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I have never eaten croaker...Some ppl I talk to say it's good and some have said it tastes nasty.......I don't like oily tasting fish...Prefer a white meat ..clean tasting........What's your experience with croaker as far as eating it? Any recommended ways of cooking it?....Today I was catching a lot off the dam neck beach...Good size too and a few small grey trout (didn't keep them).
 

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I've had 'em fried and baked. Fried is much better IMHO. Fry 'em, either chunked or fillets. Any batter or breading, it seems it's the frying that enhances (?) the flavor. To me baked croaker tastes such that you know it's fish and thats all, flavor wise.
 

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Eh, they're kind of bland in my opinion. I always give 'em to my grandad when I'm in Tidewater. He loves to eat fish and I love to catch them, so it's a happy coincidence. :)

And fried is definitely the way to go.
 

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Kajun,

Croakers are - to me - good eating. Spent many summers down east NC eating fried croakers with fond memories of my Granny crunching the tails - a subject to which I have posted on in the past.

The Atlantic Croaker has a firm-flakey mild tasting white meat. Small ones <10"are best thrown back, medium size croakers are best gutted, headed, scaled, and pan fried and served w/a side of German fried potatoes or slaw ;) Horse croakers can either be baked (my preference being w/a little tomatoe, lemon, butter and salt/pepper to taste) - or again fried - don't forget the hush puppies. Croakers are also a bit bony so only bother to fillet bigger >16" ones.

So break out the double drop bottom rig some squid and have at it ! Big croakers on light tackle are some fun to catch as well :D

Good fishin'

`bucket
 

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Croaker is one baitfish that I will share with my limbless friends.

When we use live croakers for live baits many times I'll keep of few of the bigger croakers for dinner. Deep fried with a little old bay seasoning and a side order of fries.

Yum!!

Lou
 

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We had plenty of fish frys when I was growing up and croaker and spot were two of the main fish that were cooked, I still prefer them fried whole but my wife and kids will only eat fillets. There is nothing like crunching down on a crispy tail fin! In my opinion croaker is an excellent fish but I dont care for it baked, the meat is white and flaky, I have tried House of Autry seafood breader, very good, also Golden Dip batter if you like it like Long John's, and I belive it is Zaterans fish breader with lemon added is pretty good. But like I said I prefer to fry croakers and you won't be disappointed. I also have had it fried in corn meal, very good also. And like some of the other posts next time you catch a pesky old skate skin and fry them there wings, mmmgood.
 

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Fry

I have fried and baked croaker. I much prefer them filleted and fried. Then again, whats not better deep fried? I think the frying brings out a subtle sweetness to the meat. MMM MMM good. I just do a little flour and some Old Bay (of course) and pan fry both sides in about 1/8" of oil. Finish with Lemon and your are good to go.
 

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My Mom's "favorite" fish to eat (fried whole).......I got a bad taste for them 10-15 years ago. Used to fish the York for them around Clay Banks. What a fight on light tackle, fishing with peelers, fish in the 2-4lb range. Brought a bunch home, and cooked some up, but seemed to leave a "metallic" taste in my mouth. Maybe it was something going on in the river, don't know. Used to give a bunch away, but didn't eat them since. Thinking I should give them a shot again, sure hear a lot of good things about frying these boys up ;)
 

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You guys should try my recipe on the recipe board for steamed fish. If you just have filets, you can just boil them then pour the sauce on top. I do it all the time with my croaker filets that I got in the freezer. If your croakers smell fishy, then let them soak in milk for about 15-30 minutes.
-Anthony
 

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Good point about the smell Anthony. Fish shouldn’t really “smell” when they are fresh, especially if they’re fillets. Remember to keep your catch on ice, not just a cup full but lots of it, the sooner the better.

One other thing, maybe I should do a search or start a new topic but, what’s this with filleting a croaker? I’ve never done it but have been hearing more and more about it on this board. I’ve eaten my share of ‘em, love’em, but never filleted’em. That would take a while unless there’s a trick to it. Any of you care to share any tips?

BTW... Batter (your choice, lots of good mixes in the stores) and fry’em.:D

FISH ON
 

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fileting them is not that hard at all. what i do is break the tail in both directions, then start to filet to where u broke the tail, flip over with the tail under the fish and bring the knife down the skin. cut out bones left. repeat for other side. real easy and you have boneless skinless filets. its a lot easier to do when u see it done, not sure how well explaining it is. you can filet almost any fish like that too. do that i got to wehere i could filet a fish in about 45 seconds.

nick
 

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croaker are also great grilled or blackened - I de-head and gut the smaller ones (12-17"), brush them with oil and vinegar, then grill them. The big croakers can be filleted and blackened according to any blackened fish recipe - after all they are related to redfish.
 

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Amen to keezy,

Although I still give it my go at fileting the smaller ones (under 12") because it really sharpens your fileting skills (if you are the perfectionist). However a family favorite (or atleast personal, as Ive been doing it for 14 years) is putting them in aluminum foil with onions, butter, and old bay (not to kiss up to oldbay or anything) but its simplistic (like most surf fishermen) and good. Give it a try.
 
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