Cold Smoked Tuna

Discussion in 'Recipes, Storage and Preparation of Seafood' started by IronNoggin, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. IronNoggin

    IronNoggin Well-Known Member

    HiYa Folks,

    I already have a recipe for making Cold Smoked Tuna.
    However it is quite lengthy & time consuming.
    So, as I get ready to launch another big batch here, I thought who better to ask than you all?

    Anyone care to share a great recipe for Cold Smoked Tuna??

    Here's Hoping!

  2. Derby

    Derby Crew Member

    would love to see yours as I'm just looking for 1 :)
  3. IronNoggin

    IronNoggin Well-Known Member

    The one I have used in the past is a double brine recipe suggested by a couple high end lox producers.
    Quite involved, as there is a dry brine followed by a wet brine, then a de-salination process.

    I'll dig it up but may take a moment.
    Believe it is saved to an external hard drive, so I'll have to figure out which one...

    Back at you after I find it...

  4. Derby

    Derby Crew Member

    Don't go crazy.. :)
  5. IronNoggin

    IronNoggin Well-Known Member

    LOL! Have to find it anyway... The search is ON!
    marbledmurrelet and Derby like this.
  6. Reeltime

    Reeltime Well-Known Member

    I'm waiting on this one to.. ;)
    marbledmurrelet and Derby like this.
  7. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    A buddy just dropped some off to me. He got it from a guide in ukie. I'll ask him if he can get the recipe... if it's good o_O
    Derby and IronNoggin like this.
  8. Reeltime

    Reeltime Well-Known Member

    post a pic what it looks like
  9. browningmirage

    browningmirage Active Member

    Salt to firm (rinse to taste) let dry, smoke for a day. Delicious.
  10. BearCove

    BearCove Crew Member

    Here's mine, second year I have done it this way and happy with results,

    1 bag Demerara Sugar
    Cup Pickling Salt
    16 Cups Water
    8-10 loins

    First I trim tuna loins, getting off excess so I have nice lions to brine, place in big Tupperware container with lid.

    Boil water then add sugar and salt, stir so salt and sugar dissolve, let cool.

    Once cool, dump brine over fish and let sit over night.

    Remove from brine, pat dry and I set the loins on the smoker racks in smoker (Bradley) I run a fan on the racks until the loins become tacky, sometimes takes up to a day, be patient. Once tacky I smoke for 2-3 hours or until you feel it is done the way you want. I do not have a cold smoke adaptor for my Bradley so I smoke outside with smoke only during very cold weather. Has turned out well, very happy with product.
    Dogbreath, IronNoggin and Reeltime like this.
  11. Reeltime

    Reeltime Well-Known Member

    How does your tuna turn out overly moist or flakey, tuna has major moisture and oils keeping it from drying out the inside...
  12. IronNoggin

    IronNoggin Well-Known Member

    Found it. Original had pictures (long since lost to the photo host that kicked the bucket) so some grammar, punctuation etc may be a tad off. Enough remains to get the gist of it though:

    Cold Smoked Tuna

    Slowly thaw the desired amount of whole tuna loins. Once thawed, make up a DRY Brine of 4 parts Demerara Sugar to 3 parts non-iodine (coarse or pickling) Salt. Put enough of this in a plastic container to cover the bottom of it:

    Place the tuna loins on top of that. And cover well with the balance of the brine mix.

    Now let sit for at least 24 hours in the fridge (If you don't have room in your fridge, keep cool by whatever means). After that period the tuna will have "leaked" a fair amount of juice (moisture) and the brine will pretty much dissolve.

    At this point the tuna will have darkened substantially in response to the dry brining process.

    It is not necessary to rinse the loins, as they now go onto the next stage - the Wet Brine process. Yes, that is correct, two brines as apposed to a single one that we are all most familiar with. I chose to go this route due to the advice of some VERY serious lox producers who insisted this was the "preferred" method to ensure a great quality product.

    Run enough cold water into your tub to cover the tuna. Add in a LOT of salt (in this case a little better than half a bag went into the brine). You want a "super saturated" solution, meaning that the brine can absorb no further salt, and there is salt settled out on the bottom of the container. Then add the tuna loins. Let sit in the fridge or a cool place for another 24 hour minimum period. Following that the loins will lighten considerably:

    Remove from the brine, and prepare for the next step

    This next step is CRITICAL and very finicky!

    This is termed "Freshening" in which the salt is slowly removed from the tuna.
    Place the loins in another container and run cold water into that, allowing the water to run over the sides carrying away the salt with it:

    You MUST keep a VERY sharp eye on this process! If you don't allow sufficient time for the desalination to occur, the tuna will be overly salty, and no-one will want to consume it! On the other hand should you leave the loins in for too long, they will turn into a wet soggy mess and be ruined - non-recoverable error!

    The Glaze is a mix of full bodied Rum, maple syrup and brown (Demerara again) sugar. I used quite a large amount of rum, as I like the taste it instills. For this run the ratios were 3 Parts Rum to 1 part Maple Syrup. Then I added in 1/2 bag of the sugar. The sugar will settle out, so to combat that and mix it well, heat (GENTLY) just until the sugar dissolves. DO NOT OVERHEAT!

