How to Smoke Tuna
In my new house, I spent a lot of time on the top floor that has a single window, which looks over the street. A grocery store is the only main attraction over there. My neighbors spend quite a bit of money on smoked tuna that you often find on the shelf of a regular grocery store. I don’t understand why people settle for canned tuna when they can easily make homemade tuna without too much of a fuss. It just needs quick brine, a bit of seasoning, and an hour in the smoker.
In fact, the cooking process is similar to smoking beef or pork. Moreover, it takes less cooking time. Better yet, the taste and texture of home smoked tuna are matchless. It’s pretty much a crowd-pleaser. You can easily be the star of the evening with this versatile fish by your side. If you are hooked by now, let me guide you through the steps to smoke tuna at the comforts of your home.
Our Steps to Smoke Tuna!
Step 1: Brining the Tuna
The first step is no rocket science. If you have spent any time in the kitchen, you may already know how to brine. So, create simple brine from salt and warm water. Brining will contribute to the flavor and also add moisture to the tuna. For extra moist tuna steaks, let the tuna brine overnight in the refrigerator. Fish can soak stuff faster than meat. Depending on the thickness, you should allow 4-8 hours for maximum salt absorption.
Once the waiting period is over, remove the tuna from the solution to dry it. Rinse it off thoroughly with fresh water. Any excess clumps of salt will be taken care off during the rinse. Remember, if you do not allow too much time for brining, you will notice a difference in color between the interior and the edge of the tuna. Generally speaking, the color gets paler.
Step 2: Seasoning the Tuna
Brining is usually just about adding salt and water. Seasoning the tuna will contribute to the natural flavor of the fish. So, I like to season them as well. If you want to do yourself a favor, then choose not to skip this step. Seasoning the tuna has the icing on the cake impact. Frankly speaking, I prefer to do the Indian style over here. I generally season the tuna steaks with chopped garlic cloves, pepper, lemon juice, and a bit of olive oil.
I tend to brush up the tuna steaks with these ingredients lightly. I have enjoyed the results from this blend. Remember, there is nothing etched in stone over here. Seasoning can be done in accordance to your likes and dislikes. Personally, I like to experiment over here and stick with a seasoning blend that works best for my taste.
Step 3: Fire the Smoker
Tuna is not your normal fish. It’s quite thick-fleshed, so it will hold up well against high temperature. So, set your smoker to 250 degrees and add wood chips. You can also smoke it at a lower temperature, but expect the fish to spend more time under the hood. For best flavors, you can use apple or cherry. They are my personal favorite. Of course, there is nothing stopping you from using your favorite flavor.
Remember, smoking is best attained in calm conditions. If it’s too windy outside, move your equipment to a sheltered area. A consistent temperature is a must for cooking the stuff right. The wind can change the dynamics of the game. It can alter the temperature inside the hood. As a result, you might end up checking the progress of the fish very often. This will surely increase the cooking duration. So, keep this pro tip in mind before you fire up the smoker.
Step 4: Smoke the Tuna
Place the tuna steaks on the upper rack and cover the smoker with the lid. Cook the tuna for an hour. In between, flip the tuna steak once, and baste it with butter. Bear in mind that the cooking time can get extended based on the equipment you use and the number of times you open the hood to check the fish’s progress. So, cooking time can sometimes take an extra hour or two. Also, the wood chips in use must be pre-soaked in water for a good hour or more before use. Wet woods produce more smoke than dry wood, and they tend to burn slowly. Remember to not use treated or processed timbers because they contain a large amount of toxins that can have an adverse effect on your health.
The tuna will be done when the temperature under the hood attains 140 degrees. Ideally speaking, the tuna should easily flak out when pressed with a knife or fork. If it does, it’s an indication that it’s ready to be served on the table. Transfer the fish to the serving plate. The rest will be history. Simply, serve and enjoy the tuna like never before. You might regret not trying it earlier.
Why wait for the grocery gods to smile at you in order to buy commercial tuna at a low price. Home cooked tuna will not only turn out tasty, but it will also be economical on your wallet. There is no way you will not finish strong by showcasing this delicious fish in the menu. Once you taste your home-cooked tuna, you could get hooked on it. As you can see the recipe is simple, and it produces excellent results.
All you really have to do is replicate the steps listed above. The most important thing is to try it out a few times. Most attempts will be successful because you already have the blueprint in front of you. Once the basic stuff is mastered, the rest is easy as pie. So, why stick with the store-bought average fish? The chances are that you will be amazed by the outstanding results. So, why not give it a shot today?