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Unique Dish: Pulled Tuna Sandwich

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Unique Dish: Pulled Tuna Sandwich
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It looks like a pulled pork sandwich, doesn’t it? That’s not pork. It’s not chicken, either. Or beef.

That stuff between the bread is tuna, shredded in barbecue sauce… but you’d never know it. Thanks to a healthy dose of sweet and tangy southern sauce, this mountainous creation tastes just like any summer barbecue sandwich.

This particular sandwich comes from The Fish Guys at the North Market. The joint is a mainstay for some of the freshest fish in town, and it’s also got an ever-changing menu of prepared goods including soups, salads and sandwiches.

The Pulled Tuna Sandwich is $7, and delivers an overflowing mountain of meat, with red onions and shredded cheddar all on a poofy Kaiser. It tastes absolutely nothing like tuna; it tastes absolutely nothing like seafood.

Of course, perhaps this is not surprising: tuna is one of the “meatier” fish in the sea. If you’ve ever over-cooked it, it does take on a grey, porkish-palour. So perhaps pulled tuna isn’t such a culinary reach.

Still, it’s fair to ask this question: WHY? After all, traditional pulled pork or chicken are both cheaper to make, and taste about the same.

I can think of a couple of reasons, offhand. For starters, tuna has the omega-3 thing going for it, so it’s arguably super-awesome, in terms of cardiovascular health and cancer prevention. On top of that, lots of people are anti-pork. Some abstain for religious reasons, others see pork as unhealthy, and still other people avoid pork consumption for humanitarian reasons. So, if pork’s off the plate, something like pulled tuna can please lots more palates.

Beyond that, the Pulled Tuna Sandwich makes for a cool guessing game -although, once the usual suspects (Pork, Beef, Poultry) are rejected, the conversation tends to turn disturbingly macabre.

Regardless, if the Fish Guys can sell a sandwich this big for $7, you’d be hard pressed to find a better, cheaper barbecued, pulled anything.

More information about The Fish Guys can be found at www.NorthMarket.com.

Sandwich photo by Walker Evans. Fish Guys photo by Andrew Williams of A.W. Pixel Photography & Design.

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  • susank

    reminds me of this 1970’s psa:

    Imagine all of the calories, sugar and salt that are being used to totally mask the destinctive taste of the tuna.

  • I tried this out last night (and took the photo up top) and thought that it was still fishy flavored underneath the BBQ sauce. Not in a bad way, mind you, but certainly a tuna flavor even though the texture was quite similar to other pulled meat sandwiches.

    Good stuff!

  • Porky

    I stopped by the Fish Guys and had one for lunch today.
    While I usually shy away from Tuna, despite how healthy it is for you, well not how I like it it’s not, all slathered in mayo and stuff, I was inspired by Walker to try this and this was better than I expected.
    The first couple of bites were innocuous enough but by half way thru the fishyness started to come thru, not it a bad way, but it was clear that it wasn’t pork or beef.
    And they pile enough tuna on there that it could almost be two sammiches.
    The BBQ sauce was really good and I think the onion with the cheese sealed the deal.
    I’d order it again.

  • Ok…I’m all about seafood…spent almost 2 decades as a commercial fisherman and have known nearly every aspect of the business. I realize that we live in the midwest and have little to no idea about fish and I appreciate Bob and his team and the uphill fight they have to wage every day to educate people to eat seafood. I also realize that having those conversations each and every day require a bit of information ‘abbreviation’, so that your customer’s eyes don’t glaze over, but there are some simple realities that are in play…for example…you can’t ‘pull a tuna’. The anatomy and physiology in addition to the animal science/production terms just don’t correlate. In addition to BBQ a ‘quality’ piece of tuna (ahi grade/sushi grade/tuna steak), when worldwide stocks are in the condition they are, is like ‘jerking’ the last herd of elk on the planet, just because people can’t appreciate it enough to savor it for the creature it is and are only going to eat it if we cover its flavor with spices and sauce. The concern is that this says more about the midwest and our limited food imagination and the steady defeat of caring fishmongers who are being ground down by an uneducated public.
    (its also a bit misleading to post a ‘stock’ shot of a guy holding an Atlantic Salmon when you’re talking about tuna..goes to miss-educate even further)

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