Some of the common knives used for preparing tuna are filleting or boning knives. However, Dalstrong is one of only a few North American culinary companies that create tuna swords too. Blade thickness and blade shape are two things you don’t want to compromise on when it comes down to buying the best tuna knife. Today, let’s chat about everything fish. Here’s your guide on how to fillet tuna perfectly from head to tail using the best tuna knife.
Did you know:
The world's largest fastest fish is the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, also known as the Powerful Bluefin Tuna? Many more cool facts ahead, let’s get cracking.
- What Is A Tuna Knife?
- What Makes A Good Tuna Knife?
- Why Is Stainless Steel A Great Material For A Tuna Knife?
- Why Use A Tuna Knife?
- How To Cut Tuna
- The Infamous Tsukiji Fish Market
- Best Tuna Knives For Slicing Tuna
- Some Quick Tuna Recipes
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Is A Tuna Knife?
A tuna knife is a specialized knife for filleting tuna and deboning it efficiently with its ultra-sharp and long blade length. A tuna knife helps etch precise cuts on your bluefin tuna and cleanly separates it from the bone. In appearance, they have an ergonomic and super grippy handle and a long blade. These knives are engineered carefully using the highest quality of stainless steel. The stainless steel make of a tuna knife makes it easier to repair in the future if it chips or is damaged.
2. What Makes A Good Tuna Knife?
If you’ve previously owned a Tuna Valley knife, or Colombia River knife (also known as a crkt knife) that was designed by Lucas Burnley, you know just how essential it is to have a fillet knife with a frame lock feature.
If you have used a utility or folding knife, you may notice that the folding knife slices and locks the tuna by its fin in a painless manner. Well, a lot of the credit for that goes to the thumb stud and pivot ring. A thumb stud helps open a folding knife with a quick movement of your thumb.
Strong sharp knives have a frame lock feature to lock fish or meat in one place and to pierce, slice, or cut them. The frame lock feature is an excellent trait of a fillet knife. Not only will it create a sturdy grip, but it will also protect your fillet knife from taking on too much weight of the meat or of a large fish.
Here are some attributes that you should look out for in a tuna knife and never compromise on:
Stainless Steel is one of the best materials out there that makes a perfect tuna knife. Besides, you can never go wrong with steel that is rust and corrosion resistant. It’s all about durability.
Blades that are thin and flexible are simply perfect for a tuna knife. In a tuna knife, blades will be made with a thin layer of carbon to support a seamless process of filleting tuna.
Believe me, a cheap blade or a standard kitchen knife or bread knife won’t make the cut for slicing tuna. You want a blade with an overall length of more than 8” inches. And a blade that is even longer than 9.5” inches if you want to fillet and cut bluefin slices.
Your blade should allow you to glide against the tuna or any fish that you’re filleting.
A strong and firm grip is crucial. So, choose a tuna knife with a handle that sits comfortably in the palm of your hand.
3. Why Is Stainless Steel A Great Material For A Tuna Knife?
Stainless steel is an excellent choice of material for tuna knives as it has a great amount of chromium present in it which makes the knife resistant to corrosion and rust, boosting its durability ten folds. A tuna knife or a tuna sword has a long blade making sturdiness a priority, and stainless steel provides excellent edge retention for uniform slices from a large fish.
The blade on a tuna knife needs to be strong enough to pierce and slice through large fish like the powerful blue fin tuna. A strong blade adds the qualities of a boning knife to a well-designed tuna knife, just like the ones from our Ronin series. The Nickel present in stainless steel knives helps toughen the blade for a large carcass as well. So, your tuna knife is not going to limit you to just fish.
Stainless steel also has greatest resistance to high temperatures, which is one of the most common reasons around it being found on most kitchen arsenals. It boosts and increases wear resistance – Providing a safe slicing, boning, or chopping experience. In fact, unlike most materials, stainless steel blades toughen over time, instead of becoming dull.
This is an excellent quality that is not found in knives that aren’t made with stainless steel. Since tuna knives have blades with longer lengths than most knives, it takes an additional amount of time sharpening them. So, a stainless steel tuna knife would save you time that you would spend with a whetstone or a honing rod while offering sustainability, durability, and resilience.
