How Sydney’s Fish Butchery Makes Tuna Burgers

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Chef Josh Niland even tops the burger with smoked kingfish bacon

Chef Josh Niland wants to make fish more like beef. And by applying preparation methods like aging, curing, and sausage-making to fish, Niland believes he’s revolutionizing the seafood industry.

The menus at his Sydney restaurant and fish market Fish Butchery include dishes like tuna kofta, dry-aged yellowfin tuna ribeye, and a yellowfin tuna cheeseburger, a dish that also appears on the menu at Charcoal Fish, another Sydney restaurant owned by Niland.

To make the burger, head butcher Rebecca Lara begins by mincing the tuna before adding cooked diced onions, chopped parsley, ground fennel, ground pepper, and salt. Once Lara hand mixes the tuna, she shapes it into patties of around 70 grams each. Every patty gets a little bit of oil and salt before going onto the grill. Once on the grill, Lara tops each patty with a slice of cheese.

As they cook, a fish weight presses the patties down. “It allows for easy, more efficient cooking,” says Niland. “For us, this is a critical product that we use to get crispy-skin fish.”

Niland says the purpose of putting the patties on the grill is to develop the crust, rather than cook it all the way through. “At the end of the day, we’re cooking fish,” says Niland. “It’s not meat even though it looks a lot like it.”

Finally, the burger gets plated on a milk bun with pickles, barbecue sauce, mustard, and smoked kingfish bacon.

Watch the full video to see how Niland and his team make the burger, tuna kofta, dry-aged yellowfin tuna ribeye, and more.

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