I finally found some time to write up my process for smoking tofu. I have only been doing this for about 3 months, but I have found a process that brings about the desired outcome.
I start with firm tofu because of its nutrition compared to extra firm. I usually buy 1 lb bricks of Azumaya brand tofu, it is what my store has. I am not a vegan or vegetarian, so there are probably better brands out there, but I haven’t gone looking. I usually do 3-4 tofu bricks at a time. I probably eat a fair bit of this stuff after I smoke it.
The base marinade is what I use as a base for most Asian sauces. I learn the ingredients in some wok cookbook.
- 1/2 cup Soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
Mix these two, and you got what I have found to be a perfect flavor for the tofu inside that matches well with the smoke flavor you get on the outside.
- Drain the tofu
- Place the tofu on a paper towel and fold the paper towel over
- Let it sit for 30 minutes, and place something heavy on it if you like, I find the paper towels soaked just by letting it sit.
- Cut the tofu brick into 4 equal slices length-wise. I usually get 4 x 1/2 inch slices per brick.
- Place the tofu in the marinade bag and pour the marinade over it
- Let sit for 2-24 hours. Depending on your tastes, longer will get the marinade to penetrate more of the tofu. Rotate the bag repeatedly to ensure the marinade is getting into the slices.
- I have tried whole bricks, half bricks, and 1/4 bricks. I have found that 1/4 brick gets you the most smoked surface area and takes less time to smoke everything. I also find it easier to store and use because I cup my tofu when cooking, and it is quick to cube a couple of slices and save the rest for later.
I usually use apple chips because I have an apple tree, so I get free chips. Hickory also works, but I haven’t tried anything else yet. Apple is going to give it a more acidic taste, I think. So I would use another chip type if you want a smoother flavor. I think the soy sauce and the rice wine vinegar work well with the apple, though.
I place the tofu directly on the smoking racks because I have found that this gets the firmest tofu in the shortest time. I smoke the tofu for 2-3 hours, usually closer to 2, at between 200-240 °F. I try to stay steady at 220 °F.
If I am smoking the tofu for vegans or vegetarians, I will make tin foil boats to place the slices in. If you place the tofu in boats, you will want to cut some holes in the tin foil to let liquids drain. You will also need to flip the tofu in the middle of the process. Foil boats will also mean that you will need to smoke the tofu longer, about an hour.