4. Why Use A Tuna Knife?
A tuna knife, especially one that is made with high-quality steel, is used to break down massive cuts of meat or fish, particularly tuna. Tuna knives, also known as tuna swords, are perfect for slicing and carving briskets or other meats that aren’t quite tender. It’ll still get the job done.
You must be wondering why you would still require a professional tuna knife, when you could be using a slicing or carving knife –Well, here’s the challenge. While slicing and carving knives might seem like large knives in your kitchen arsenal, they are much shorter than tuna knives or tuna swords. The blade on a slicing or carving knife would also pierce the delicate skin of a tuna fish as it has large amounts of chromium in it.
The handle on a slicing and carving knife does not let you maneuver through the fish efficiently. You’re looking for precise cuts. A slicing or carving knife slices past the angle you’re aiming for and doesn’t help in achieving uniform slices of tuna.
Did you know that tuna is often called the deep-sea carnivore? That explains the necessity of owning a tuna knife and we are not complaining.
5. How To Cut Tuna
It is only natural to have a lot of momentum when you’re shipping, but once you’ve successfully used a taut line to grab your tuna it is crucial to preserve and fillet your tuna to keep it moist and healthy – and of course, reward your patience.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cut tuna:
- Use a tuna knife with high quality steel to remove the scales. This process is slow, so don't rush it. If you do, you will damage, dent, or pierce the texture of the fish.
- Carefully cut open the fish along its gills.
- Use the gill as a map, and make a cut along the stomach, just below the gills, onto the belly of the fish.
- Now, use a boning knife to remove the bones on the spine of the fish.
- Use your hands to remove the internal organs of the fish.
- Now, wash the stomach of the fish with cold water to remove the blood vessels.
- Feel the bone on the head of the fish with the help of your hands and make a cut.
- Follow that cut to slice open the head to separate it from the rest of the body.
- Now, use a tuna knife to cut the fish into steaks. An average-sized tuna would give you about 6-8 steaks.
- Clean the steaks with cold water and use your fingers to remove any stuck-on blood.
That is all! Your tuna fish is ready to be cooked. We’re bringing Cape Cod home, right, folks?
Tip: Remember to preserve your tuna fish on a bed of ice in the icebox or the freezer prior to filleting it, as this would help keep the belly firm and help you achieve uniform and even cuts on the steaks.
6. The Infamous Tsukiji Fish Market
When we speak of knives, especially filleting or boning knives, we instantly think of Japanese knives that stem from tremendous swordsmithery. It only makes sense since tuna is used as sides or in sushi when it comes to Japanese cuisine.
Let’s talk about two incredible Japanese knives today that can be found in the Tsukiji fish market.
Master Kuo Knife
Master Kuo is a Japanese knife that has been popular for decades on end. It is used by local fishers and chefs in professional kitchens, too. It is the perfect knife to cut open the gill of the fish when you’re shipping for some tuna.
It is made with high quality Japanese stainless steel for rust and corrosion-resistance while offering sturdiness and durability. These knives have a thick spine on the blade and a full tang to cut open a large tuna fish when shipping.
7. Best Tuna Knives For Slicing Tuna
Dalstrong is known for having premium quality knives and that hasn’t changed one bit with their tuna knives and tuna slicers. Here are three bad boys that are culinary game changers.
The Ronin series is one for the books! Coming through with a 17” inch tuna sword that is not only elegant, but an absolute showstopper, too. It captures attention from a stunning steak of tuna thanks to its captivating design.
Whether or not you know how to maneuver a Japanese knife, this tuna slicer is perfect for home cooks and professional chefs. This knife has is made with precision-forged ultra-premium Japanese high-carbon steel that boosts the blade’s sturdiness and allows you to glide through the fish.Pros:
- Quick shipping and a Dalstrong special, hand-crafted sheath for your tuna knife.
- This tuna knife is made with AUS-10V Japanese steel to last a lifetime.
- Hardened at a stunning 62+ Rockwell for maximum robustness.
- If you’re just stepping foot in the kitchen, buying a tuna slicer this big may intimidate you.
- This knife has a higher price tag which may not work for some folks.
Function meets form with this 17” inch tuna slicer that is one of Dalstrong’s best-selling products for all the right reasons. With added cobalt to boost the hardness of its blade, this knife has the perfect balance between a tuna slicer and a tuna sword.
