Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi)
Fresh Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi) is a delicious fish which lends itself best to grilling or searing cooking applications. It is best served as sushi or cooked rare to medium-rare. Over-cooked tuna is "dog food"...tough and tasteless like eating cardboard.
Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi) Flavor Profile
Yellowfin Tuna has a medium-mild flavor with very firm texture. Compared to other Tunas it is less flavorful than Bigeye but more flavorful than Albacore. The flesh is deep red while raw, is often used for sashimi, and is best not cooked well-done as it looses flavor and becomes like cardboard. Tuna Grading is as follows: No. 1 "Sashimi-grade" is the best, being the freshest and having the highest fat content. No. 2 "Grill-grade" is next best. No. 3 and No. 4 are lesser quality.
|Sashimi Grade #1++
||Sashimi Grade #1+
||Sashimi Grade #1
|Sashimi Grade #2
photos by www.honolulufish.com
Typical Cooking Methods
Ahi (Hawaiian). Note: Bigeye Tuna is also sometimes called Ahi, but the term usually applies to Yellowfin.
Description (Thunnus albacares)
Yellowfin Tuna have a distinctive yellow dorsal fin and yellow strip along its sides. The second dorsal fin and the, as well as the finlets between those fins and the tail, are bright yellow, giving this fish its common name. The pectoral fins are also longer than the related bluefin tuna, but not as long as those of the albacore. The main body is very dark metallic blue, changing to silver on the belly, which has about 20 vertical lines. It can grow to 300 Lbs but average commercial size is 8-20 Lbs.
Image from Wikipidia-click for licensing
Storage & Handling Recommendations
Store fresh loins/steaks as close to 33° as possible to maintain highest quality and shelf life. Although ice can be used, the flesh should be tightly wrapped in plastic and placed in perforated pans. The flesh should never come in direct contact with ice or water as this will discolor the meat, leech the oil content, and decrease shelf-life. Tightly wrapping in plastic will also slow the natural oxidation of the meat color which fades from a bright color to a darker, more opaque color.
Typical Wholesale Products
Loins-Skin/On Bloodline-In (12 - 20 lb Avg.)
Fresh Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi) Availability
Fresh Yellowfin (Ahi) Tuna availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green indicate limited availability. Frozen available all year long.
Ahi (Yellowfin Tuna) Butchering Yield Percentage and Recovery
|Item||To Skin/On Untrimmed Loins||To Skin/Off B/L- Out Loin||To Skin/Off Steaks||To Sashimi||Notes|
|Whole Head/Off gutted||70%||55%||50%||35%||13% for Poke and 2-piece steaks. Taken from outside edge of the eye.|
|Skin/On Loins, Blood Line-In
||--||83%||72%||If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.|
|Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.|
How to Fillet Ahi Tuna
Here's a great video of how to break down an Ahi into loins. Notice how clean the carcass is after he finishes!
Range & Habitat
Yellowfin Tuna are found in warm waters all over the world. In US markets the best Yellowfin are harvested from southern California, Hawaii, Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico and Florida.
Yellowfin Tuna Sustainability Info
|Name||Alternate Names||Catch Method||Catch|
|Yellowfin Tuna, Thunnus albacares||Ahi, Canned White Tuna, Maguro
||Wild - Handline, Pole, Troll
||US Atlantic & Pacific, Gulf of Mexico||unknown|
|Worldwide except US Atlantic & Pacific||n/a||Moderate
|Wild - Longline||US Atlantic, Hawaii|
|Worldwide except US Atlantic & Pacific|
|Wild - FAD Purse Seine||Worldwide|
|Wild - Unassociated Purse Seine||Western Pacific|
|Atlantic, Eastern & Central Pacific, Indian Ocean|
|Disclaimer: The sustainability info above is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, each program randomly updates their information without our knowledge. We therefore recommend that you verify the current accuracy of this information.|
= Best Choice/Recommended = Good Alternative = Avoid/Not Recommended
Ahi Nutritional Information
based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving
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David Buchanan is a professional chef and author of Chefs-Resources.com, a site geared towards providing chefs and culinarians useful info to help in their kitchens.
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