Home smoked tuna. Get over yourself man!

Smoked tuna (1 of 9)

Sorry about the headline. But there is a bit of a back story. About seven months ago, following on from some home smoking success, I decided to try smoking some tuna. I got my brine ingredients together and also got my hands on some delicious tuna steaks. The photo above is testament to this. “So, what’s the problem?”, I hear you muse.

The ingredients

  • 4 nice tuna steaks
  • 1 tablespoon of Muscavado sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of rock salt
  • 1 teaspoon of peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of Lea and Perrins sauce
  • 500 ml of water

I went about preparing a brine.

Perfect brine with tuna brining, as it does.

Perfect brine with tuna brining, as it does.

Everything except the tuna went into the brine. In fact, when it was made, the tuna went in too. The camera never lies. The brine was pretty perfect. I left the tuna in there for six hours. After which, I placed the tuna, on a rack, in the oven with fan but no heat for 45 minutes. This dried it nicely and left it with a perfect pedicle (dry yet slightly sticky coating). I prepared the smoker, adding a nice layer of wood dust to hot smoke the tuna.

Not a lot of dust needed to smoke this lovely tuna.

Not a lot of dust needed to smoke this lovely tuna.

I added in the tuna and was ready to smoke it.

Lovely brined tuna ready to smoke. Everything is going so well...

Lovely brined tuna ready to smoke. Everything is going so well…

I hot smoked the tuna for 15 minutes.

Wonderful smoked tuna. The aromas were fantastic.

Wonderful smoked tuna. The aromas were fantastic.

Then I served it with some saffron rice and fresh green beans. It was delicious.

Smoked tuna (9 of 9)So, you ask; “What was the problem?”  For reasons best known to myself, I had decided that the cooked tuna didn’t look up to scratch. “It’s falling apart a bit.” I muttered to myself. “I should really have cooked it a little less. Though, it was beautiful.” I filed the photos away and looked at them every few weeks, repeatedly deciding that the final shot was not good enough to post. Eventually, last evening, I asked the wife for her opinion.

She told me that the picture was pretty well perfect. In fact, she told me; “Get over yourself. It’s lovely.” I hope you agree.


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  • I like the idea of it drying out with just the fan going. I may well try that with chicken – it’s a boys weekend with the wife at a hen party so meat and more meat this weekend!

    • That could be interesting too. It would need a good long brining / soaking beforehand though. Could lead to a lovely crispy crust. Mmmmm.

  • Home smoked fish is the good shit my friend!!

  • Love love love, I make the salmon in a similar way. Can I publish on next Saturday’s perhaps ?

  • We’ll… The beans look to be cooked a bit long for my taste…;-) but the tuna looks FABULOUS. I love smoked fish, of all varieties.

    Happy spring to you, Conor! Today I’ll cook 5 pounds of 100% pasture raised brisket for Passover. It’s from Hearst Ranch (on the land in central California that was the William Randolph Hearst estate). And grate fresh horseradish of course!

    • Thank you Flori. You are quite right about the beans. I am envious of the brisket.
      Happy spring to you too.

  • Get over yourself Conor. 😉 This tuna looks flavorful, well-spiced and exquisitely smoked. It’s hard being perfect, but someone has to do it (like Mr. Tuna). You must have gorgeous, fresh fish to play around with. Living in the high desert, great seafood is hard to come by.

    • You make a good point Shanna. I should focus on the positives.

  • I have a smile on my face as I’m reading this on the Autobahn (Kees is driving — we just tasted and bought some nice riesling and spätburgunder), as I’m imagining the Wife telling you to get over yourself 🙂 the tuna does look lovely. Interesting technique, too. I’d love to cold-smoke some tuna, but don’t have the equipment.

    • Thanks Stefan. I shared the post with my fishmonger this morning. He has just bought a commercial smoker. I might try to talk him into some smoking experiments. It could be fun. My best to Kees.

  • This is so funny! I can only imagine the look on your face when she said that and I can see she had an effect on you because you did post it! And it is wonderful.

    • Thanks. She is small but disproportionately influential…

  • Love your dry wit as the beginning of the story sure promises a different ending 🙂 ! Have had smoked salmon and trout, mackerel and herring, never tuna: should investigate!!

  • I’ve got a number of folders of photos I feel the same way about and can’t stop going back to look at, always hoping maybe I’ll like them better than the last time I looked! But I’m glad to see you’ve learned Rule No. 1: Always go with the wife’s opinion.

    • There are only two rules. Rule No 1 as you outline and Rule No. 2: Never forget Rule No 1.

  • You’ve got me inspired to get my smoke on! I’ve never tried smoked tuna, though so something tells me it’s got to be good. As for the pictures and post it’s always great to have a second opinion. They are good!

  • Looks amazing and I can almost, yes almost, smell it! Tummy is growling now! ^..^ B

    • Thanks Barb. You are too kind to me.

      • Invite me the next time that you make this and I will bring a lovely bottle of one amazing California wine! 🙂

  • Love this process. Would love you to try some salmon steaks this way…

  • Sometimes all we need is time, Conor. And she’s quite right: that last shot is beauty. All those smoky layers. Great job. We’re all glad you finally got over it and came to your senses.

  • Mmmm, that sure looks delicious. I have some friends that go tuna fishing in the Pacific, I’ll have to beg for a few steaks next time they go.

  • Wow this is amazing. I love that you smoked the tuna. I’d go crazy with that smoker. My brother has one and has done turkey and salmon. Yum. The photos are gorgeous as usual. I’m glad you got over yourself 🙂

    • Thanks Amanda. Turkey is something I need to try or chicken, or….

  • This really does look good, Conor. I don’t know what you were expecting but this is far better than I’d expect from my own smoking endeavors. (You may recall that my last attempt caught fire.) These little, self-contained smokers seem to work fine — your salmon being the latest proof — and there’s seemingly less chance of a raging inferno. Thank you for including so many details. I’ll be sure to come back here if I do decide to give smoking another try — though I’ll have a fire extinguisher in-hand. 🙂

    • John, I suspect that if I knew there was a fire risk, I probably would have burned down the house. Remembering your experiences made me laugh. Thanks for that.

  • Very good. I’m really wanting a smoker myself. I’ve been doing some wet cured bacon and would like to take it the next step. I’d love to do some fish too. This looks great.

    • The thought of home cured and smoked bacon makes me drool.

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