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Whenever I've tried to grill tofu (on a propane home grill), it falls apart and into the grill. Is there anything I can do beforehand to prevent the tofu from disintegrating, and get it to behave more like a hunk of meat?

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In terms of tagging this vegan/vegetarian - meta.cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/21/… –  rfusca Feb 16 '12 at 20:48
    
@rfudca - Based on that question, and the tag wiki, I'm still a little unclear on the guidelines for tagging "vegetarian". This question occurred to me because of the contest, and because I want to have inclusive options for my veggie friends at the cookout. But, no big deal. –  KatieK Feb 16 '12 at 21:53
    
We just finished a big chat discussion about it, feel free to pop into chat. –  rfusca Feb 16 '12 at 22:04
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basically, if the question is actually about veg*n - not just a food that is commonly used by them. Other groups use tofu as well. For example, we don't tag rice questions with 'asian cuisine'. –  rfusca Feb 16 '12 at 22:16

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Standard tips for browning/frying/grilling tofu;

  • Ensure that you press the tofu sufficiently to remove its own moisture, marinate if desired
  • Lightly dust with flour
  • Brush oil on the grilling surface

The same advice applies for pan frying. I prefer to work at a high temperature, others have had very good results using only medium. Use a very thin, flat metal spatula to turn. Specific to the case of grilling, be mindful of the gap the tofu will stretch across on the grate; it may be crumbling because it isn't strong enough or thick enough to sustain wide gaps.

Additionally you can pre-bake the tofu to dry it out further. I have heard tell that salting lightly with finely ground sea salt helps prevent sticking but have no experience with this, and have had good results without the added sodium.

Typically the moisture in the surface of the bean curd is causing the sticking. Prevent or inhibit this and you should be good.

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i'd also add that you should get the firmest tofu you can. some places sell smoked, pre-pressed stuff that is VERY firm, and that would hold up really well on a grill. –  franko Feb 15 '12 at 18:23
    
@franko and additionally you might try sprouted tofu as it has a nice ability to stay whole. Short of any specifics on the type of tofu (i.e. it is easy to get Nasoya, but not-so-much Cleveland tofu), and assuming you are using non-silken, the advice above should obtain in any case. –  mfg Feb 15 '12 at 18:29

Bamboo skewers are popular here in China for tofu and mushroom grilling: seems to be the scraping of the spatula that disintegrates the tofu when it's time for flipping.

No need for super-firm either. Basically it's a size issue: the moister and heavier the thinner the slice and more it is 'woven' onto skewers. Rule of thumb if you can handle the piece without destroying it, probably will work on the grill.

If the grill spaces are very wide and sticking is still a sticky issue, then try creating a rack of foil to balance the skewers on each end so that tofu grills horizontally in air.

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