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Can I Use Canned Tuna to Make Tuna Patties on the Grill?

Ask the Chef

Question:

Is it possible to make tuna patties on the grill with canned tuna?

—RR

Answer:

Canned tuna isn’t the best choice for the grill. Since canned tuna is shredded, delicate and already cooked, it won’t hold together very well over the high heat of the grill.

Your best option for a tuna burger is to cut raw tuna steaks into small pieces – approximately one inch cubes – and then combine the meat with binding agents that can withstand the heat of the grill, such as Dijon mustard, honey, or pureed chipotles (or a combination of binding ingredients.) Depending on your flavor preferences, you’ll want to use a couple of tablespoons of the binders for each pound of tuna.

Season the meat with additional herbs and spices if desired, form into patties, and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour – this will help the patties hold together.

Preheat your grill to high heat while the patties rest. Before grilling, brush each patty with a little oil and carefully place on the grill. Grill each side for 2-3 minutes, until you’ve reached desired doneness.

You’ll need to be gentle when flipping the delicate patties – you can make things a little easier by grilling the burgers on a vegetable grill basket, though you won’t have the attractive grill mark lines on your burgers.

Canned tuna could also be handled like a crab cake and mixed with seasonings, mayo and celery, then breaded and ‘fried ‘ on the griddle (but not on an open dry grill). Again, the tuna will not hold together without a binding agent (egg is also a binder).

For other tips on canned tuna, try the FAQ offered by Chicken of the Sea.

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_Image courtesy of Topeasy