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Cooking Blackfin

17999 Views 25 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  hatidua
I have seen several references on various boards to the fact that yellowfin tuna is good eating (and I have seen it in the grocery for $20.00 a pound.) However, the only references I have seen to Blackfin have to do with cutting them up for chunking.

Is blackfin good to eat? I have several friends who say they eat them.

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neither my wife nor I can detect any difference in BFT and YFT when cooked - the main difference is the size of the cuts as far as we can tell. you have to cut out all the dark red meat.

my fishing buddy swears that he smells ammonia on his blackfin so he always gives me his. he is not compulsive about keeping fish on ice when traveling and I always attributed his problem to his nonchalance.

i have eaten vacuum packed BFT over a year old with no problems - even then it's waaaay better than canned.

can't wait to hear from DSG - he is THE tuna gourmet!
I do not think that you can tell the difference between black fin and yellow fin tuna in a blind, taste test when it is fresh.
Not everybody cuts a blackfin up to chum/chunk with. I have seen some Florida boys really surprised when it was suggested that the black fin be cut for bait. LOL
Good eats is the result of proper handling and preparation. Take a look at how sashimi grade tuna is handled for the Japanese market.

If you want to take trip pics in warm weather, ensure that there is ice available to maintain cold until time to filet the tuna.
I want my tunas cut into loin sections that are big enough to feed my family. Leave the skin on; just be sure that ALL the bones are cut out. Do not worry about the dark red meat. It is just fine attached. DO NOT RINSE THE TUNA OFF WITH FRESH WATER. I don't want mushy tuna. I put a layer of ice under the bags of fish and then cap the ice chest with ice. I travel with the plug out. I don't want water getting into the bags of fish. At home, I vacuum package the loin sections and then put that into the cleaned out zippered freezer bag that I brought the fish home in. (my freezer items can see some abuse from time to time. I do not want freezer burned fish.) I thaw my tuna in the refrigerator. I trim the dark meat out. Fillet the skin off and remove enough of the outside layers so that I have as fresh as possible tuna. I then cut my steaks out for cooking (or sashimi).
You can test my methods for yourself. Take half a blackfin loin and treat it like I suggest. Take the other half... fillet it out all the way, remove the skin and dark meat and then rinse it off with a fresh water hose. Bag both separately and transport home. Cook half of each sample upon return home. Compare... Label and then freeze the other halves. Cook and eat both remaining samples for the same meal. Use a yellow fin loin as your benchmark. Treat and test it the same way.
Black fin is fine tablefare. Like any meat, it must have proper care. It ain't roadkill and no matter what you do, do not ride it around on the hood of your truck to show it off. LOL
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Uncle Russ,
Do exactly as Deep Sea Gull says. It hit it right on all notes. The main thing is keep it cold, and never, never, never put water on the tuna while processing.

I can tell the difference between BF and YF. First off, BF is a darker red than YF. I think BF has a stronger taste to it. It's still great table fare, but I personally would take a YF over a BF anyday. Next time you go to Central Market in Austin, ask them about BF tuna. They might shed some light as to why they only sell YF. I'm grilling some YF Sunday night. I'm also dropping off a 5 pound loin roast to a smoke house in the morning. It will be ready about 5PM. I make tuna salad out of the smoked tuna.
Add proper bleeding of the fish when caught to what Tony said and BF is as good as YF.
Thanks, all for the excellent information, especially DSG for taking the time for that level of detail. I am assured by my afore-mentioned worthless buddies that whereas I probably will never catch an actual yellowfin, that even I might catch a few blackfin.

MrBill: All I can say about how good that smoked tuna must taste, is "Whooa." Actually, Central Market is where I saw the YFT for $20.00 a pound. I showed it to my wife and assured her that on a particulary successful trip, I might bring back oh, say a couple of grand worth of tuna. :)

One thing I will never be able to do (no doubt to my detriment) is eat any fish Japanese style. I'm like my old rancher grandma who wouldn't touch a rare steak. She'd say, "Boy, I don't want that meat mooing at me." So give me my fish well-done, and never appoint me as ambassador to Tokyo. I'd screw it up at the first state dinner!

