place three rosemary sprigs into the pan and heat until the sprigs are fragrant and the leaves are deep green. Remove and set aside.
- Add the fresh lion's mane mushrooms to the center of the pan and bring a few spoonfuls of butter over the top side. After 1-2 minutes, place the second heavy skillet (pan or meat press) on top and lightly apply pressure with a kitchen towel or oven mitts for safety.
- Continue adding intermittent pressure to the mushrooms until flattened (about 5 minutes), then flip the mushrooms and repeat for another 3-5 minutes until both sides are seared to a caramelized brown crust.
- Remove from heat, sprinkle both sides with the garlic and onion granules, then add the BBQ sauce to the pan and spread over the top. Place the rosemary sprigs on the mushrooms and send them to the oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, transfer the mushrooms to a plate to cool, then serve with a side of BBQ sauce.