Grilled tuna steaks cooked over high heat for a delicious browning. Topped with a beautiful honey lemon marinade, this grilled fish recipe is packed with flavor.
Grilled Ahi Tuna is a refreshing way to prepare fish in the summer. While some people are suspicious of seafood, tuna steaks come closest to traditional beef and chicken cuts. And if you cook them right, they’ll be infused with layers of incredible flavor.
Our Grilled Tuna Steak recipe is prepared with a lemon and honey marinade that gives the ahi tuna a deliciously sweet flavor that is then enhanced by the fire of the grill flames.
From buying the best tuna for grilling to preparing fish properly, here’s how to grill tuna steaks from scratch. Let’s get into that.
Also buy tuna for grilling
For a delicious medium-rare tuna steak with that perfect browning, you’ll likely pay attention to two factors: color and size.
Tuna varies in color from pale pink to deep red-pink, and the darker it is, the fresher it is. Avoid buying fish that has started to turn yellowish or too pale.
Something terrible also happens when it turns brown without drying out and falling apart. Thinner tuna steaks may be too delicate to grill, although this is mitigated if you use a griddle or countertop grill.
If you’re super fancy and go to a butcher for your tuna steaks, you can ask to see a whole tuna loin and choose the cuts you want from there. You can get frozen tuna that serves the same purpose, but you have to thaw it first.
Quick tip: Freezing meat usually causes ice crystals to form in the tissues, destroying some of the meat’s cellular structure. This affects the texture, taste and even the nutrients contained in the fish. If you get frozen tuna, do not refreeze it once it has been thawed. Plus, it doesn’t last more than six months in the freezer.
First dry the tuna. Then apply any oils or spices you plan to use before cooking it. If you’re using a marinade, you’ll need to put it in a covered bowl and let it sit. Tuna is a type of lean meat that is anatomically arranged to have uninterrupted strips of muscle, eliminating the need for boning or trimming.
Times and temperatures
This recipe is easy to prepare thanks to its very short cooking time. Tuna steaks are best grilled at the highest possible temperature, so you’ll need to set your grill to a high temperature of at least 260°C(500°F).
Steaks should be cooked to an internal temperature of 51°C(125°F). This should take about 5 minutes total, but be sure to turn the tuna steaks halfway through cooking so they brown on both sides. Also, use a meat thermometer to accurately measure the internal temperature.
What to eat with grilled tuna steak
Luckily, tuna doesn’t need to rest before slicing, so it’s ready to eat the moment you take it off the grill. If you still have the marinade from before, you can reheat it in cold water and use it as a dipping sauce.
For the sides, you want something that complements the fish. Roasted garlic potatoes, baked french fries, fried brown rice, and baked sweet potatoes all make good starchy side dishes. And if you want something healthier, vegetable skewers, stuffed mushrooms or vegetable stir-fries are also great.
Quick Tip: It ‘s important to note that unlike other types of fish, tuna goes best with red wine. If it’s also for a special occasion, go for something that’s more like a Pinot Noir than a white Zinfandel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about grilled tuna steak and their answers.
Can tuna be marinated for too long?
Acidic marinades can denature(or “cook”) fish. You shouldn’t leave it in the marinade for more than 30 minutes.
Should it be pink in the middle?
Ha. Overcooked tuna tends to be dry. Unlike something like chicken, which must be fully cooked through to avoid disease, tuna doesn’t pose the same risks when eating raw. In fact, many people visit like this.
How do you know when it’s ready?
You can easily see the transformation into a good quality tuna steak. The change from raw to cooked is spectacular, going from a deep pink color to something resembling a tan. The center should still be visible when viewed from the sides.
Is Grilled Tuna Steak Good For You?
Tuna steak is low in fat and high in protein, with plenty of other nutrients to go with it. Vitamins B6 and B12, vitamin D, niacin, phosphorus and selenium are present.