How to Cook Tuna Panga (Grilled Tuna Collar)

From beach picnics to family dinners, inihaw na tuna panga(grilled tuna collar) is a staple throughout the Philippines. The largest, freshest fillets can be found in fishing towns with an abundance of seafood delicacies! Panga, which translates to “jaw” in English, is a culinary term that refers to the collar of the fish – specifically the rounded triangular strip between its gills and body.

Also Read: How to Cook Filipino Sinigang na Hipon (Shrimp)

Panga ng tuna is one popular delicacy made with this part of the fish. If you’re after succulent and juicy fatty meat, large tuna collars are the way to go! Grilling them will unlock all of the scrumptious flavor within the cracks and crevices in a way that smaller collars simply cannot offer.

The amount of time for grilling tuna collars isn’t a fixed number. It depends on the size and thickness of each collar, as well as how many you’re cooking at once. For example, if there are three 1.5 kg collars in total, the recommended grilling duration should be shorter than usual!

For the optimal experience, please be sure to not overcook the fish. The banana leaf wrapping is specifically designed to protect against drying out – yet even with triple-wrapping, if you cook it too long then the tender flesh will become dry and unappetizing.

grilled tuna panga recipe


  • Three Kilos of jaw panga ng tuna, freshly rinsed and ready to be cooked.
  • Banana leaves, enough to wrap around the entire fish.
  • Spices of your choice (garlic, ginger, cilantro, salt and pepper are all popular options!)

Tuna Marinade

  • For an extra flavorful dish, add one cup of soy sauce.
  • Finely mince and crush five cloves of garlic for a flavorful addition to your dish.
  • Nine pieces of fiery red chili await, adding a burst of flavor to any dish.
  • To make your recipe complete, add a ¼ cup of brown sugar.
  • Freshen up your dishes with either two citrusy limes or four slices of calamansi
  • Add a quarter teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper to your dish for an extra spicy kick!

Tuna Basting Sauce Ingredients and Steps

  • To prepare your favorite dish, you’ll need a half cup of soy sauce.
  • a pinch of ground black pepper
  • a pinch of garlic powder and chili flakes for added kick and heat
  • Generously add two tablespoons of white sugar for a sweet finish.
  • Mix your soy sauce and white sugar until you see the sugar dissolves. Spice up your dish with ground black pepper, garlic powder and red chili powder

panga na tuna recipe filipino grilled tuna collar

Steps Cook Panga ng Tuna or Grilled Tuna Collar

1. Rinse the tuna collars thoroughly with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.

2. Whisk together soy sauce, lime juice, ground black pepper and chili in a medium bowl until all ingredients are evenly blended.

3. Begin by adding garlic and sugar to the mixture, then proceed with stirring vigorously until you can no longer detect any granules of sugar.

4. For an overnight tuna marinade, place the cut of fish into a re-sealable plastic bag and add your preferred soy sauce. Gently expel as much air from the bag as possible before sealing it tightly. Lastly, transfer to the refrigerator and let sit for 12 hours or until the desired flavor has been achieved.

5. Mix your soy sauce and white sugar until well-blended in a bowl to create the perfect basting sauce. Then, set aside for later use.

6. Preheat your grill and place the tuna on top of the cooking grate. Show some love to this delectable dinner by basting a generous amount of glaze over its surface. Grill for 3-5 minutes until it is succulent and juicy, ready to be devoured!

7. Flip the tuna to cook its other side, then brush it with your basting liquid. Leave on the grill for an additional 5 minutes before removing it.

8. Carefully turn the fish jaw to grill on the opposite side for an additional 5 -7 minutes.

9. Finally, flip it once more to cook the other side for a further five minutes. When you’re done, transfer it onto your serving plate and enjoy it with a deliciously zesty sauce made up of soy sauce, lime juice and chlli flakes.

10. Serve, spread the joy and relish every moment!


  • When it comes to cooking, fish collars are incredibly forgiving as the fat and gelatinous texture will stop them from becoming over-dried. For a succulent, flavorful experience, whether it be in the oven or on the grill – low and sustained heat should always be your goal. This allows all of those little pieces of meat to cook evenly while also allowing bones to release their juiciness and skin to crisp up yet remain tender. To know when they are ready, it is recommended to insert a metal fork or small knife into the deepest section of the collar and leaving it there for 20 seconds; to test if it is cooked enough, touch it to your wrist or lip.
  • Keep your Tuna collar basted with your basting sauce to keep it moist. If you find it drying out too quickly, add a piece of banana leaf to the top of the collar before basting. This will help keep in some of the moisture and flavor.
  • For an even tastier experience, consider combining your soy sauce marinade with other ingredients such as garlic, ginger or scallions for a more complex flavor profile.
  • To add a unique flavor to your fish dish, you should use a basting sauce made of soy sauce and granulated white sugar. A charcoal grill is an ideal choice for cooking this meal as it will allow for even heat distribution while imparting an appetizing smoky essence to the protein.
  • Make sure that your tuna collar is fresh, as this will result in a more tender texture and better flavor overall. If you are unsure, ask your local fishmonger for help! For best results, it is important to not overcook the tuna collar. Once it becomes firm to the touch and looks opaque throughout – that’s when it should be ready to serve. With these tips and tricks, you are sure to impress your guests with a flawlessly grilled tuna collar.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long should I marinate my Tuna Collar?

Marinating your tuna collar for an hour or two before grilling will give it an added boost of flavor. If you want to prepare the meal in advance, you can opt for overnight marination so that all of the ingredients have time to blend and penetrate into the meat.

2. What temperature should I set my grill to?

The ideal temperature for grilling tuna collar is between 350 – 400 degrees Fahrenheit (approx. 176-204 Celsius). This will ensure that the fish cooks evenly and doesn’t dry out too quickly. Be sure to keep an eye on it as the cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the collar.

3. Is it safe to eat Tuna Collar?

Absolutely! Tuna collar is a safe and nutritious option for dinner, as long as you cook it properly. It’s high in healthy fats, omega-3 fatty acids, protein and selenium, so serve your family with confidence. Just make sure to look out for any signs of spoilage and use fresh ingredients throughout the preparation process.

4. What should I serve with Tuna Collar?

Tuna collar pairs well with many side dishes such as grilled vegetables, rice or potatoes. You can also drizzle it in a savory sauce and serve it with a side of freshly boiled noodles. There’s no wrong way to enjoy this delicious meal!

5. How should I store leftovers?

Leftover tuna collar can be stored in an air-tight container or bag in the refrigerator for up to three days. Alternatively, you can freeze it in a sealed bag or container for up to six months. Be sure to reheat the fish in an oven or microwave before serving again.

6. Is there any way to make my Tuna Collar healthier?

Yes! Consider adding some olive oil, lemon juice and herbs such as basil or thyme while marinating the tuna collar. This will give it a delicious flavor while adding healthy fats, vitamins and minerals to your meal. You can also top it with nuts, seeds or dried fruits for an extra nutritional punch!


Panga ng tuna or Tuna Collar is a safe and nutritious option for dinner that can be easily prepared on the grill. Marinating your fish in soy sauce and sugar will give it an added boost of flavor while keeping it moist during cooking. Be sure to keep an eye on the temperature of your charcoal grill as this will help ensure even heat distribution throughout the process. With these tips and tricks, you are sure to impress your guests with perfectly cooked tuna collar!