Raw tuna is one of the few fish that is both sturdy and fatty enough to form into a burger without the addition of binders and starches. The only requirement is that you chop the tuna finely enough so that the pieces adhere to one another, but not so finely so that the mixture becomes mushy. For that reason it is not a good idea to use a food processor to do your chopping. The danger of going too far is likely enough, and the results of misjudgment severe enough, that the convenience is not worth the risk.
Prep: 10 minutes
Grill: 6 minutes.
BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled spatula.
– If you want to enhance the Japanese character of these burgers, garnish them with pickled ginger or daikon, wasabi mayonnaise, or a drizzle of teriyaki sauce; or coat them in toasted sesame oil rather than canola.
Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (425° to 450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
1½ pounds tuna steak, cut into small chunks
1 tablespoon miso paste
½ teaspoon prepared wasabi
1 teaspoon soy sauce
4 scallions, roots trimmed, cut into ½-inch pieces
Oil for coating grill grate
1 tablespoon mild-flavored oil such as canola
4 hamburger buns, split.
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Chop the tuna finely enough so that when you press some between your fingers it clings to itself, but not so finely that it becomes mushy.
3. Remove the fish to a bowl and mix in the miso, wasabi, soy sauce, and scallions until well blended; do not overmix. Using a light touch, form into 4 patties no more than 1 inch thick. Refrigerate the burgers until the grill is ready.
4. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Coat the burgers with the 1 tablespoon oil, put them on the grill, cover, and cook for 6 minutes, flipping halfway through, for medium-rare; do not cover the grill after flipping. Add a minute per side for medium-done. 5. To toast the buns, put them cut-sides down directly over the fire for the last minute of cooking.
6. If serving the burgers directly from the grill, serve on the buns. If the burgers will sit, even for a few minutes, keep the buns and burgers separate until just before eating.