You’d suppose that every one would have gone out the window once I stopped consuming meat, and far of it has. I nonetheless keep in mind my final style of brisket at Austin’s famed Franklin Barbecue greater than a decade in the past; as I marveled on the smoke ring, tenderness and juiciness, I knew intellectually that it was the Platonic very best – and emotionally that it didn’t transfer me. It took me many months to appreciate that what I had misplaced a style for was the meat, not the smoke. Not by an extended shot.
Fortunately, these days, I can get my smoke repair from so many different meals. I’ve gone on file as a fan of the smoked egg salad at Baltimore’s Neopol Savory Smokery (which has a preferred counter at D.C.’s Union Market). I’m a sucker for smoked cheeses, and earlier this summer season I couldn’t cease speaking in regards to the smoked kalamata olives I found on a Complete Meals Market olive bar.
Get the recipe: Stovetop Smoked Tofu
These are merchandise I purchase already smoked. What I’ve finished a lot much less through the years is smoke meals myself, regardless that I’ve an enormous yard that features an out of doors charcoal grill that I might rig up for low-and-slow cooking (aka barbecue). I’ll blame it on a mixture of a busy household and work life and fewer tolerance for the warmth and mosquitoes of the D.C. summertime (and typically spring and typically fall), however each time I prepare dinner exterior, I wish to make it as fast as attainable.
The one home-smoked meals that retains tempting me, although, is certainly one of my different nice loves: tofu. One in all Neopol’s different standout merchandise is its smoked tofu, which I like to crumble up and bind with mayonnaise and scallions. Each time I do, I marvel at how splendidly wood-kissed the tofu is, with a taste that’s concurrently extra pronounced and extra nuanced than the variability I purchase from the grocery retailer, pretty much as good as that’s. I additionally wish to eat it with greens or rice, stir it into chilis or put it on such dishes as okonomiyaki, the Japanese cabbage pancake.
Ever since I learn Steven Raichlen’s “Undertaking Smoke” a number of years in the past, I’ve been which means to attempt certainly one of his methods for smoking tofu, however I saved stopping on the hurdle of that out of doors setup. Then a reader requested in a remark not too long ago about the right way to smoke their very own, so I doubled down and realized that Raichlen had already given me the important thing, with a brief reference to how effectively tofu takes to stovetop (aka indoor) smoking. I don’t have a stovetop smoker (like these made by Camerons), however I quickly realized I didn’t want that, both. With the assistance of some directions in Prepare dinner’s Illustrated, I used my Dutch oven, wooden chips, a steamer basket and a few aluminum foil to do the trick.
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Seems, it’s fairly darn straightforward: You simply line the underside of the pot with foil, sprinkle it with wooden chips (unsoaked, which suggests they’ll begin smoking sooner), and prime that with a steamer basket. Thick slices of seasoned tofu (I used barbecue rub) go on the steamer, you tent it with extra foil, and set the pot over excessive warmth. In only a minute or two, as soon as the wisps begin to rise, you scale back the warmth, cowl the pot and use extra foil to seal up the rim. In about 20 minutes, the tofu takes on a beautiful smoke taste. You may eat it as is (it’s scrumptious), mash it with mayo for the aforementioned salad, or flip it into one thing much more meal-worthy by searing the tofu in oil and serving together with your favourite barbecue sauce.
It’s not basic barbecue, and it’s no mission. As an alternative, it’s certainly one of my favourite proteins, bathed in certainly one of my favourite flavors. And simply in case you had been questioning, it got here with one other bonus: Surprisingly, the recipe didn’t set off my smoke detector.
Get the recipe: Stovetop Smoked Tofu