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Summer is in full swing. Time to roll out the grill and place a few pieces of thick, juicy tofu on the fire. Nope, that's not a typo—tofu is absolutely delicious on the grill. Crispy, meaty, and capable of soaking up any flavorings you apply to it, grilled tofu is not only just as good as a good piece of meat, it's also just as easy (if not easier) to make. Kenji broke down the process a few months ago with his guide on how to grill and broil tofu.
The first step is using the right tofu for the job. Silken tofu is great in dishes such as soup and stir-fries, like Sichuan Mapo Tofu, but if you're looking for a crispy texture, you need firm tofu. It also needs to be sliced thickly—the thickness not only makes it easier to flip the tofu without breaking it but also ensures a juicy center when it's done cooking.
The next (very important) step is to remove the excess moisture from the tofu, which helps it crisp up nicely on the grill. As Kenji's guide explains, all it takes is gently pressing on the tofu with some paper towels to soak up moisture. Once your tofu is prepped, it's time for the fun part—flavoring it.
Tofu is like a sponge, absorbing the flavors you add to it. It's especially great with boldly flavored ingredients like miso (salty and fermented) and chipotle peppers (spicy and smoky), which I'm using in the marinade here, along with a little brown sugar to balance out the assertiveness. Miso and chipotles may be from entirely different cooking traditions, but they work together so well.
Not only do I marinate the tofu, but I also mix some of the marinade with sesame oil and soy sauce and reserve it to apply after the tofu comes off the grill. By doing this, I double up on the flavor that I'd get from marination alone.
After I've done all that, I grill the tofu over low indirect heat, which gives the exterior of the tofu time to dehydrate, brown, and then crisp.
Once it's done, I spoon the reserved marinade on top, sprinkle with chopped scallions for some color and fresh flavor, and serve. The result is tofu that's tender on the inside with a hearty brown crust on the outside, and so tasty that even the most committed meat-eaters will love it—I promise.
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