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How to Cook Smoked Tuna: A Complete Guide

What comes to mind when we mention tuna? An uncomfortable smell, which likely causes us to lose appetite. Actually, smoked tuna is one of the most delicious dishes in the world with its balanced taste and texture.

People who don’t like seafood are more likely to order tuna if it’s on the menu. There are also other people that like tuna, and what a blessing it is for them to eat smoked tuna made on the grill. It’s also actually a really good way of receiving protein.

Although smoking tuna may sound ridiculous at first, smoking tuna is made the same way as pork, beef, or chicken. Obviously gathering ingredients is key, but the most important thing is to rest the meat for the marinating process.

Smoking tuna also needs much less time compared to other meats. So, imagine a situation where you know you have guests coming in 30 minutes. You have nothing to worry about.

The key is that you should get a savory and sweet combination for your smoked tuna, which is definitely not hard.

Choosing the Perfect Smoked Tuna for Smoking

Cooking needs ingredients. Ingredients are key. We always proceed carefully, when we are buying tuna because you need to get the best possible tuna, which stands out.

There are two best options of tuna for smoking:

  • Ahi tuna-high quality cut of tuna perfect for smoking
  • Yellowfin tuna – not quite the same as Ahi, but it’s the second-best option out there

As ridiculous as it may sound, having a good relationship with your butcher will really benefit your decisions in terms of buying better stuff overall.

You can always talk to your butcher about which meat is the freshest and most compatible for your cooking plans.


  • 340 grams of tuna steaks ideally for each person
  • You will obviously need a smoker
  • 3-4 pieces of fruitwood, cherry, or peach
  • 2 ziplock resealable bags
  • Black pepper
  • 3 cups of white wine
  • A single tablespoon of olive oil
  • Brine
  • 1/4 cup of sugar (brown is better)
  • 2/4 of water
  • 1/2 a cup of kosher salt
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • A small number of sprigs of rosemary

Preparing Tuna for Smoking

First of all, add all the ingredients for marinating into a pot. Take every slice of tuna and put it in the brine and make sure it’s covered in brine fully so it gets marinaded from all sides.

Once you have finished the process of marinating the steaks, place them into each of the ziplock bags and then add the leftover brine into these bags. Place the bags in the refrigerator and let them rest for 2-3 hours.

After 3 hours start your smoker to begin the smoking process. Light it up at first. Once the charcoal gets white color, place the pieces of peach wood in the smoker.

Make sure the temperature is between 190 Fahrenheit to 200. This is important for your steak to have a well-balanced smokey flavor.

Note: Make sure that the room you’ll be smoking the fish in is full.

Now it’s time for the main process to start

The first thing you should do is place the steaks onto a paper towel to let them dry off. Put olive oil on both sides equally. Only a small amount is needed here just for black pepper to hold onto it for the whole cooking process.

Lay the steak on the grill. Using a grill or smoker for the tune is important because the flavor of the brine stays with the steak compared to cooking it in the frying pan, where the taste of the brine and its ingredients is lost.

Note: Frequently check the temperature and make sure it’s between 190 Fahrenheit to 200. Your steak should be smoking nicely for now.

The final move is to add white wine and rosemary, but make sure you have placed it in the middle of the fire and the tuna because it will help the meat get moist and keep the flavor of the brine. Make sure to control the temperature, because the wine marinade you have put inside can dry out and cause a nasty taste when you finish the cooking process.

A quick tip: When you are smoking tuna with meat it is always important to keep the distance. No, I am not talking about COVID-19.

It’s always better to keep tuna closer to fire and meat a little further because of the texture they consist of. It will also allow some space for you to place down the liquid for example a bath of wine you have prepared.             

Maintaining the Fire

It’s essentially important for you to maintain the fire properly between 190-200 Fahrenheit.

The steak temperature we need is 140 Fahrenheit, so when it reaches that number it should be ready. Unless you had over 200 Fahrenheit while cooking.

So, there’s always a risk of the fire getting out of control and that’s why you have to control the temperature and watch the smoking process carefully. Crispness on the meat is a good indicator that you have successfully smoked tuna.

The cooking process is done or is it done really? After you have created this masterpiece there’s no way you should allow yourself to serve it regularly.

Final Thoughts

Greek salad with garlic bread makes a perfect combination. This is a perfect partner in crime.

There are obviously a lot more variations of serving you can choose for your masterpiece, but the key is that vegetables match great, especially the tomato and a light salad. For a beverage, you can go in several directions.

You can go either with white wine or dry red wine or you can go with pale ale if you like. You can never go wrong with the beverage after you have cooked this masterpiece.

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