Thanks again,

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Uncle Russ,
The sashimi type fish care will ensure that the tuna is the very best quality one can get. Cook it as you desire. Take care that you do not over cook tuna. It becomes dry and tougher as you overcook it. Check it often... when it flakes apart it is DONE.
DSG: Understood on the overcooking. Speaking of recipes, just to throw in here, I had never eaten swordfish in my life until a recent trip to upper New York State. Our hostess grilled swordfish over coals. The cuts were very thick (at least an inch and a half,) and were marinated solely in mayonnaise, of all things. It was incredible. I wonder if the same would go for tuna. I've been meaning to try it.

when it flakes apart it is DONE.
When it flakes, it's overdone:)
If you want to cook anything completely, you need to remove it before it is finished and allow the thermal load to finish the process.
This is called "carryover cooking", and if used to your advantage, you will have an amazingly juicy product.
By allowing the product to finish cooking off the heat, capillary action will draw the moisture into the product. As the product cools off the inside ends up warmer than the outside. liquids flow towards heat, like sweating a pipe in plumbing.
It's easy to tell difference between YFT and BFT. YF flesh is thad lighter ad milder to taste, of course you have to still have to have 100% vision and taste buds working. All that said, both tunas are delicious - not an opinion, but fact. Also, lbs for lbs, blackfins are strongest tuna on the planet. Not an opinion but FACT.
What RAM, DSG and Canyon Diver said. Whatever the flavor diff betw YF and BkF tuna, if any, it is slight. I think most probs relate to poor preservation, handling. Fish that taste or even smell like "fish" have already begun to spoil. Because they thaw/heat more rapidly. smaller fish spoil first + most.

Canyon Diver: "Thermal load" yet. Nice term and explanation; that's waaay uptown. Sounds like chef school stuff. But, cooked meat tastes better after it has been allowed a few minutes off the grill (out of the skillet) for the heat energy to even out one way and the juices to redistribute the other. During that time, the meat continues to cook. I agree, if you cook tuna until it's ready, you are serving it overdone.

Snatched (f/k/a Snagged): The blood thing is an interesting puzzle. All the authorities say to bleed tuna; however, I've cooked and eaten the blood; and, it's mild flavored, like the meat. Go figure.

UR--Take heart; this is just the warmup season for tuna. The size and numbers come in October, November. You're just tuning up for the season.
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I cannot believe what I read..... Using BlackFT for chum!!! No way... I eat it raw, slightly seared, or in a tuna salad. If you go to an affordable sushi bar in any tropical area... your " Maguro" is BlackFT. As DSG mentioned...proper care is key. Once my brined cooler is full... I either go home or release the rest. No sense in keeping it if its not chilled immediately.
blackfin makes great sashimi. most people won't ever know the difference when grilled either.

as far as bleeding, i bleed almost all fish i plan on eating, especially tuna. grouper and snapper i dont really bother since their meat is so white and they don't have the big blood line.
How many here will admit to eating bonita sashimi????
How many here will admit to eating bonita sashimi????
sure; that and mackerel and flying fish, etc. It can be good stuff. That's part of the skill of a sashimi chef--little is wasted.

But years ago I gave up catching BkfT except to take to friends at their request and for bait. Tho they are less frequently encountered in the GOM, the same holds for skipjack tuna. Yeah, you can eat those, too.
i dont know enough good sushi chefs in the houston area that id trust with false albacore and skipjacks. ill stick to blackfin/yellowfin ;)
Sashimi is best on the boat....

Spanish macs are great! I have not had an excess of flying fish to eat. They were used as bait.
How many here will admit to eating bonita sashimi????
I will, if bled out right and handled properly, it is as good as any sashimi.
I would love to see someone treat Uncle Russ to some Hardhead sashimi.:D
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