When I get an idea in my head, I always believe everyone else will love it as much as I do. So when I decided smoked tofu was the answer to all of life’s persistent questions (e.g. what’s for dinner?), I instantly emailed the first name in smoke-infused foods, Oscar’s Smokehouse in Warrensburg, NY.
You can find Oscar’s on your way to Gore Mountain ski area by the pig sign. Yeah, they are most famous for their smoked meats, making them seem an unlikely choice for tofu. But they are also known for smoked cheeses–cheddar, gouda, gruyere, horseradish or hot pepper cheddar, colby…I’m getting hungry again. They even smoke some fish. Plus they have a number of items that are not smoked, even more so in their new, expanded store (rebuilt after a fire demolished the place, not caused by the smoking but an errant cigarette butt.)
So I sent one of my typical effusive emails. If you have ever received a message from me, you may know what I mean: long, rambling, and excited. I have disciplined myself out of most of my exclamations marks, which I think makes them a bit more readable, but still, I have noticed that a lot of people don’t respond to my missives when I’m writing in this mode. I am convinced it is not my personality but my voluble dispatches that render friends, new acquaintances, and total strangers incapable of response.
In this case I received this reply: “If we decide to do that we will let you know so you can be the first.” That was the whole email, besides “Thanks, Oscars.” (Which, now that I can look back at this riposte without pangs of rejection, makes me wonder if there were more than one Oscar behind the email.)
By now, readers, you know what this meant to me: I was going to have to try smoking tofu myself. Or rather, I was going to read up on smoking using one’s gas grill, order supplies online, and then enlist Wayne to do the actual smoking since, for everyone’s safety, I don’t do open flames, even in the confines of a gas grill.
So this week’s recipe is more instructions than recipe, but it involves food and an edible finished product. My idea is to use these firm smokey beauties in anything that tofu might ordinarily be used, except this time with more flavor. To wit: stir fry or any other Asian dishes including soup and tofu slabs with any kind of sauce. Next time I might also marinate it before smoking (recipes forthcoming.) You’ll come up with something and tell me about it in the comments, won’t you?
Smoking Tofu on Your Gas Grill
- Block of firm or extra firm tofu
- Wood chips designed for smoking (You can use hickory, apple wood, or whatever strikes your fancy. Available online or at many stores that sell grilling accessories)
- Smoker box (or foil)
- Soak the wood chips for 15 minutes
- Place chips in your smoker box or inside the foil and heat on high over one burner inside your grill until they begin to smoke.
- Meanwhile, cut the tofu into slabs and then gently press the water out of the tofu: wrap the slabs in paper towels and place between two cutting boards. Balance something moderately heavy–a canister, for instance–on top of the cutting board and leave for at least 10 minutes.
- Arrange tofu on a grill rack and set on the side of your grill with the burner off. Smoke for about 50 minutes or until the color and texture look good. You want smokey flavor but not a dried out hunk of tofu.