Memphis-Style Dry-Rub BBQ Tofu

I was so excited for this, but we didn’t love it. It was okay and we ate it, but I was disappointed. Maybe we didn’t grill it long enough? Maybe my dry-rub I made wasn’t good enough? I used paprika, cumin, a little cinnamon, and some garlic powder. Grilling tofu on the grill isn’t easy, but it works! Be sure to oil your grill well or it will stick!

rating: 7

Memphis-Style Dry-Rub BBQ Tofu

“Making a dry rub is easy — and there’s no real rhyme or reason to it. I’ve been told stories of people emptying the contents of their spice cabinet into a large jar to create their “signature” rub. It sounds crazy, but I guess that works as well as any other method. My own spicy dry rub usually contains a few key ingredients in equal measure: chipotle powder, sweet paprika, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, cumin, and also some warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, brown sugar, and oregano. You should try your own mix and see what happens. I promise you that if you try it once, you will never BBQ without a dry rub again. Next thing you know, I reckon you’ll be speaking in a mighty fine Southern accent, y’all!”


2 blocks extra-firm tofu (drained and dried)
4 tablespoons dry rub
1-2 cups BBQ sauce*
6-8 slices smoked gouda
6-8 whole wheat buns
olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper
(+ foil for grilling method)


Tofu can be tricky to grill because it sticks to the grill. A well-oiled grill plus the dry rub will help keep the tofu intact. Cut each block into 8 equal pieces and lay them flat on a sheet pan. Generously sprinkle the dry rub, salt, and pepper over the tofu slices. Turn slices over and repeat. Turn your gas grill on high; allow it to preheat for 10-15 minutes. (This is imperative. If the grill is not hot, your tofu will stick.) Using a folded paper towel and tongs, oil the grill grates just before placing the tofu on the grill. Place the tofu on the grill and leave it alone for 4 minutes. Turn the tofu using your tongs, and allow it to cook another 4 minutes. Remove tofu from the direct heat and onto the upper rack of your grill, which you have lined with foil. Reduce the heat to medium. Using a basting brush, brush both sides of tofu with BBQ sauce. Add sauce every 10 minutes of so until you are ready to serve.
Assemble the sandwiches by placing two (or three) tofu squares on a bun along with a slice of smoked gouda cheese. Top that with some purple cabbage slaw.

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