Simple Steps to Clean and Fillet a Fresh Tuna Like a Pro

Sometimes filleting a fish is a difficult task for us specially when we have never done it before, we all know that tuna fish is very tasty and no one wants to waste their meat especially when he/she is filleting it for the first time. In this article we have provided the complete information regarding the filleting of tuna fish in three sections: quartering the tuna, removing the quarter and storing the fish which will deeply explain how to fillet a tuna.

Quarter the Tuna

Place a Big Cutting Board and Clean Paper on your Workstation: First of all place some pieces of clean paper before putting cutting board on the shelve or your workstation and also lay down some extra paper around the cutting board to for easy cleaning, and if you don’t have clean paper or newspaper then you can also use butcher paper and don’t forget to wash to workstation once you done your work.

Put down Fish on the Cutting Board Horizontally and their Belly Facing you: Give direction to the fish in such a way that dorsal fins are moved away from you and provide enough space between yourself and fish so that you can easily move the knife and reach the whole body of tuna without any difficulty. Always work in a broad area that enables you to move the fish around when you require.

Cut Diagonally from Behind of Chest to Head: Grasp a breast fin in one hand which lays along the edge of the fish and make downward diagonal cut from the back of fin toward the top of fish with your dominant hand and once you touch to spicyla stop the cutting but if you have headless tuna then no need of initial cuts.

Put the Knife into the Belly of Tuna and Make Cut from Head to Tail: Insert your knife deep enough which feels resistant from ribs and make a horizontal precise cut for separating the right side of tuna from left side, this cut will be parallel to the cutting board. During this process make sure that you never hurt your hand.

Move the Fish Over and Cut with the Top Fins Horizontally: The size of the tuna decides how deep the cut will be, so push the knife until you do not feel resistance from the spicula and then make the cut with the bone. Now set the tuna fish in this manner so that dorsal fins are close to your body and their belly is away from you. Cut it from head to toe. It is important to use a sharp and durable fillet knife which allows easy and fast filleting and try to avoid a sawing motion with your fillet knife because it can tear your fish meat.

Make a Extensive Cut on the Both Sides of Tail of Fish: Cut the tail of tuna deeply until your knife does not hit the bone and repeat the same process on the other side of the fish and you can also maintain the tail without having cuts on it but these cuts will help you to guide for future cuts. You can also cut the tail completely but you should leave it because it provides us extra thing to hold a fish while cutting and flipping.

Slicing on the Background of Tuna Both Side from Head to Tail: Tuna fish size decides how deep the cut will be and it is usually several inches before the knife touches the bones. Insert your knife behind the chest fan and cut slowly down the main lateral line which separates the tuna’s sides in half, Moving on to the cut you made in front of the tail. Make sure to cut the fish in four separate equal quarters, 2 from the belly and 2 from the head.

Removing the Tuna Fillets

Cut off the Lower Quarter of the Tuna Fish: Put the fillet knife into the tuna cut that we have already made with the bottom spicula unless our did not touch the fish ribs and after that cut it from head to toe and then separate the meat of tuna from the rest of their body. Here you will also need to cut it from the middle of the fish to fully separate the quarter from the tuna that depends on the size of the fish.

Separate the Top Buttocks from the Tuna Fish by Cutting with their Upper Line: Now grab your fillet knife and make a deep slice into the cuts which we made previously along the top fins, and remove the upper quarter of tuna meat from the body. During the cutting if you feel that your knife is hitting the spicula or ribs of tuna and it means you are cutting too far down seemingly and you need to re-up your fillet knife.

Re-do the Same Process on the Other Side of Tuna Fish: When you separate the two quarter pieces from the fish then turn it to the opposite side and remove the top and bottom from the opposite direction. Once you do this, you will get a 4 quarter of tuna and one fish skeleton  that consists of head, spine and tail (toe). 

Finishing and Storing the Tuna

Discard the Fish Deadbody or Set it Aside to Use as Fish Bait: You can cut a lump off of the tuna fish to use it as a fish jig and make sure that you use it within one to two days. Otherwise dispose of the dead body in the trash basket as soon as possible. If you are in the boat, you should keep the bucket for putting the fish carcass in and discard it when you sink again and dont put it back into the water because it may attract birds and other natural worlds. 

Separate the Belly Fats and Blood Line from the Tuna Fish: Use the fillet knife to chop the muddy and fatty areas from two belly quarters, also chop the bloodlines that are very dark, red and contain muscular lines that go with the height of fish. Apply the curve around these areas with your fillet knife to remove them from the rest of the fish meat. We would like to tell here that bloodlines of tuna are very strong in flavour which cause it to change the taste of it in an unpleasant way so it’s good to remove it, if you don’t want to remove it while filleting a fish then you should remove it before cooking it. Once you remove it from the fish, dispose of both.

Fillet the Skin by Slicing Softly Between the Meat and Skin: Place your quarter fish on the cutting board, side up the skin and make a little cut into the flesh beneath the skin. Be careful while slicing off the skin, like how you peel a potato. Make sure you properly use precaution to save your hands from being cut. You can also skin the upper 2 quarter part of the fish by directly pulling it off with your hand, you have to just hold a corner of skin and pull it in reverse order but remember this way is not acceptable for the bottom belly quarter because the meat is more flimsy and tears easily. 

Wash the Quarters with Cold Water: While filleting a tuna the meat gets visible dirt, chipped bones and scales so it is necessary to rinse them before packaging the tuna fish and when you get free from cutting it and you don’t have any fresh water  you can wash them before cooking them. Make sure that you have cleaned both sides of the quarter well. 

Close Your Tuna Quarters in Wrap Paper and Store Them in Cold Container: Now wrap your pieces in a butcher or wrap paper and bind them off with tape and place them in a fridge with cool temperature if you are in your home but if you are at some camping or come out for fishing then place them in a cooler. If you are thinking that your pieces are too big then you can cut them into half or quarter pieces before storing them in a cold place. Furthermore, you can wrap them in plastic paper or put them in releasable bag if you don’t have butcher paper.

Wash your Workstation with Soap and Hot Water for Disinfectant it: Once you have done your tuna filleting, use detergent or disinfectant spray for your workstation and sponge it down thoroughly with hot water and if you are using a cutting board then clean down all the sides and lower of it also. If any fish liquid  gets stuck on your counter then use any soap, toothbrush or hot water to clean these dirty areas.

Use Fresh Tuna Within 2 Days or Freeze it for 3 Months: When you complete fillet the tuna, place it in the freezer as soon as possible and if you are camping or fishing then go out with an ice-box with ice cubes to store your tuna fish. Last thing, don’t forget to label your fish with date it was filleting which will remind you how long it can survive to eat.

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