Local Yellowfin Tuna is Made for the Grill

I love kicking off the NFL season with seafood and this year I chose local yellowfin tuna from Fisherman’s Wharf Gloucester. Tuna steaks are not showcased enough on this site and I didn’t do nearly enough grilling this very busy summer. My beloved, if currently flawed, New England Patriots will be the center of my attention today for better or worse.

Fortunately, the tuna will grill up fast, and without too much fuss, so I can actually watch the game. I have a small indoor electric grill that I can set up within sight of my TV. Hopefully I don’t smoke out the house. If you want to up your tailgating menu with something delicious, versatile and pretty easy to work with, take a look at fresh, local tuna steaks.

Atlantic Yellowfin (Ahi) Tuna

Atlantic yellowfin tuna is also known as ahi, just like it’s Pacific variant. These large, fast growing migratory fish are sustainably harvested primarily by longline and rod-and-reel. It is a popular sport fish and recreational landings make up a considerable portion of the total domestic catch. This fish can be found year-round but local yellowfin tuna is available to us in the US Northeast during the summer and early fall.

Yellowfin is a meaty fish, with red flesh when raw. However it is not as dark and flavorful as bluefin tuna. It is a delicious, very healthy and plentiful fish that is also not difficult to find steaks either fresh or frozen. From a consumer’s viewpoint, it is probably the most encountered tuna that is not in a can. Although you can find very good canned yellowfin in olive oil at almost any supermarket. Ahi tuna is famous for its role in sashimi and sushi, and is very tasty with or without additional flavorings.

My Local Yellowfin Tuna Steaks

These tuna steaks were $22 per pound down at Fisherman’s Wharf Gloucester and were obviously fresh. Nice bright color, firm, but pliable and a nice fresh raw “tuna” smell. Raw tuna, especially yellowfin and bluefin have a distinctive smell that is less like fish and more like butchered meat. They are such strong and powerful fish that their meat is loaded with myoglobin to them swimming. With fresh caught local yellowfin tuna this aroma is very pronounced and a welcome sign of freshness.

fresh ahi local yellowfin tuna steak

I ordered 2 pounds, but I think I got 2 steaks that were probably over that weight. One piece was a thick, well-proportioned steak and the other was a more tapered steak closer to the tail section. The original intention was to grill both, but after inspection I figured I could make 2 perfect portions from just one steak so I got out the fillet knife. The tail piece went in the freezer a future dinner.

Grilled Ponzu Yellowfin Tuna

Recipe by Buying SeafoodCuisine: Seafood, AsianDifficulty: Easy
Prep time


Cooking time



A very simple, Asian-inspired recipe for grilled yellowfin tuna.


  • 2 local local Yellowfin Tuna steaks

  • 3/4 cup Kikkoman Ponzu Sauce

  • 1/4 cup Tamari or Soy Sauce

  • 2-3 tsp. fresh grated Ginger

  • Garlic-infused Olive Oil

  • 1 Lime, juice and zest


  • Combine ponzu, tamari, ginger and some garlic oil to create marinade. Adjust to your taste.
    ponzu marinade
  • Marinate tuna steaks for about 20-30 minutes.
    tuna in ponzu marinade
  • Heat grill to about med-high 350F and oil grates.
    Tuna on grill
  • Discard marinade, pat steaks dry and grill about 6 minutes per side. For a pink interior grill for about 4 minutes per side.


  • You can make your own Ponzu sauce, but I find the Kikkoman brand has a good flavor.
  • If you want those classic grill marks, give the steaks a half turn at the 3 minute mark.

How Was the Grilled Yellowfin Tuna?

perfect grill marks on local yellowfin tuna

This grilled tuna was fantastic and incredibly easy. Cooked to a perfect medium, with the slightest trace of pink in the center at 6 minutes per side. Setting up my small indoor grill was probably the hardest part of the process. I was worried the marinate would smoke a lot but with the cover on the grill and keeping it at just the right temperature, it was no problem.

The ponzu marinade matches perfectly with the meaty nature of the tuna steak and may have to be used more often. It’s like when you find that perfect wine to go with your steak, they complement each other so well. I bet it would be really good on something like sablefish, if I ever get more of it. For a side I made stuffed zucchini boats with mushrooms and eggplants from the garden.

The Patriots could not pull off a Week 1 victory, even with Tom Brady in attendance, but the was another star to provided a 4th quarter comeback. The local yellowfin tuna was here to thankfully save the day and I have another piece in the freezer ready for another clutch performance. Stay tuned for more tuna recipes in the future.