What is Sushi grade ?

Started by Maxed Out, September 28, 2022, 12:48:55 AM

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Maxed Out

Is sushi grade tuna just open to interpretation from different fish mongers ?? Is there some kind of general industry guidelines for grading tuna ? It seems confusing, but here's my opinion....

The albacore I catch is bled and put in the hold with RSW shower. Once back to the dock, I drive 2 blocks to commercial ice house and get a tote of shaved salt ice. I layer tuna and generous amounts of ice until all the coolers are filled to the brim with a thick top of the ice. The chemical reaction of the salt makes the ice melt and actually puts the temp below freezing without freezing the tuna. (Jewel can explain in non layman's terms). The initial melting causes the shaved ice to shrink down a bit and form a solid block around the fish. The salt reaction slows as time goes on. I've found it's best to loin the fish after 3 days on the ice. The result is much firmer flesh and most the backstrap loins are solid purple. This, in my book, is the finest sushi grade albacore on the planet. (Just my opinion).

Here's after 3 days with whole(gutted) albacore on the salt ice. Notice a few on the right that are mostly pale with just a bit of purple. That's what it would normally look like

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Squidder Bidder

I think "sushi grade" originally referred to the particular quality of the meat of a particular fish vis a vis its fat content. IMO, properly caring for the fish immediately after landing is a given. Not beating up one or the other side of a tuna is another point of concern.

I think the next level of caring for the fish as a "product" whether for personal consumption or market sale is ikejime - the Japanese method of bleeding and disabling the nervous system of a fish. Properly bleeding and handling your catch is in my opinion a minimum sign of respect for the quarry. As it is often said because it is true "you can't buy fish that fresh." It really is another thing entirely relative to even some of the best fish market "product."

I like to use a salted ice slurry too - I buy containers of food grade salt at the local dollar store and before leaving the dock salt my ice and then when I get to cleaner water dump some salt water on the combo after some of the ice has melted chemically from the salt. I would just caution to be careful insofar as I have inadvertently frozen fish solid in a too-abundant slurry of ice and salt. It's disappointing when your guests are expecting fresh fried fluke and you can't get your fillet knife into one. Less is probably more with smaller fish. Tuna are warm blooded however and have more mass so I think the concern about freezing them solid is less apt.

Just my $0.02

Wompus Cat

I don't know Come here from Sic Um bout Sushi .
But that fish you have looks to me like it could be used for  Chum and if you will Ice it Back Down and Overnite it to Texas this ol Chum will eat it . ::)
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Rocket Dog

About $40.00lb... ;D  I have looked into it myself. It mostly revolves around how you take care of the catch from hook to the table. I have seen that Ice slushy method used on bait when I tied striper fishing up in the CA aqueduct. The dines and mackerel looked pristine over the two-day fishing trip.   


Sushi grade has no legitimate meaning.

It is a term used in the industry to try to get a higher price for fish that more often than not has been handled like fish intended to be cooked by the end user.

Some like to try to use it as a quality term but more often than not a parasite containing species that requires freezing at -4F for 7 days (common freezing regime) THAT HAS NOT BEEN FROZEN is labeled sushi grade and is sold without freezing for raw consumption.

Sanitation at all levels from the boat to the table must be in top order to ensure pathogens are prevented from growing.

When I see the term sushi grade, I generally look for what is being hidden.

Sorry, I have seen too much over the years....


personally, i think it's just marketing......   :-\
send me an email at alantani@yahoo.com for questions!


is there some sort of "reverse pasteurization" option
i.e., using pressures way above normal, to control microbes at temps above freezing?
is that a real thing, or did I make that up in my head?


There is a process called high pressure processing that is used for pathogen destruction. They use it for lobsters and molluscan shellfish to open shells and crush the carapace while leaving a raw uncooked product.

For finfish, it turns the flesh into soup.

The best bet for surface pathogen elimination is steam surface pasteurization (short time) or an antimicrobial dip to reduce surface pathogens. It works much better on a fish that has been eviscerated and scaled, prior to filleting.

For parasite containing species, it is either proper cooking or proper freezing for parasite destruction.