✯ Mike's Site


Shortly after moving, I realized that despite the often-rainy Oregon weather, I was going to need another grill. We'd given the old gas chugger away back in Texas. It was too small, a little persnickity, and basically had one temperature ("hot as it'll go," which was increasingly "not that hot").

After doing some online reading and talking to a couple people, I came to the Kamado style grill and ended up with the Char-Griller Akorn. Last year's model was dirt cheap on Amazon and Prime-ready, so in a day I was up and running. The chief appeal of a kamado, popularized in the West by the Big Green Egg, is that you can get crazy hot with it but also control super low temperatures for long periods. So it lends itself not only to making a pizza with a super hot fire but smoking a brisket.

For the Fourth, I brought some smoked stuff to the neighbors' party — he's a carne asada connoisseur, but she's a vegetarian. So I took it upon myself to see if Real Texas Flavor could be transferred to a mouth without riding on a dead animal.

I read a bit online but not many people were doing it. This person gave me the marinade idea: basically one part rice wine vinegar to two parts soy sauce. As meat eaters who've tried it will attest, tofu doesn't really have a lot of flavor. So slicing the bricks lengthwise in half then marinating them for about a day in this salty/tangy, vaguely Japanese solution gave it a great savory start before it even hit the wood. After that, I got the hickory going as low as it would go, waited for the good thin blue smoke (you do that, don't you? Don't tell me you cook over that white shit), and sat the half-bricks down for about 2 hours.

True to what I expected, they gained a little more chew. I'm not sure where that comes from, but if you've ever had smoked cheese you know what I'm talking about. A little rind, a little denser texture. In the case of spongey-ass tofu, it worked well. It had the texture of tofu that'd been pressed for weeks, not the couple hours I did it.

Results? I loved it, both neighbors loved it, a few people declared it the best tofu they'd ever had. And it really did have a taste reminiscent of Texas BBQ.