Fish jerky is supposed to be sweet....salty....savory...., but spicy?! Hell yeah it can be spicy! This Lemon Fire Tuna Jerky packs some surprisingly tongue numbing flavor. Let's break down those fish jerky barriers and create something exciting!
Slicing the Tuna
Start with a nice 8oz yellowfin tuna steak from the local grocery store. If you just so happen to have caught your own tuna lately, GREAT! I'm jealous....
Slice the steak into ¼" thick slices, the length will be determined by how large the tuna steak is. Be gentle when slicing the meat, it falls apart easy, so be delicate when handling the tuna.
The grain of the tuna steak normally goes in different directions, but try to slice with the grain (in the same direction of the white lines that run within the steak) Slicing with the grain helps keep the tuna together when marinating and drying.
Place the tuna slices in a ziplock bag while we prepare the marinade.
Marinating The Tuna
This marinade is simple without a ton of ingredients, making it easy to put together. I used Texas Pete hot sauce, but any hot sauce can be used in it's place.
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Then add the marinade to the ziplock bag of tuna slices and mix them well. Be gentle when mixing the strips in the marinade.
Place in the refrigerator and allow 6-24 hours for the strips to marinate. The longer they marinate the more flavor they will have!
Once they have finished marinating, remove from the fridge and strain any excess marinade by using a colander.
Remove even more excess marinade by laying the strips on paper towels and patting them dry. This will speed up the drying process and prevent the strips from having a sticky texture.
Drying The Tuna Jerky
A Nesco Snackmaster Pro dehydrator was used when making this fish jerky recipe. This is a great unit that is relatively inexpensive when it comes to dehydrators.
Place the strips on the dehydrator trays so they are NOT touching. Leave room around the strips for air to flow, don't over load the trays.
Dry the jerky at 130F for 3-6 hours. The drying time will be dependent on the thickness of the slices and how long the strips were marinated. It took 3 ½ hours for this batch to be finished, you can expect yours to take about this long as well.
Testing and Storing The Jerky
At the 2 ½ hour mark, pull a piece out of the dehydrator and let it cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Once it has cooled down, bend and rip the jerky. It should bend and crack, but not break it half. When ripped, it should have white fibers that will be visible as shown in the picture below.
Allow the jerky to cool before storing in airtight containers. Keep the jerky out of sunlight in a pantry or the refrigerator. For more information, visit my Storing Jerky page.
This jerky had some serious spice from the hot sauce but also a nice saltiness from the soy sauce. I used A LOT of hot sauce to make this recipe HOT. Did your jerky turn out as spicy as my batch? Let me know in the comments!
Old Pro Tips:
- Add apple, hickory, or mesquite liquid smoke if you want a smoky flavor
- Swap out hot sauces for your favorite flavor
- Use Prague Powder #1 to increase the shelf life of the jerky and help kill any bacteria
- Store in vacuum seal bags for 6 month shelf life
- 8 oz Tuna Steak
- ¾ cup beef broth
- ⅓ cup hot sauce (Texas Pete)
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoon lemon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon curing salt (optional)
- With a sharp knife, slice strips with the grain ¼" thick
- Assemble all the ingredients of marinade in a bowl or ziplock bag and mix well.
- Add the tuna strips to the marinade and marinate for 6-24 hours in the refrigerator. Mix the strips several times during marinating for evenly coated strips. Be Gentle when mixing!
- Strain jerky strips in a colander and then dry with paper towels to remove any excess marinade.
- Place strips on a dehydrator tray or oven cooling rack on top of a oven pan to catch any drippings.
- Dry at 130F if using a dehydrator or as low as your oven will go if using an oven.
- Jerky will be done when it is completely dry and to your texture liking. It took me 3 ½ hours to dry this jerky in my Nesco Dehydrator