Roger Sager’s Bonito Tips

When I was young I fished the Malibu pier. My dad was a school teacher so we had lots of time during the summer. When we could afford to we fished from the barge and occasionally the 1/2 day boat. We caught a lot of bonito.

Back then I was more a catcher than an eater, especially if it was fishy. However my dad was of the mind that you ate what you caught. This almost always caused a problem because I was good at catching. Mom saved the day when she came up with the following recipe for cooking bonito. I have used the fried pieces to make burritos and tacos as well.

Roger Sager’s Bonito Tips


  • Bonito


  • First is my mom's recipe: Fillet the bonito and remove all of the dark meat.
  • Cube the white meat.
  • Dip the white meat into either a fritter batter or a tempura batter and fry in oil until golden.
  • Serve with malt vinegar, tarter sauce or spicy mayonnaise for dipping.
  • Then my recipe: Later in life I developed my own recipe for bonito after promising to feed the crew at work to a fish fry and all we caught was a mess of bonito.
  • Cut the bonito into 2" to 3" steaks
  • Build a charcoal fire using the indirect heat method in a Webber kettle.
  • When the coals are cherry red (really hot) toss a large handful of wood chips on them and place the steaks on the portion of the grill that is not over the coals.
  • Cover for 3 minutes.
  • After 3 minutes open the cover, toss another large handful of wood chips on, turn the steaks and cover for an additional 3 minutes.
  • The white meat tastes like smoked tuna.
  • The only downside to this is that my friends quit giving me their bonito once they taste it cooked this way.


Make sure that the coals are HOT and that the steaks need to be placed with meat sides on the grill. That seems to draw the oils out of the red meat.

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