Catching And Cooking Grouper
A heavy and hard-fighting fish, Grouper types include Black, Gag, Goliath, Nassau, Red, Scamp, Speckled, Snowy and Warsaw.
Size and weight: Grouper can range from 20″ to over 7 feet for some species. Typically they are 3 to 300 lbs. ‘Goliath’ grouper can weigh anywhere from 4 lbs. to 700 lbs.
Groupers are ‘teleosts’ with a large mouth and stout body. They eat their food whole rather than taking bites, and are tasty, despite being bottom-feeders. A dangerous fish, Groupers are aggressive and hard to catch because of their weight and strength. Fishing for Grouper in deeper waters can require patience. Grouper have teeth and are best picked up by gill plates with pliers.
Time of year: In-shore Grouper are abundant June through September.
Location: They like rock beds where they feel safe. When you approach a structure after flats, they are in typically along the edge of this area.
Time of Tide: Best time to catch is early morning or late afternoon.
Bait: Live bait is best, including and-sized pen fish, knocker-rid, style.
Method: Reel and rod, with medium or heavy tackle.
Drinks: red wines, sweeter mixed drinks
Deliciousness: 10 out of 10.
Flavor: Acidic and savory.
Strike (with a knife) behind the gill plate, cut down along the backbone. You get two filets. Leave skin on.
De-gutting: De-gutting is not necessary if you are cutting fillets – simply cut around the fish guts.
De-blooding: Spanish Mackerel, Redfish, Grouper and Sharks are typically de-blooded.
De-veining: Is recommended for larger fish, including Spanish Mackerel, Redfish, and Sharks.
Method: You’ll get a different taste based on how Grouper is prepared, with a grill providing a more savory and less sweet taste.
Grouper can be fried, grilled, baked or sautéed (blackened).
Dishes: Entrée, tacos, soup, stew, salad, or appetizer.
Tradition: Grouper is versatile enough to work into any cooking tradition (see below).
If you deep fry, with grouper nuggets, that’s a favorite. This is done by frying with an egg batter. Gives a crunch and turns into a nugget.
Baking will keep moist and give a sweeter taste.
Black beans with rice are excellent with Grouper.
Cooking Fish, Generally
Traditions: Plain, Upscale, Southern, Creole, Cajun, Western, Southwestern
Sautéed (blackened): use a high-temperature oil with minimal flavor. Avocado, grapeseed, linseed, sunflower, safflower.
Deep Frying: use similar oil to sautéed, but more of it.
Baking: Method 1: Use tinfoil and leave open. Seasoning is household seasonings. Lemon pepper and garlic. When fish is done, you’d use lemon juice and butter. Don’t add butter before the fish is cooked. Method 2: same but close foil.
Grilling: if you want more flaky entrée, low heat. Maybe 10 minutes, both sides. Heavier texture, use a higher temperature.
Entrée: Many people prefer blackened, filet skin on one side and leave skin on the other.
Fish tacos: Require fileting both sides. Cube, deep fry in a batter.
Fish soup or stew: Reheats well. A common cioppino or Cajun recipe will suffice.
Fish salad. Deep fry to keep together, into a crisp. Cover meat halfway full with oil. Cook in a cast iron skillet. Use a Caesar dressing.
Sides: Sweet potato, baked potato, potato wedges, brown rice, hush puppies
Vegetables: Asparagus, broccoli, salad, sliced tomatoes and avocado, string beans, seasoned collards, okra
Appetizers: Ceviche dip and fish cakes.