Christmas may be over, but Hanukkah continues this week. One of the most popular dishes during the eight-day holiday is brisket—a cut of beef, sold as a small roast, that is usually braised in the oven because it requires the addition of water to ensure tenderness.

If you’re trying to cut down on your meat intake or you’re a vegetarian, you can substitute organic portabella mushrooms. Steven Raichlen, author of “How to Grill,” brushes them with butter and coats them with a Southwestern-style dry rub. He then sears them on the grill (or under the broiler), thickly slices them and serves them with barbecue sauce. As with beef brisket, the meaty mushrooms are very tasty when served on soft rolls.

Hot & Spicy Portabella “Brisket”

Adapted from “How to Grill”

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic or onion powder
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 large portabella caps (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon butter, melted

  1. Preheat grill or broiler.
  2. Prepare barbecue rub: In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, celery seed and red pepper.
  3. Brush mushrooms with melted butter. Rub half a teaspoon of the barbecue rub on both sides of each portabella.
  4. Grill mushrooms, turning once, until they are browned and tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. To serve, slice portabellas on an angle and serve with your favorite barbecue sauce, if desired. Place the remaining barbecue rub in a recloseable plastic bag; refrigerate and save for other uses.

Makes 4 portions (about 1/2 cup barbecue rub)