Grilling fish can be extremely hard. Many questions come to mind. Do I need a basket? Do I need to oil the grill or the fish? How do I season the fish? Do I cook it on high, medium or indirect heat? How long do I cook it for? I had all of these questions. I know, the guy with the blog had no idea, why should I continue reading you ask? Well it is because I have done all of the work and after today’s post hopefully you will have the answers.
The best and easiest fish to start grilling is tuna. It is a dense fish that is not too fatty and has a light flavor. It tastes amazing with basic seasonings or works well with almost any seasoning. Tuna is also excellent rare or even medium. I am not one to eat tuna well done, but for some who like to cook fish and meat to death and beyond tuna works great.
- Tuna Steaks (roughly 1.5 inches thick)
- Salt – Preferably sea or kosher salt
- Pepper – Preferably freshly ground
Start your charcoal in a chimney or turn on your gas grill. Once your charcoal is ready add it to your grill and let the grill heat up. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to not let their grill grates get hot. Once the grates are hot (medium high heat) you are ready to cook.
A side note on grilling – My grill is well seasoned and I do not, emphasis on do not clean the grates with any cleaners or even water. A well seasoned grill grate is priceless. Cleaners will take away the precious seasoning that you have worked to get and will make your food stick. A simple brush to get off the burnt particles is all you need. The preheating of the grates will burn off anything else.
For tuna it is a relatively fatty fish. Not quite as fatty as salmon but still fatty enough to not require oil. If you have a seasoned grill grate you will be fine without adding any extra oils to the tuna steaks.
If you have just cleaned your grates – well you should be ashamed of yourself first and foremost. Second you will need to oil your grates or else the tuna and pretty much everything else will stick to your pretty grates. Use a vegetable or peanut oil as they have a higher smoke point and won’t burn and smoke. Oil oil tastes great but can’t handle the heat of grilling and will give your food a unique flavor that is not a good unique flavor.
Season your tuna steaks generously with salt and pepper, I prefer a basic seasoning as I like to taste the fish. If you use standard table salt remember to use less. Kosher and sea salt come across less salty on your palate than table salt. So if you watch the food network and you want to douse your food with salt like the TV chefs, remember they are using kosher and/or sea salt. Doing that with table salt will make you food unpalatable, gosh darn aweful if you ask me.
Now that your grill is preheated and your tuna is seasoned place it on the grill. Now this is the magic part. How long should I grill for? First make sure that your fire is at the right temperature. Check by placing your hand an inch from the grates. If you can hold your hand over the grates for 4-5 seconds you are at the perfect temp. Any less it is too hot and the times below will need adjusting and any more than 6 and you need to turn up the heat as this fish won’t grill properly.
- Rare – 3 1/2 minutes on each side
- Medium Rare - 4 minutes on each side
- Medium – 4 1/2 minutes on each side
- Medium Well – 5 minutes on each side
- Well – Well I don’t recommend this but if you wish to kill the tuna again cook it for 6 minutes or more on each side.
Remove the fish from the grill sprinkle with the juice of the lemon and serve immediately. If there is going to be a time period between grilling and serving take a 1/2 minute off each of the times above. Then cover the fish loosely with aluminum foil. Serve within 15 minutes for best results. Remember if you are going to cook and hold the fish don’t sprinkle the lemon juice till right before you serve the tuna steak.
Since the fish is so versatile you can serve it alone or as an accompliament to pretty much any dish. I like to grill up the fish with the salt and pepper and then serve it over a salad dressed with a standard vinaigrette.
Hopefully this post will help you out. If you have any questions, comment or email me them. Enjoy!