Newsletter Up In Smoke

Get Raichlen's Burgers! plus weekly recipes and tips straight from Steven Raichlen!


Episode 303: Fire Meets Water

Grill-Blackened Tuna with Cajun Remoulade

Pan-blackening was pioneered by a legendary chef called Paul Prudhomme. He had the idea to paint redfish with melted butter, dredge it in Cajun spices and cook it on a super hot cast iron skillet. Because the process generates so much eye stinging smoke, he recommended pan-blackening outdoors on a barbecue grill.

Tuna steaks served blood-red and rare, just like beef steak. This recipe is Cajun-style with blackening spices and a remoulade sauce. A beautiful rare tuna in the center with an electrifying, spicy crust.


More Grilled Fish Recipes:


Grill-Blackened Tuna with Cajun Remoulade

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Equipment: a plancha, cast iron skillet, or griddle (optional); hardwood chips or chunks (optional)


For the rub:

  • 1/2 cup coarse salt (sea or kosher)
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon filé powder (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground bay leaf

For the tuna:

  • 4 ahi tuna loin steaks, each about 1-1/2 inches thick (about 8 ounces each)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens, for serving

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Combine the ingredients for the rub in a bowl and stir or whisk to mix. You’ll need about 3 tablespoons for this recipe. Transfer the remaining rub to a jar and store, covered, away from heat and light. The rub will keep for several months.

Step 2: Sprinkle the tuna steaks generously on both sides with the rub. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, if desired.

Step 3: Set up a grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. If using a plancha or cast iron skillet, place it on the grill grate and preheat at the same time. Brush and oil the cooking surface. Just before grilling, add the wood chips to the coals or place in your grill’s smoker box.

Step 4: Brush each tuna steak on one side with melted butter.

Step 5: Place the tuna steaks on the plancha or grill grate, butter side down. Sear for 2 minutes, then turn; brush melted butter on the other side of each steak. Grill for 2 more minutes, or until darkly seared on the outside, but still rare in the center, turning with tongs.

Step 6: Transfer the tuna steaks to a cutting board. Cut into 1/4 inch slices and fan these out on a platter or plates. Sprinkle with sliced scallions and serve with the Cajun Remoulade.

Recipe Tips

Our thanks to the sponsors of Project Smoke Season 3:

Steven Raichlen’s Project Smoke is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2017 Barbacoa, Inc.