Breaking down a fish, especially a tuna, can seem like a daunting task. If you have never done it before, you will want to ensure you properly do it in order to not waste any meat. With a tuna, there are many different cuts and sections to be aware of. Let’s go over every cut and the steps needed to break down the fish!
Remove head, collars, and Material Around Spine
You will want to begin by laying the tuna on its side and cut the hard material away from the fish. This includes the head and collars. At the fin, cut straight into the shoulder. Once you cut around the collar on the second side, cut through the spine. This will remove the head as well. Next, holding the fish from the dorsal fin, slice away the scale material along the back. You are now ready to start cutting away the various cuts of meat!
Loins and Lower Loins
With the fish on its back, cut down the lateral line to the bone and slice the loin from the rib bones. Keep the knife close to the ribs. After carefully removing the loins, turn the fish around and cut the rib bones that hold onto the lower loins and belly. Cut this end of the lower loins by using your knife just above the middle.
Names of Cuts
Each piece of meat has a special name when it comes to the cut and desired use. Akami is the lean meat from around the various sides of the fish. It is most often used for tuna rolls or sushi in restaurants. Toro is the name for the fatty parts and cuts of the tuna, usually located around the belly. Toro is also broken down into two different parts, and they are more expensive due to their low amount of fish.
The first type of toro is called chutoro. It is found along the side of the belly between the akami and the otoro. This is often the favorite because it has fat but not as much as otoro, which is the other toro. Otoro is the fattiest part of the tuna, found on the underside of a fish. Even though sushi can come from different types of tuna, like yellow tail or big eye, high-quality ortoro only comes from blue fin.
And there you have it, the various cuts of tuna and what they are used for. Tuna is easily one of the most popular fish to eat thanks to its amazing flavor, and although butchering one is no easy task.
For more great ideas on how to fish and hunt from the experts, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Hunting & Fishing Blog for more great tips & tricks.