Recipe for Shovelnose Shark (Guitarfish)

Ken Jones

Staff member
Date: August 14, 1999
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Steve
Subject: Guitarfish

Can anyone tell me if shovelnose guitarfish's are good to eat and possibly how you would prepare them...

Posted by Ken Jones

Guitarfish (Shovelnose Shark) — This most primitive of rays (along with thornback rays) is also one of the best eating. In shape it is quite different from most rays. It has relatively narrow "wings" which are useless for eating; instead it has a long, thick broad-based tail that is full of meat. Guitarfish are delicious and the method below is an easy way to clean them.

To clean them:
1. Lay the guitarfish on a flat surface.
2. Make two cuts down the back from the disk to the end of the tail (as though you were cutting on either side of a normal backbone).
3. Make a cut from the top of each previous cut out to the sides of the disk.
4. Open the skin up along the cuts.
5. You will see two fillets, one on either side, running the length of the tail.
6. Reach in and simply work the meat loose with your fingers, then remove the two fillets from the body cavity.
7. Trim off any red meat.

Posted by Snookie

Dear Steve, Ken is certainly right about the shovelnose. It is a delicious piece of meat. For all practical purposes if you want to save space, just cut the tail off at the base of the body. Throw the body over into the ocean so that it isn't wasted in the garbage. As it deteriorates, it becomes food for other fish, crabs, etc. You now have just the tail to put in your bucket to carry home to prepare. Enjoy it. It is a rich sweet meat.

Posted by FELIX68

Once you get the meat out of the tail you'll have some large meaty filets that are great for skewering and the meat holds up well on the grill. Try marinating in lime, cilantro, and some diced jalepeno for two hours or longer, skewer and BBQ.

Posted by Steve

What’s the minimum regulation size?

Posted by Ken Jones

There is no minimum size on shovelnose sharks. However, for practical purposes it makes no sense killing the smaller fish. Only keep fish that are large enough to have lots of meat in their tail.

Posted by SD Fisherman on February 14, 2002

Shovelnose... Any suggestions?

Posted by Corbinaman1

The meat is on the tail section of them...someone said it makes good fish and chips... I normally release shovelnose, but decided to keep this one [ a 25-pound fish] since it was a big one. All I did was put salt, pepper, and butter on the steaks, and bake it. Had a flaky mild white meat and tasted very good!

Posted by Lobsterman

Hey guys, I have a recipe for ya. Ive tried it at least 5 or 6 times, once even putting it in a tortilla for shovelnose burritos. I have done it sort of like fajitas.

First cut up 1 onion, 1 green pepper, 1 red pepper, 2 tomatos, and some crushed fresh garlic. Then cut your meat into bite size cubes. Then heat your pan or wok and add butter. Add fish first for maybe 2 minutes. Then add all vegetables except for tomatoes. Season with Laury's and pepper while cooking. Cook on very high heat and add a bit of water anytime it seems a bit dry or if it looks like it is burning (this is very important). Mix it around often but as the fish starts to get near done be careful with it cause it will break apart easy. Add tomatoes last, maybe 2-3 minutes before it is done. This way they don't shrivel up into nothing. I like to cook it till the meat turns dark on the outside. Cooking time is maybe 10 - 15 minutes. Good luck

Posted by baitfish

A mild fish with a great texture... It is like halibut, it is good anyway you cook it. My favorite though is to get some Cajun batter mix and add a little beer to it. Then deep fry it and make some seasoned potatoes! YUM! It does well with Bernstein's Italian Dressing as a marinade and then BBQ'd in tin foil. Adam, Will work for fish!

Posted by kcruise

My personal favorite is to marinade the meat in Lemon Pepper sauce, then BBQ. Served with rice and veggies, a little lemon... Also, used for fish tacos isn't bad either.

Posted by Ken Jones on June 16, 2004

What's your best recipe for shovelnose guitarfish?

Posted by Snookie

Shovelnose guitarfish are best fixed as a shovelnose cocktail. Take the tail of the shovelnose and boil or simmer it until done. The skin will peel off easily, and the cartilage will come away from the meat easily too. Cool the meat. Make a cocktail sauce such as the kind you would use for crab or shrimp Louie. Chip some celery into the mix. Add the amount of the tail meat that will mix well. Chill and eat. It is a rich Louie but very tasty. The cocktail sauce that I make is Heinz cocktail sauce plus a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce and Horseradish (about a heaping teaspoon). Good luck and good eating, Snookie.

Posted by corbinaman1

I only kept one big one once...I had it steaked and baked it with salt, pepper, butter, and a little garlic. Was suprisingly good. I think the key is to immediately ice it and clean it as this prevents the urea from accumulating in the meat (if you choose to keep them).

Posted by Sinker on September 27, 2004

Shovelnose Kabobs — Due to popular demand, I have decided to post my famous shovelnose kabob recipe (courtesy of Mike, A.k.a. "Flipper"). If you have never eaten shovelnose shark (guitar fish), I highly recommend making these kabobs. Its not a complicated process, and as with most kabobs... the BBQ is the key! ...but if there is anything that I say is a must to get these kabobs to come out right, its the pre-preparation.

Pre-preparation consists of simply cleaning the shovelnose (guitarfish) correctly and choosing choice cuts for your grill. Be sure to chill the meat and cut out any red meat (marbling). The shovelnose steak is long and tubular, so making your kabob chunks its easy. Simply cut them into 2 inch cubes and wash them well in cold water.

Milk Bath: Soak your meat chunks in milk (do not use non-fat) for 30 to 45 minutes. When done, strain milk and pat dry the meat with paper towel.

Marinade: Soak your meat in your favorite Chinese marinade or make your own like I do. Marinade for 2 hours.
• 1/2 cup Soy Sauce (can use lite)
• 1/4 cup dry sherry (not cooking Sherry !)
• 1/2 tsp grated fresh Ginger Root
• a touch of Brown Sugar
This is just the basic, you can also add finely chopped garlic, hot pepper oil, Tabasco, Sesame oil, or chopped green onions

Now the meat is good to go, and your ready to skewer your kabobs with the shovelnose chunks, and your favorite fruits and vegitables... below is basically what I like to throw on the skewer with the shovelnose.
• green bell pepper
• yellow bell pepper
• red onion
• red potato (pre-boil potato's 10 minutes)
• pineapple
• shovelnose (guitarfish)

Lightly brush on (using glaze brush) Canola or Vegetable oil onto your shovelnose chunks. This will help keep them from sticking to your grill. Now your ready to BBQ! -10 minute cook time (turning kabobs occasionally on grill).ENJOY!
Last edited: