Who here has experience using sketchy shop tools to cut frozen fish or meat? Will we be sad if we try to do it with a hand saw rather than buying an electric knife?

There's a boat in town selling sushi-grade whole tuna to the public for stupid cheap (poor boat went out just before the plague and caught a bunch of stuff intended for restaurants), and I want to split one with my neighbors. Trying to figure out how to cut it up without having to thaw it.

Wholesale fish update: There was a 4 hour long line at the boat so I bailed.

A different boat was selling salmon, with a much shorter line on account of how they had normal retail prices. I bought some smoked salmon candy just so I didn't have to leave empty handed.

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@mcmoots I have so many thoughts on this! The short answer is just use a hacksaw. What kind of tuna? I am going to guess albacore? How big are they? Are they H&G?

@mcmoots Do not buy an electric knife, unless you have other uses for it. I have never seen anyone cut a fish (or a meat) using one of those, either fresh or frozen.

@mcmoots Also "sushi grade" doesn't really mean anything, at least in the USA. I'm sure Japan has a bunch of standards but nobody uses those here as far as I know. It is also difficult/impossible to grade tuna before you cut it up. You can take core samples, or notch the tail (and most places do) but sometimes you cut into a fish and it's just not good.

@mcmoots I am happy to go on at length about this if you would like. If not no hard feelings, I know it's not everyone's cup of tea

@mcmoots Source: I worked in seafood for ~20 years, including being a full time cutter at a wholesaler

@pagrus No no no please do, I want to know what I'm getting into here.

@pagrus So how do you tell if it's no good, without, like, smelling it?

@mcmoots You don't, really. I mean you should look for obvious gashes in the skin, bloody marks or discoloration, and so forth but you won't know how good the actual meat is until you cut into it

@pagrus Oh good I was hoping you'd weigh in with advice!

Albacore, they might or might not be gutted but from the photos looks like they're definitely not headed (and if I'm gonna buy a whole fish I want the head!). Not sure what sizes they have, if it makes a difference I can try to get something easier to handle.

This is basically what I know about the fish:

@pagrus Jerks. Somehow it still works with my ublock setup, I might be missing some things from my filter list.

The story is mostly just the tale of woe of the poor boat that went through storms and then didn't have any customers when they got back, there is one picture of the frozen whole fish and a quote from an excited customer who bought a 16-lb-er.

@mcmoots Albacore can get big but usually when I have seen them they are like 20-40#ish? Which isn't insurmountable for two to four people but is definitely a lot of tuna.

I would probably try to loin it out (basically cut it into quarters) then freeze. It's better to try to avoid re-freezing if you can help it, sometimes you can't though.

@pagrus So like, laterally in half and then just randomly somewhere around its waist?

There are 3 couples going in on this so will probably do 6ths at least, but if we can cut into smaller portions it'd be a kindness to all our future selves. Goal is definitely to cut fast enough that it doesn't thaw too much but we'll see how that works in practice.

@mcmoots I'm torn. The filleter in me wants to coach you through making nice cuts and getting good intact loins out of it but realistically I think you should just keep it as frozen as you can and use a saw (a bandsaw is ideal if you have one) to make into six roughly-equal portions if that's how many ways you're splitting it

@mcmoots Tuna is hard to cut! They are built differently than pretty much all other kinds of fish, and they are expensive so any fuckups you make cost your employer more than say, rockfish

@mcmoots Albacore in particular. I guarantee that among your friends there is at least one person who heard "sushi grade" and immediately thought of albacore toro. Albacore is definitely leaner than yellowfin or bluefin etc and the bellies are thin, so usually not so good for sushi

@pagrus I mean, *I* immediately thought of albacore toro. But if I end up with just a chirashi bowl full of weird little shreddy bits I won't complain.

@mcmoots you might be able to get some tasty belly bits, but big ole slabs of fatty belly? probably not

@mcmoots This is what it will look like. It's hard to describe but there are bones that you will have to trim out that are harder to get to in an albacore. On a yellowfin or (especially) bluefin it is much easier

@pagrus What is the bloodline - is that the spine or the scales side of the cross-section?

@mcmoots it goes along the bones that come out from the spine. in my drawing the bottom edge of the pieces is the skin

@mcmoots yes, kind of? the filleter in me is simultaneously horrified and weirdly excited by this. a bandsaw would be better if only because the cuts would be cleaner and straighter

@pagrus We do actually have a bandsaw, it's probably not toooooo contaminated with nasty metalwork stuff...

@mcmoots if you can clean it off that might be the way to go. If you know someone at a butcher or fish market they might help you out too, we had a bandsaw we used mostly for beef and pork but it was cleaned and sanitized every night, so no risk for cross contamination if you sneak your tuna in there before shop hours

@mcmoots i mean my boss would tell you to gtfo if you had asked him to do that for you, but maybe you're friendly with your local meat/fish purveyors

@pagrus I don't really eat enough meat to have special customer status anywhere sadly.

Partner is now telling me our bandsaw is a shitty one with no torque, so we might be hacksawing it after all.

@mcmoots OK well that works too, at least you can get a new clean blade and sanitize etc

@mcmoots I mean you don't necessarily have to eat a lot of meat to have friends in low places

@mcmoots Anyway, I only really mention the belly vs top loin thing because if you are portioning it out between six people you will want to account for the fact that the guts, if they are frozen in there, are not edible/usable and that will affect your yield. So the tradeoff would usually be that you get less meat but some of it is delicious belly but in the case of albacore that is less attractive

@mcmoots I'm sure the people selling the tunas have some suggestions too, people must ask them constantly.

Here in SF there are salmon boats that take tourists out, when you get back there are people who will take your fish, fillet it, and I think maybe even smoke it for you if you want. There's gotta be a whole secondary market for that stuff in Seattle too I would imagine

@pagrus Probably, but I feel like that kind of wrecks the adventure? This isn't just cheap fish, it's also an afternoon of quarantine entertainment.

@mcmoots Yeah sure of course. Smoked albacore is p great though. You could try doing that yourself

@pagrus It should only show up for people who follow my food alt right? Which has a big "no meat CWs" warning on it.

@pagrus My experiment with smoking some mushrooms on my little weber grill did not go well at all, I'm hesitant to try on more expensive ingredients until I've got a technique at least sort of figured out.

@mcmoots So basically tuna comes apart into four "loins", two on the top ("top loins") and two on the bottom ("belly loins"). The cross section of the top loins is basically a triangle, and the belly loins is kind of like a fat comma

@mcmoots welp I’m gonna saddle up the tuna mobile and head on over to fisherman’s terminal this weekend, that settles it

@nein09 I might have to get up earlier than I usually do, I expect since they got such a nice writeup that there's gonna be a line.

@mcmoots Holy shit, how much fish is left? The glimpse of the article I saw before the adblockerblocker intervened said some huge poundage but I assumed they'd have gotten through most of it by now

@pagrus dunno! Sounds like they've been selling it literally nonstop from 10-6 every day for the past week though.

@mcmoots WHEW. wow. Well, I'm glad they're gonna be able to sell that fish.

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