Let’s not exclude our vegan friends from the cookout! VBQ maps out everything you need to throw the ultimate vegan barbecue from starters like this kale salad to desserts. This summer, consider barbecued tofu. Make sure to follow these tips for a perfectly cooked vegan meal.

Reprinted with permission from VBQ

“I hate the taste of tofu, even when it isn’t barbecued,” “I simply don’t like the texture of tofu” or simply “Tofu always burns on the barbecue.” We often hear these and other similar arguments. Our reply is typically, “You’ve just never tried really good tofu.” And this is true in most cases.

Rule #1: Buy good quality tofu

There is tofu and there is tofu. By this we do not only mean the difference between soft silken tofu, which is not suitable for barbecuing, and firm tofu. As far as texture is concerned, there is a big difference between them. But also with regard to flavor. Essentially, tofu is not made from standard soybeans, and each tofu maker has their own particular recipe, which gives the final product its own distinct flavor. For barbecuing, it is better to use firm but moist and elastic tofu that does not crumble.

Rule #2: Press tofu

Tofu contains a lot of liquid, which means that it can be stored without drying out, but this also makes it difficult to put flavor into it. You can very easily press it to remove the excess water. There are special tofu presses available, which makes sense if you eat a lot of tofu and eat it often. However, you can also just use two plates, paper towels and a heavy pot. Line a plate with paper towels and put the tofu block on it. Cover with more paper towels and with the second plate. Weigh the whole thing down with a pot or other heavy object. Take off the weight after about 20 minutes and the tofu is ready for the next step.

Rule #3: Freeze tofu

Here’s an insider’s tip from Japan that you have to try: Whole, well-drained tofu blocks are completely frozen, and then left to thaw on a plate lined with paper towels. The excess liquid is released during thawing and the tofu becomes firmer and more absorbent. It is quite normal for tofu to turn yellow when frozen.

Rule #4: Slice tofu properly

You should not cut tofu into thin slices. The soft bean curd can barely offer any resistance to hard barbecue tongs, so turning thin tofu slices over will be more exciting than a James Bond film. You cannot go wrong if you cut the tofu into slices about 1. inches (3 cm) thick. 

Rule #5: Marinate well for a long time

As previously explained, tofu has a naturally mild flavor, so it can be enhanced by means of a strongly flavored marinade and spices. Cut the pressed or thawed tofu into thick slices and immerse them in a large amount of marinade for several hours. Seasoning mixtures containing olive oil, coarse sea salt, paprika and ground cumin work quite well.

Rule #6: Use plenty of oil

Dry tofu will stick to a grill faster than you can count to three. To prevent this, tofu slices seasoned with a dry rub should be brushed with plenty of oil before

being placed on the grill, and any marinades should contain a large proportion of oil. Brushing the grill with oil before laying the tofu over it will ensure that he tofu will reach your plate whole.

Rule #7: Sear over direct heat; finish cooking over indirect heat

Tofu is particularly suited to the newest cast-iron grills, because they are good for leaving char marks and you can create the patterns you like on it. Sear the tofu slices over direct heat for about 3 minutes each side, and leave them over indirect heat for 6 to 8 more minutes to become crispy.