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What Is Smoked Tuna?

By Dee Jones
Updated May 16, 2024
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Smoked tuna is tuna that has been cooked using smoke instead of fried, baked or broiled. Fish cooked using smoke instead of other cooking methods can have many health benefits. Smoking also has preservative properties, so smoked fish tends to last longer than fish prepared in other ways. Tuna can be either hot smoked or cold smoked. All that is needed to hot smoke tuna is a barbeque grill, some coals, and wood chips. Many fish dishes can be made using smoked tuna, including those that usually call for smoked salmon.

Many believe there are several health benefits to eating smoked fish because it is not cooked in fatty oils, and retains most of its vitamins and nutrients. Another benefit of smoked tuna is that it lasts longer than fish prepared using other methods because the smoking helps to preserve it. While smoked tuna can be eaten on its own, many fish dishes can be made using smoked tuna. In fact, any dish that calls for smoked salmon can be made using smoked tuna instead.

Two basic techniques can be used to smoke tuna: hot smoking and cold smoking. Hot smoking is the technique that seems to be used most often, and can be done at home using a barbeque grill. First, cleaned tuna is soaked in brine of salt and water, and any other spices and seasonings the cook might prefer. After being placed in the refrigerator, the fish is allowed to soak in the brine for at least an hour. Next, the fish is removed from the brine, rinsed, patted dry, and then allowed to air dry for anywhere from one to two hours, until a shiny coating appears on the fish. A fan can be used to speed up the drying process.

To prepare a barbeque grill to smoke tuna, place coals in it and allow them to burn until they are gray. Move the coals to one side and then sprinkle wood chips, which can be chosen based on the flavor the cook wants the smoked tuna to have, over the coals. Finally, place the tuna on the rack as far away from the coals as possible and close the lid. Tuna can be smoked in a grill that’s between 180 degrees Fahrenheit (or about 82 degrees Celsius) and 190 degrees Fahrenheit (or approximately 88 degrees Celsius) for from two to three hours, or even longer. The taste and texture of the tuna will differ depending on how long it has been smoked, so smoking time will depend on the cook’s personal taste.

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