    Check the tuna over the freshening period. What you want to see is the ability to slice the loin VERY thinly, and no salt taste.

    WELL oil one of your smoking grills, and place the tuna loins on that. It is best to ensure air flow both above and below the surface to the grill. You can now apply the glaze either by brushing on, or as I did with a squirter bottle:

    This is a somewhat messy process, so make sure you cover the surrounding area with some type of protection. The glaze is very sticky!

    Set up a fan so the air rushes over all sides of the lions:

    Over the course of the next several hours the tuna will absorb the glaze. Add more glaze as it does so, keeping the surface of the loins moist. The drying process will vary, in this case they ran under the fan (with a lot of glaze sprayed on continuously) for 8 hours. At the end of that time allow a "patina" to form with the glaze. You must stop adding the glaze to induce this, and it will likely take an hour or two before it dries enough to form the patina:

    The final step of course is the actual smoking. Regardless of how you do it, the internal temperature of your smoker should NEVER reach more than 70 degrees F - and cooler is indeed better.

    Again, the temperature is CRITICAL! Do not overheat the loins, or they will dry out and be ruined!

    COLD Smoke Generator is best.
    Only run a few hours even with that set-up, all you want to do is infuse a little flavor.
    For that process I used apple / alder (50 / 50) mix.

    As I said, rather finicky and time consuming. But, the finished product was a real hit among all my buddies, many of whom had tasted "professional" versions.

    Guess I'll run with the old Tried & True again. Can collect a few pix along the way to replace those that wandered.

    Reeltime and Derby like this.
  13. BearCove

    BearCove Crew Member

    It is nice and moist, that’s the way we like it, could smoke a bit longer and firm it up or leave it in the brine a bit longer and the salt will firm it up a bit more.

    Cuts much better when still a little frozen.
    Reeltime likes this.
  14. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    I guess there's no consensus as to what "cold smoked tuna" really is. My understanding was that it's traditionally much dryer (but not "dry") more like a salami. Meant to be eaten on crackers like on a charcuterie board.
  15. Old Blue

    Old Blue Active Member

    I've done a few batches of Yellowfin Gravlax....turned out pretty decent and easy. I used Fishing With Rod's basic salmon gravlax recipe and tweaked it a bunch and added more dill but more importantly Akivit and a few other spices. It's beautiful with cucumber and of course a shot or two of akivit
  16. Chasin' Dreams

    Chasin' Dreams Well-Known Member

    I have done it a few different ways and this way is the way that I have found the most consistent for the same quality results every time. Nice texture, easy to slice, great flavor that's not too strong or weak. Simple recipe and easy to add other ingredients to the base to experiment with flavors.
    With Lox the key thing I find to be very careful of is the amount of smoke you use. Albacore Tuna will absorb and retain smoke flavor (and will intensify I find, over time you keep it refrigerated or frozen) very easily and it's very easy to over smoke Albacore where it over powers the great natural flavor of the Tuna. I have since reduced the amount of smoke I use greatly when doing my Tuna Lox.

    My Lox recipe I use for both Salmon and Albacore Tuna:
    Double the amount of sugar to pickling salt. Use half white sugar and half brown sugar.
    Mix the sugar/salt mix with fine chopped dill, anise/fennel, lemon grass, and tarragon then cover both sides of skinless, boneless fish.
    Marinade in dry ingredients vac packed for 16 to 24 hrs then rinse off dry brine. The fish will create a juice in the dry brine vac packed bags and it will re absorb some of these juices. If you marinade too short or too long of time you will find different results varying from not cured enough to overly salty, overly tough etc.. After fish has been marinated and rinsed off with cold water, pat dry then air dry under fans until pellicle has formed then into the cold smoker. If you like alcohol flavors you can add very little to your dry brine and as the juices form from the fish it will then mix/dilute/combine the flavors of your other ingredients in the vac pac marinade and then re absorb into the fish.

    ***Cold smoke should never going over 80F for min 12 hrs with Apple wood smoke. If the temp is too high it will start to cook and convert the fishes fat to creamy thick fat oils that will leave the fish. You will see it excreting from the fish and forming on the outside. This is the tell tale you have smoked the fish at a much too hot temperature***

    I experiment a lot with wet and dry brines for salmon, cod and tuna. Adding our home made maple syrup to recipe's can sweeten things up and combinations of herbs and spices can bring lot's of different flavors to wet brines or dry rubs.

    Nothing beats a home made Montreal style bagel with home made lox and cream cheese.









    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  17. dradons

    dradons Active Member

    That looks pretty much professionally done. Great job.
    Chasin' Dreams likes this.
  18. nicnat

    nicnat Active Member

    your finished product looks perfect.
    Chasin' Dreams likes this.
  19. getbent

    getbent Well-Known Member

  20. fishin solo

    fishin solo Well-Known Member

    The recipe I use I got from @Hookin'up been using it for a few years now and pretty happy with it.

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