Barracudas have the reputation of being scary fish because they have a mouthful of razor-sharp teeth and have been known to chase divers with those teeth bared. Fishermen will also say that this fish is aggressive, and if you have one on your line, it’ll fight like crazy to keep from being reeled in.
If you’ve successfully caught one, you might be asking, can you eat barracuda? After all, you may want to exact some revenge from this difficult fish.
Do People Eat Barracuda and Is It Safe?
Is it safe to eat barracuda? Yes, but the most important thing to remember about eating barracudas is that you only want to eat the small ones. Not only are they better tasting than the bigger ones, but you will also avoid ciguatera poisoning, which is a common toxin found in large oceanic sport fish like barracudas who forage on smaller reef fish for their diets. Many people avoid eating barracudas because they also have a risk of food poisoning or even mercury poisoning if you consume too much! Although this is very unlikely with the smaller fish.
What Does Barracuda Taste Like?
Eating barracuda isn’t for everyone, they have a stronger fish flavor than white fish like haddock, but it’s milder than anchovies. As such, they are enjoyed more by people who have a preference for fishier meat than those who prefer mild white meat. Barracudas are a lean fish, with very little fat or oil, but the meat’s darker due to the more forceful blood flow required to maintain their speed and strength. Flavors that pair well with barracudas include garlic, dill, tarragon, and chili pepper.
Can You Eat Barracuda Raw?
It is not recommended that barracudas be eaten raw, and even Japanese sushi chefs who prepare most fish in various raw dishes, do not use barracuda. This may be due to the risk of ciguatera fish poisoning and the potential to get sick, but that is really only a problem with the larger species. More likely, barracudas just taste better cooked. They are a popular dish when fried, but we would take a pass on this fish if it were served raw.
How to Cook Barracuda
As mentioned above, fried barracuda is probably the most common way this fish is prepared. Barracuda fried fillets, sandwiches, nuggets, and more are often spotted on menus in the southern part of the United States. Other ways to cook this meaty fish is to steam it, barbecue it, or bake it. You may want to marinade the fish in an acid base like lime or lemon juice for a while first to reduce the fishy flavor.
Barracudas may not look like they’re very tasty, but don’t let looks fool you. This fish is extremely flavorful and can be prepared in a variety of ways to satisfy a seafood-loving palate. It might have too much fishy flavor for some, but if you’re used to eating strongly-flavored seafood, you could do much worse than digging into a plate of barracuda meat.
You have read the info and know it is safe to eat barracuda, especially the smaller ones. So now it is time to cook your catch. Here are a few of our recommended barracuda recipes.
These thin, predatory fish are found mostly in tropical waters, but they can survive in more temperate areas of the world as well. Sport fishermen enjoy catching these strong-jawed fish because they are fun to reel in, even if they sometimes will take their bait and snap their line. Even though their tendency to follow divers is perceived as ominous, it’s most likely just their natural curiosity about something new in their waters. They aren’t that dangerous to humans.
However, you need to be careful of those teeth even once the fish is out of water. They can still cut you open and could contain enough bacteria to cause an infection. Depending on the species, of which there are more than 25, Great Barracuda can grow to over six feet in length and weigh up to 100 pounds. The average size of an adult barracuda is two feet and 12 pounds, and size matters when it comes to eating them.