What Are the Best Tips for Grilling Tofu?

Grilling tofu generally turns out best when using a firm tofu variety that has been marinating for at least an hour before being cooked on skewers over a well-oiled grill. Tofu is a rather versatile food and is popularly prepared in a number of different ways. Not all tofu is appropriate for grilling, which makes tofu selection the first tip to great grilling. Marinating is a close second. Even an expertly grilled tofu steak will not always be pleasing to the palate unless it is flavored with sauces and spices.

Cooking tofu, baking tofu, and grilling tofu are all very different practices. Depending on the recipe, these techniques often require different sorts of tofu. Grocers and Asian food specialists typically sell a number of tofu varieties.

Silken tofu and soft tofu are best for soups and smoothies. Medium tofu is often used in noodle dishes and mixed with rice; it has more of a consistent texture but disintegrates and crumbles easily. Firm and extra-firm varieties tend to hold their shape even during vigorous cooking. Firmer is usually better when it comes to grilling tofu.

The next thing a tofu griller must do is to decide on the shape of tofu he wishes to grill. Grilling tends to work best with moderately thick slabs or cubes of tofu. Firm tofu comes in a block shape. Cooks typically use a sharp knife to slice the tofu block into equal segments, then cut those segments into strips or wedges, as taste and recipe dictate.

Marinating tofu is also essential. On its own, tofu does not taste like much. It is a porous substance, however, which means that it easily soaks up surrounding liquids. An easy tip for flavorful grilled tofu is to soak the tofu in marinade at least an hour before grilling, and overnight if possible.

When grilling tofu, thick marinades with plenty of sugar, made of things like barbecue sauce or teriyaki sauce, tend to work best. High-sugar marinades will cause the tofu to glaze and crust with the heat of the grill, much as meat would. Different marinades can create different tofu dishes entirely. Often times, the only difference between grilled curry tofu, BBQ tofu, or balsamic glazed tofu is the marinade. Many cooks also often keep a bit of marinade on hand to brush over tofu as it grills to increase the flavor and ensure even coverage.

Tofu has a tendency to stick to surfaces as it cooks, even if it has been marinating for quite awhile. For an easier time grilling tofu, grill masters often recommend generously spraying the grilling surface with vegetable oil to prevent the tofu from cooking onto the grill edges. Threading the tofu onto skewers can also help cooks quickly rotate the tofu as it grills. Tongs, spatulas, and other common grill tools can sometimes be too rough on even the firmest tofu pieces.


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