Use A Dry Rub For Your Grilled Tofu And Thank Us Later

Grilled tofu steaks with potatoes and tomatoes
Grilled tofu steaks with potatoes and tomatoes - Smarina/Getty Images

The beauty of tofu is also its biggest handicap: It doesn't taste like much right out of the package. Because it's such a blank slate, you can make tofu into what seems like an endless list of dishes, from sweet smoothies to savory stews. When it comes to simple cooking methods like grilling, however, you have to be a little more creative — not to mention heavy-handed — on the herbs and spices. In fact the easiest way to pack a ton of taste into some 'fu for your next barbecue is with a dry rub.

If you've worked with tofu in the kitchen, you already know that it's a very wet product, mostly because it's sold sitting in a package of water to keep it preserved. The problem is, wet surfaces like tofu don't grill very well. Tofu also won't absorb other wet flavor ingredients like barbecue sauce unless you let it marinate for a while. Dry rubs, however, can solve two problems at the same time. They'll dry out the surface of the tofu so you can get some browning on the surface and deliver a payload of flavor in seconds.

Read more: The 13 Best Steaks For Grilling

Spice Rubs Will Dry Off The Wet Surface Of Tofu

Spices and seasonings in a dry rub
Spices and seasonings in a dry rub - Andrii Shablovskyi/Getty Images

Grilling is a very straightforward type of cooking. All you're really doing is placing food over a hot flame until it's heated through, with the goal of creating some roasty, caramelized flavors on the outside of the food by searing it on the hot grill grates. When it's time to grill tofu, however, the wet surface is a problem because food needs to be dry in order to sear and turn brown, which is known as the Maillard reaction. Because tofu is stored in water, it's inherently very soggy stuff. You can pat it dry with paper towels and place it on the grill only to find it steaming away a few minutes later with no grill marks in sight.

The goal, therefore, is to get the surface of the tofu as dry as possible before it goes on the flames. A dry rub is perfect here because dry herbs and spices will work like a sponge to absorb a lot of the moisture on the surface in seconds. You can also use a few teaspoons of cornstarch in the rub for a crispier exterior. Just add the cornstarch to the dry rub, toss the tofu in the mix and ensure it's coated, then spray the seasoned tofu with some cooking spray before grilling.

Use Firm Tofu For Grilling

Grilled tofu and vegetables
Grilled tofu and vegetables - Rimma Bondarenko/Shutterstock

The beauty of a dry rub on tofu is that you don't have to waste hours marinating your food before it's ready to grill. Because tofu is such a blank slate, it will absorb almost any flavor combination you'd like, and anything that works on a piece of animal protein, like an all-purpose dry rub, will taste great with tofu. If you're looking for a traditional flavor, try mixing chili, garlic, and onion powder together for an old fashioned barbecue dry rub. If you're planning to do both tofu and meat for your outdoor event, just make a couple of extra tablespoons of rub and set aside it for your tofu. That way, you won't need to do any extra prep.

Just make sure to use firm or extra-firm tofu for grilling, which has a strong enough texture to stay together on the hot grill and makes for easy flipping. Also, a lot of recipes will call for pressing the tofu before grilling, but you don't really need to do this extra step if you're using extra-firm varieties because they've already been pressed in the factory. Just give your 'fu a quick dry rub, and it's ready to go.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.