These lightly Smoked Tuna Steaks are downright delicious after soaking in a simple brine and served immediately or used in a dip.
🍽️ Why This Works
Simple | We love guiding you through using simple and delicious recipes for your grill and smoker. This is one of the Quick Smoker Recipes we love to share that take less than two hours.
Scalable | This depends on how many smoked tuna steaks you want to make. The brine is simple to increase and you can put quite a few tuna steaks in it at once.
Great for Entertaining | Don’t you love to serve smoked food when entertaining? If your guests are nervous about smoked fish and meat, why not provide a few options and see what they think.
Yellowfin Tuna | We used the 5oz fillets from Wild Fork. You can use the Ahi tuna as well.
Brown Sugar | This will add a little bit of sweetness to the brine.
Kosher Salt | This is the main ingredient of the brine along with the water.
Bay Leaf | This adds aromatic flavors to the brine.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Smoker | We trusted our Big Green Egg for this smoke to give us the tastiest fillets. You can smoke tuna steaks on a pellet grill like the Pit Boss, Traeger or Green Mountain or any other charcoal smoker you have.
Gallon Sized Bag | Use a bag that will hold the water and the steaks while allowing it to close up. We suggest to put it in a bowl so if anything happens in the refrigerator, it spills in the bowl and you have less of a mess to clean up.
Wood Smoking Chunks | We used apple wood for this smoked tuna recipe. Pecan, peach, orange or any light fruity woods work fabulous with these. If you haven’t been a rock star picking our your wood choices, sneak a peak at the wood pairing guide to help.
Step One: Combine the ingredients of the brine and mix it very well. The brown sugar and salt will dissolve.
Step Two: Place the tuna steaks in the brine and put in the refrigerator for about three hours.
Step Three: Remove the tuna from the brine and pat it dry to remove as much water as you can. You do not need to rinse the tuna but RINSE IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE TO SALT AT ALL.
Step One: Set the smoker to 225°.
Step Two: Add tuna steaks and smoke for 60-90 minutes or until the internal temperature is 135-140°. If it gets much higher than that, it will dry out.
Step Three: Remove and serve.
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
Always use a thermometer when testing the tuna to determine if it is fully cooked. There is a lot in play with this one with the thickness of the fillet and the fluctuations of the temperature of the smoker.
Rinse the tuna after brining it if you are sensitive to salt. If you question whether you are, just rinse it off and pat it dry. It is not a salty recipe, but I don’t want anyone to ruin a recipe and have to toss it because it was too salty.
🧑🍳 Storage and Reheating
Store the leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Note: You’ll see that some smoked fish can be kept for several weeks. Those are the varieties that come prepackaged from the store and DOES NOT apply to this type of recipe.
Reheat in the microwave for 30 second intervals until hot. Don’t overcook as it will dry out quickly.
Prep the brine early.
Take the tuna out of the freezer and let it defrost in the refrigerator ahead of time.
Additions and Substitutions
Change up the marinade and add soy sauce or apple cider vinegar.
Pineapple Salsa | Make a batch of this Caribbean salsa to go over the tuna steaks.
Avocado Corn Salsa | This tropical salsa is so yummy over almost all fish, so make a quick batch and enjoy every last bite.
Make Dips | We made this batch for the sole purpose of making a great batch of tuna dip. Pick up your favorite fish dip recipe ie: Smoked Salmon Dip or Smoked Trout Dip. If you want to make it extra smoky, whip up a quick batch of the Smoked Creamed Cheese first.
Generally I enjoy a nice cold 3 Daughters Brewery’s Florida Orange IPA or other lightly fruit infused beer when smoking fish. It’s light and not filling for the day ahead.
When serving up a spread for guests, choose foods that are not only great to look at but ones where you aren’t expecting any leftovers. When upping your game, no doubt serve the Smoked Deviled Eggs, Beer Corn Crack Dip, Smoked Baked Brie or Grilled Bacon on a Stick.
❓ Recipe FAQ
Just a couple days in the refrigerator or you can put them in a freezer safe bag for up to three months. We like to double wrap them to protect our food as much as possible.
All foods can stick to the grill if they are not oiled before putting food on the grate.
Use your wireless or instant probe thermometer to check for the temp to reach 135-140 degrees.
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- Gallon Bag for Brining
- ½ gallon Water
- ¼ cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ Kosher Salt
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 tbsp Peppercorns
- 20 oz Tuna Steaks 4 fillets
- Combine the ingredients of the brine and mix or stir very well. The brown sugar and salt will dissolve.
- Place the tuna steaks in the brine and put in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours.
- Remove the tuna from the brine and pat dry to remove as much water as you can. You do not need to rinse the tuna but I do suggest it for anyone that is sensitive to salt. Rinse if you have any questions at all.
- Set the smoker to 225-250°.
- Add tuna steaks and smoke for 60-90 minutes or until it is 135-140°. If it gets much higher than that, it will dry out.