Made with 34 insane layers of high-carbon stainless steel, this tuna slicer is hardened at a tremendous 61+ on the Rockwell scale of hardness, making it perfect for large catches of fish. The handle is crafted with premium quality resin to fit perfectly well in your hand without causing much fatigue as your knife glides back and forth.Pros:
- Ultra-premium G10 Garolite handle.
- Stainless steel rivet for added resilience.
- Comes with a Dalstrong-special sheath to protect your knife.
- This knife could be overkill if you’re not quite well-versed with filleting yet. But, keep an eye out for our chef blogs, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a Dalstrong Pro.
- If you’re a home cook, the length of this blade may be slightly intimidating. I suggest looking at our fillet knives with shorter blade lengths.
This tuna slicing knife is 17” inches long and is launching soon on our website! I own a knife from the Shadow Black Series and can vouch for the titanium-nitride coating. It does its job of protecting the blade from rust and corrosion while having a captivating design at the same time. Made with high-carbon super-steel and a nonstick coating, this knife helps you fillet tuna and other fish without much arm work, which ultimately means no arm fatigue. \
The handle on this knife has been crafted carefully to fit comfortably in your palm and glides through the tuna without much effort. Not only is it corrosion resistant, but it has a full tang blade for maximum robustness. It had added chromium to keep the super steel free of stains and scratches. Pair this purchase with a cutting board and an apron, and you’re all set to fillet tuna.Pros:
- Tall blade height with incredible knuckle clearance.
- Hand-polished and finished with a satin blade for smooth filleting and cutting.
- The handle is ergonomic and has a super grippy feel.
- The titanium-nitride and non-reflective coating can make it slightly difficult to sharpen this knife. But fret not, it’s doable!
- The blade length could be intimidating if you’re a novice in the kitchen.
8. Some Quick Tuna Recipes
Tuna Pasta Recipe
- Fresh or canned tuna
- Pasta of your choice
- Frozen or fresh peas
- Green Onion
- Red Onion
- Vinegar (optional)
- Parsley or dil
- Salt and pepper
- Cheese of your choice (Feta cheese works best)
- Seasoning of your choice
- In a stockpot, boil some pasta on medium heat.
- Once your pasta is cooked, drain the water, and let your pasta cool down to room temperature. (Remember: this dish is best served cold).
- In a separate bowl, heat up frozen peas in water or with the pasta.
- In a bowl, mix mayonnaise with green onion, red onion, vinegar, and tuna.
- Mix these ingredients together and add seasonings of your choice.
- Once mixed, place this mixture in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
- Do the same with the cooled-down pasta.
- After 45 minutes, in a large bowl, layer your pasta and add a generous serving of tuna mixture.
- Then, add another layer of pasta, and continue the process like you would when making lasagna.
- Garnish with cheese, parsley or dill and serve cold.
Mediterranean Tuna Salad Recipe
- Fresh or canned tuna
- Yellow onion or shallot
- Bell pepper of your choice
- Cold cucumbers
- Capers (optional)
- Vinegar (optional)
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Dijon Mustard
- Cheese of your choice (Feta works best in this recipe)
- Leafy greens of your choice
- If you’re using canned tuna, drain the water out.
- Chop up bell pepper, capers, yellow onion or shallot in a diced style.
- In a bowl, mix these vegetables up together when chopped.
- Then, add some lemon zest or lemon juice to it to cut the creaminess that will come from the mustard and cheese
- Mix lettuce, kale or spinach together and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 3 tablespoons of mustard. That is all!
9. Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of knife do you use for tuna?
A tuna knife or a tuna sword is a specialized knife that is made to fillet tuna. It helps break down a large fish and plate uniform bluefin slices. A tuna knife is made with the highest quality of stainless-steel for sturdiness, resilience and durability.
What is a tuna sword?
A tuna sword is another word for tuna knives. The word sword is attached to it to highlight the long blade lengths to break down a large fish like the world's largest fastest fish, such as an Atlantic bluefin tuna.
What are yakuza knives called?
A Yakuza knife is also known as the Maguro Bocho. This is thanks to its 12 inches” long blade to break down a large Atlantic bluefin tuna. This knife was created in Japan to fillet tuna easily.
What is Deba knife?
A Deba Bocho knife is a pointed carving knife with a closed length to cut fish like tuna and other meats. They come in various sizes and have blades that are as long as 12” inches.