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Butchering a Tuna


jerseyphil
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Hello all. This is my first post after many months of lurking at your fine site.

(My favorite thread by far was the dismantling of the Italian Specialty Food purveor, by the way.)

My question is this: Some friends and I have chartering an overnight tuna fishing boat out of Cape May, New Jersey in July. Being the adventurous type, we ae planning on butchering what we catch, which hopefully will be at least 6 fish in the 100-200 lb. range. I would appreciate any information or insight regarding the following:

Book or web resources

What knife to use for the job

Personal experiences.

Thanks!

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Make sure that your contract with the charter specifies that the catch is yours.

And..... Welcome.

-- Jeff

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." -- Groucho Marx

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Sounds fun!

Won't the guide or captain be there to supervise the carving?

On any of the charters I’ve been on they do. Though I applaud Phils’ wanting to get a head start.

Living hard will take its toll...
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I'm not sure if you plan on filleting them on the boat or when you get back, but I think their is a law about not being able to take whole fish off a charter boat, although I don't know the reason for it. Even though the mates get tipped for it, I can't see them having a problem with you doing it yourself, especially if you bring your own knife. I hope you have better luck than we did...20 hour trip, 60 guys, and the entire boat caught 3 tuna. :sad:

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Eat some toro ASAP.

Possibly, little else will matter.

Steingarten wrote about tuna fishing in one of his books. The fisherman on the boat with him didn't want the toro :sad: because it was too fatty so he took it all.

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First... Be sure you are entitled to the catch. I don't know about on the east coast but a lot of charters I have been on, the boat kept the catch. You might be able to deal for some fish to take back if it is a good day.

Years ago, I had a friend that had a big sportfisherman. We used to run out on overnight trips for billfish. (Gulf of Mexico) One time we caught a 600 pound tuna... immediately named Charlie. Luckily we all knew how to cut up fish but on that one, all we could do is cut it into very big chunks and get it on ice. The fish had fought for a long time, as you might imagine. The key thing is to get tuna on ice IMMEDIATELY! Tuna, unlike most other fish, actually heat up with exertion... almost like a warm blooded animal... and will go off fast. Luckily, our game laws at the time allowed us to cut it up so we could get it on ice and thoroughly chilled right away.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Eat as much of it as fast as you can, because Frozen tuna of any kind is almost as good as the canned. It's so tender and volatile that you can only take so much. Get people to buy potential shares of the fish before you go out, or at least have people lined up to take it off your hands fresh, because it'd be a waste to have to freeze it.

Make em give you 20 bucks apiece. It'll pay for your experience if you have enough friends willing to go in on it.

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Thank you all for the ideas. Our contract states that we own all that we catch (subject to catch limits), but that the captain and crew will not butcher the fish. Hopefully we'll land the 300 pound yellowfin I've been dreaming about....

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Stun the fish and bleed it for atleast 15 minutes to improve the quality of the meat and to lower the temperature then chill it in a slush bath (two parts ice to one part seawater). This will give you a 'sashimi like' quality. Email me and I will forward a full manual on bleeding, killing and storing Sashimi grade tuna.

Chef/Owner/Teacher

Website: Chef Fowke dot com

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How to butcher a tuna:

Debone tuna

Place into a food mill raw to remove sinews.

Open up a can of "new world of tuna."

Edited by inventolux (log)

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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Thank you all for the ideas.  Our contract states that we own all that we catch (subject to catch limits), but that the captain and crew will not butcher the fish.  Hopefully we'll land the 300 pound yellowfin I've been dreaming about....

Did you get good information on what to do when you land your tuna?

I have never heard of beginners killing and filleting their own tuna without an expert present to give assistance, so your request for info actually looked a bit alarming. It's a bit like someone asking the pastry guys how to serve 200 intricately decorated petit fours having never cooked a cake in his life.

My family members are nearly all seafood catchers and exporters in Australia. Blue fin tuna is one of the fish. It takes a lot of skill to get sashimi quality tuna. The guys land the fish on foam rubber so that there is no bruising. They use the iki jime method of killing the tuna so that the fish is not stressed and the flesh is therefore superb quality. This is a spike which goes into the brain within seconds of it being landed. It has to then bleed for quite a while so that you don't get a single bit of black flesh.

Maybe this will help regarding freshness: we always wait 24 hours to eat the tuna. We don't know why, but it just tastes better. Don't do something which one of my silly brothers did - 2 seconds after killing the tuna he quickly filleted a bit off and stuffed his mouth thinking that it would be the best fresh tuna in the world. He then leapt about the boat like a raving nincompoop - the flesh was full of adrenalin. :blink:

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Don't do something which one of my silly brothers did - 2 seconds after killing the tuna he quickly filleted a bit off and stuffed his mouth thinking that it would be the best fresh tuna in the world.  He then leapt about the boat like a raving nincompoop - the flesh was full of adrenalin.    :blink:

Really? Wow. I can just imagine Olympic athletes coming up with elaborate ways to smuggle in live tuna so they can get a little "jolt" before a race...

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How to butcher a  tuna:

Debone tuna

Place into a food mill raw to remove sinews.

Open up a can of "new world of tuna."

I think this guy is onto something.

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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My family members are nearly all seafood catchers and  exporters in Australia.    Blue fin tuna is one of the fish.  It takes a lot of skill to get  sashimi quality tuna.  The guys land the fish on foam rubber so that there is no bruising.    They use the iki jime  method of killing the tuna so that the fish is not stressed and the flesh is therefore superb quality.    This is a spike which goes into the brain within seconds of it being landed.  It has to then bleed for quite a while so that you don't get a single bit of black flesh. 

Maybe this will help regarding freshness: we always wait 24 hours to eat the tuna.  We don't know why, but it just tastes better.      Don't do something which one of my silly brothers did - 2 seconds after killing the tuna he quickly filleted a bit off and stuffed his mouth thinking that it would be the best fresh tuna in the world.  He then leapt about the boat like a raving nincompoop - the flesh was full of adrenalin.    :blink:

jango, fascinating. Great post.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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My family members are nearly all seafood catchers and  exporters in Australia.    Blue fin tuna is one of the fish. It takes a lot of skill to get  sashimi quality tuna.  The guys land the fish on foam rubber so that there is no bruising.    They use the iki jime  method of killing the tuna so that the fish is not stressed and the flesh is therefore superb quality.  This is a spike which goes into the brain within seconds of it being landed. It has to then bleed for quite a while so that you don't get a single bit of black flesh.

Maybe this will help regarding freshness: we always wait 24 hours to eat the tuna.  We don't know why, but it just tastes better.      Don't do something which one of my silly brothers did - 2 seconds after killing the tuna he quickly filleted a bit off and stuffed his mouth thinking that it would be the best fresh tuna in the world. He then leapt about the boat like a raving nincompoop - the flesh was full of adrenalin.    :blink:

jango, fascinating. Great post.

I think these guys are onto something.

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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Don't do something which one of my silly brothers did - 2 seconds after killing the tuna he quickly filleted a bit off and stuffed his mouth thinking that it would be the best fresh tuna in the world. He then leapt about the boat like a raving nincompoop - the flesh was full of adrenalin.    :blink:

Really? Wow. I can just imagine Olympic athletes coming up with elaborate ways to smuggle in live tuna so they can get a little "jolt" before a race...

Actually it was the overwhelming bitterness which sent him leaping about. But, the overall effect was the same. :biggrin:

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