Caramelized, crispy mushrooms take on the meaty flavor of bacon in this recipe. Put a few slices on toasted bread with sliced tomato and crisp lettuce for a vegetarian BLT. Or serve alongside a bowl of oatmeal for a great breakfast to jumpstart your day.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and line a third baking sheet or pan with paper towels. Brush each parchment-lined baking sheet with about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Place the mushroom slices in a single layer, very close together, on the parchment and brush lightly with the remaining vegetable oil.
Bake the mushrooms until slightly softened and brown, 25 to 30 minutes, then flip the mushrooms over, rotate the pans in the oven and bake until the mushrooms are well-browned and the edges are crispy, another 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to the paper-towel lined baking sheet to dry for a few minutes. (Leave the oven on.)
In a large bowl, whisk together the molasses, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder and paprika. Carefully toss the baked mushrooms in the marinade until evenly coated. Place half the marinated mushroom strips in a single layer (it's ok of they overlap) into a large metal steamer basket or colander that fits snugly into a large, heavy metal pot.
Prepare a stovetop smoker: Line the bottom of a large, heavy metal pot with foil. Place two large handfuls of applewood chips in the bottom of the pot. Place the pot over medium heat and use a lighter to light a few of the wood chips. Once the chips are smoking, place the mushroom-filled steamer basket or colander inside the pot, then place a tight-fitting lid on top. Allow the mushrooms to smoke for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how strong of a smoky flavor you want. Repeat with the second batch.
After the mushrooms are smoked, return them to the baking sheets in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and a few grinds of pepper and return to the oven until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat in a low oven before serving.
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