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#3683701 - 06/04/14 04:36 PM stingray and sheepshead
Crosshairy
10 Point


Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 2701
Loc: Bartlett, TN

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My brother caught a 22-lb southern stingray (the kind with the nose that goes to a point, as opposed to the cow-nose ray) in late April at the Gulf Shores State Park pier.

I caught a ~3-lb sheepshead beneath one of the pilings, which rounded out the only 2 edible & legal creatures we caught from the pier.

The stingray yielded an entire gallon of meat, even with my horribly novice butchering job. After the initial taste testing, my dad & brother kept most of the meat, but I came home with a quart of it.

Last night, I sauteed some vegetables and used a fish taco marinade recipe that my wife found for about 70% of the stingray meat. The goal with that batch was to make "stingray fajitas".

Separately, I melted butter, garlic, coconut oil, salt, and pepper and sauteed the rest of the meat (which I had cut into cubes). This was intended to mimic a typical scallop preparation, which is supposedly what stingray meat is often used for.

The sheepshead was baked "on the half shell" with some cajun seasoning and butter.

Results:
The "fajitas" were pretty good. The recipe for the marinade/sauce include Ancho pepper sauce, Greek yogurt/mayo, and tomato paste. In hindsight, I wish I had made less of this, since I basically just tasted a lot of Ancho pepper sauce. Score: 6/10

The sauteed stingray with butter done "scallop style" was very good. I oversalted it a tiny bit, but no one complained. Both of my kids ate every bite and then asked for seconds. It was by far my favorite, and the flavor was really smooth on account of the butter. Score: 9/10

The sheepshead, which is supposed to be a very highly prized food fish that feeds on various types of shellfish, was not done justice. In short, I should have grilled it and used a better seasoning (not impressed with the stuff I had - I'm throwing it away). I rubbed in some garlic salt to the second fillet that I saved for my wife, so hopefully it's much improved. The meat quality was excellent (mild and firm), however, so I'm confident that the problem was my preparation method. I'll try this again, given the chance. Score for my preparation: 7/10

I took some pictures, but I'll have to upload them later when I can get to my desktop.


Edited by Crosshairy (06/04/14 04:38 PM)
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#3683702 - 06/04/14 04:45 PM Re: stingray and sheepshead [Re: Crosshairy]
jb3
10 Point


Registered: 02/23/09
Posts: 4285
Loc: Burns, TN

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http://instagram.com/p/ndxe-ujLBM/#

restaurant here in nashville has sheepshead as a signature dish

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#3683744 - 06/04/14 06:10 PM Re: stingray and sheepshead [Re: jb3]
BamaProud
12 Point


Registered: 04/03/11
Posts: 7326
Loc: Shelby County, TN

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Sheepshead is considered a trash fish by a lot of people on the Coast. Kinda like Buffalo inland...people that like them love them, but its not a overly popular fish to eat. They are a ton of fun to catch though.

I've never even thought of eating a stingray, I've caught hundreds.
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#3684334 - 06/05/14 12:47 PM Re: stingray and sheepshead [Re: BamaProud]
Crosshairy
10 Point


Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 2701
Loc: Bartlett, TN

Offline
 Originally Posted By: BamaProud
Sheepshead is considered a trash fish by a lot of people on the Coast. Kinda like Buffalo inland...people that like them love them, but its not a overly popular fish to eat. They are a ton of fun to catch though.

I've never even thought of eating a stingray, I've caught hundreds.


My advice would be not to even bother with the little ones. The large-ish one that my brother caught was definitely worth the trouble. My limited experience tells me that, once you get smaller than 5 or 6 lbs, you are dealing with tons of work for very little meat (you have to cut it off of both the gristle plate in the wing and then off of the skin. This process did not seem nearly as straight-forward as a scaled fish with a hard, flat bone structure.

They have a fairly large "cavity" in the middle of their body. If you run your finger along the edge, you can feel an area that transitions from the soft "wing" tissue to the hard cavity. That's where you make the cuts, and then you are cutting meat away until you strike the gristle part of the middle of the wing. Do both sides, then flip upside down and do again on the underside. The top meat is thicker (like a flounder).

The meat closest to the body is solid and more scallop-like in texture. As you move out onto the wing body itself, the meat is connected in little strips that you can pull apart. There's some connective tissue between them, but it cooks down and is not worthy of trying to remove.

My approach was to use the wing meat as fajita "strips", and cube up the body meat into chunks to cook like scallops.

If I had to do it all over again, I would probably just sautee all of it without the sauces, since quick cooking prevents the meat from getting chewy.

Follow-up from my initial results - the fajita strips in Adobo sauce were better as leftovers (reminded me of the improvement in leftover spaghetti). I would upgrade the taste from a 6 to a 7.

If you have the time to clean a good-sized one, it's worth the effort in my opinion. Just be sure to step on the base of the tail, then cut it off prior to progressing with the work. Be careful of that stinger!
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