Its Tuna Season Here!!

Discussion in 'Fish' started by baja traveler, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. Here in San Diego we are entering the best time of the year - fishing is starting to go off, and right now the tuna are starting to show in numbers. Recently a buddy came back from a multi day trip and spread the wealth, so naturally I got the smoker ready. For this smoke I have a new secret ingredient, and I have to say that it will be included in just about everything I smoke from now on that requires a brine step.

    Here's the Brine:

    2 cups apple cider

    1 cup brown sugar

    1/2 cup kosher salt

    1/2 cup honey

    1/2 cup soy (I used dark soy)

    2 Tbs Molasses

    1 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder

    1 1/2 Tsp Onion Powder

    And here is the secret ingredient : 3 cans Vernor's Ginger Ale

    Why Vernor's - This Ginger Ale not only gives a nice ginger hint to the meat, but since the syrup is aged in oak barrels for years before canning, it has a beautiful sharp oaky flavor that simply works. Only Vernor's is made this way, so no substitutions will do...

    I heated up the brine solution in a sauce pan to dissolve the ingredients, let them cool - then added the 3 pre-chilled cans of Vernor's. The Yellowfin tuna loins were sliced up into 1 1/2" thick pieces and brined for 6 hours. Here they are on their racks forming a pellicle. I used a fan to help speed up the process.

    I fired up the smoker to 200* - no water pan, but a large tray of play sand is in place. The AMNPS was stoked up with Maple pellets, and the yellowfin went in for a 4 hour smoke to an internal temp of 140*.

    Here was my view on opening the door:

    Out on the counter cooling off, but I couldn't wait - just after I took the picture I had to try a piece. Nice and moist with a wonderful flavor. I don't think this will last very long...

  2. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Very nice!
  3. That looks awesome!  I've done quite a bit of Salmon & Trout, never crossed my mind to do some Tuna-  That's now on the short list. I'm sure the ginger ale would complement that big-time. 

    Also- nice lookin smoker!  Any details on what you're using??

  4. [​IMG]

    Looks Great!

    Happy smoken.

  5. i built my smoker starting with a NEMA 4x electrical enclosure that my work was throwing out.

    Here it is after insulating and conversion - I saved the mounting points to bolt it up to a block wall:

  6. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    I've never had smoked tuna. I bet that is stellar! I'd have a hard time not just eating is sashimi style with soy & wasabi but if you have it at your disposal, like you do, I'd definitely smoke some!
  7. That's brilliant! Looks like one of those stainless Hoffman boxes, they're made right down the road from me. That thing probably cost $4k new, what a score!  Love the exhaust with damper, and it is certainly non-combustible! Great job-

  8. humdinger

    humdinger Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looking good Baja Traveler. My wife loves sashimi style tuna so maybe she'll like this too. Also glad you know about the secret deliciousness of Vernors Ginger Ale as a brine. It's was a highly regionalized beverage for a long time in the Rust Belt, and is still very popular here in Michigan. (Michigan accounts for 80% of Vernors sales) so it's cool that you can find it out in SoCal.I use it to inject pork butt all the time (mixed with a little Jack daniels of course) and I marinate spare ribs in it too. For dessert, use it as a substitute for Root Beer in an ice cream float. It's known as a Boston Cooler. VERY good.
  9. Injecting a Butt for my next pulled pork smoke is exactly what I was thinking - adding some Jack Daniels to the mix is a great idea! Sounds like I have a plan for the Labor day weekend...
  10. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't know how I missed this thread! Great job on the tuna!! It is one of my favorites. Last weekend I came home from the coast with several black cod fillets for the smoker. My have to try some of the Vernors Ginger Ale on it to see how it tastes!
  11. jjf2x

    jjf2x Newbie

    WOW! Looks fantastic. Good job. 
  12. redneck69

    redneck69 Smoking Fanatic

    i'm not a tuna fish fan...but i like your brine...gonna screen print that and keep it for some future fish
  13. suie

    suie Meat Mopper

    Wow, beautiful!! I'm going to have to give that brine a try for sure!

  14. Product of my Success.... 20 more pounds of Yellowfin Tuna to smoke.

    Lets see - smoked yellowfin tuna casserole, smoked yellowfin tuna salad, smoked yellowfin tuna sandwiches, smoked yellowfin tuna spread....

  15. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    We can our smokes tuna so we can use it all year long! Super jealous we didn't get any albacore this year and we're down to our last jars!!
  16. blackdam

    blackdam Newbie

    I'm so jealous. 

    I want to smoke tuna, like now....
  17. Batch #2 - I did everything exactly the same, but this batch has a wonderful coating and color. Maybe because I was able to get a better pellicle on it this time...

  18. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks great!
  19. jonboat

    jonboat Smoke Blower

    Never been a fan of tuna, but was never a fan of salmon either, so, knowing how smoking makes salmon into a real treat, I can only imagine that smoke performs the same miracle with tuna as it does with salmon. That looks really tasty. Thanks for the q-view!
  20. humdinger

    humdinger Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice looking final product there! I like how the edges are blackened!

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