Recipes for Barracuda

Ken Jones

Staff member
McClane’ s Fish Buyer’s Guide: Pacific Barracuda — (A) Flavor: mild (B) Texture: firm (C) Flake: small (D) Fat Content: low (E) Odor (Raw): mild: (F) Color after Cooking: white (G) Cooking Methods: all methods

Posted by Ken Jones

From Pier Fishing In California, 2nd. Ed. — Although once common to many piers, and (once) considered a fine eating fish, barracuda are relatively rare (at piers) today. Even fewer are kept as food (even if they're the legal size). Instead, most seem to be discarded, used as pet food, or mixed into the soil as fertilizer (and the remains do make the roses at home look pretty impressive). One discussion on the Message Board concerned how to prepare these toothy adversaries.

Date: June 23, 2000
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Hun
Subject: Cook'n barracuda?

Cook'n barracuda, but not sure how? Don't even know whether it's edible or not? Don't bother messing with this toothy, log-like, rather than a beauty, ugly creature? It seems odd that barracuda is totally misconceived by many anglers as being a poor tasting fish but that's quite understandable because it indeed looks not like a gift from God, but a mistake. Most important of all, it never looks like a fish to me. It’s odd not because it is ugly but because you never even want to try it. You rely on the words of others. What do I think? In the beginning, I had been misled by others who told me to throw it back, because it was not good eating. And I was totally convinced! But, now I contend barracuda is truly one of the better, or probably one of best, eating saltwater fish I've ever known so far — but only if it's from clean water and cooked in an appropriate manner. Well, there might be cons and pros depending on how you cook h'm, and here's mine:

Steamed Barracuda

Ingredients — Paste hot pepper (one scoop), soy sauce, 1/4 cup of water, assorted vegetables, ginger, garlic, etc.

Preparation/Cooking — Start boiling with above ingredients for the first few minutes, then put finely cut barracuda, and cook slowly for about half an hour, up to an hour. Important — it seems to me, enough ginger helps meat taste better, and cook very slowly, no hurry!

The method of fine-steaming (very little water please) barries does good for excellent tasting. I almost guarantee, especially for its 'roes'. Don't exclude roes, but cook 'em together. And, go fishin'.

Posted by Scott

What is Paste hot pepper? Is that a name brand or something? How much is a scoop? How much ginger do you use? About a teaspoon? Sounds good; can't wait to try it.

Posted by Monkfish

It’s good fried fresh...but it doesn't freeze good over extended periods. I've found it to be excellent when the bloodline is removed... then egged and dipped in "panko" which is Japanese style extra crunchy rice crumbs. It's also really good Tempura style if you have the time for that....or good old regular bread crumbs is great as well. Just treat it right after catchin' and they're not bad. Some claim it's good smoked...I've never tried it that way.

Posted by Gone Fishing

I have heard that some species of barracuda are poisonous to eat. Can anyone shed some light on this.

Posted by Tung Tran

I heard of that too. If you catch a fish and put it in a bucket the body will curve into a U. This will cause some sort of organ or something to break open. Just remember when you catch your fish to keep it straight. Its really unlikely that you could get poisoned. Just remember to keep your fish straight and you'll be safe.

Posted by Snookie

The only way a barracuda would be poisonous is if it is not treated right after caught. If you let it ripen in the hot sun long enough, you will be eating rotten fish, and it will or could make you sick. Other than that, according to Dr. Halstead who specializes in dangerous marine animals, the barracudas are NOT poisonous.

Posted by Mola Joe

The barracuda that you've heard about is the great barracuda caught in the tropics, not our local fish. The problem with the great barracuda is some of them eat a certain type of small reef fish and contract the disease from them. It has something to do with the algae the small fish feed on and then passes on to the barracuda. Nothing to worry about with our fish.

Posted by Tar

I have eaten a lot of any fish the fresher the better. We used to clean 'um then slice them like a loaf of on…dredge in seasoned flour and fry in 1/2" oil of your choice ..tasty!

Posted by Ken Jones

Mola Joe is right, the barracuda reputed to be poisonous are "Great Barracuda," a tropical species distinct from those we catch in California. Also, there was a time when most people considered barracuda to be an excellent flavored fish, one of the best. However, they are not particularly good if caught on a party boat, stuffed into a gunny sack, allowed to heat up, twisted around, and turned into mush. Take care of the fish and they're a good eating species.

Posted by reefisher

BBQ Barracuda

Unless the fish is a very mild fish like rockfish or sole, I seldom fry them. Especially gamey fishes — like tuna, yellowtail, dorado, bonito, barracuda, tuna, and mackerel — which have, for a number of years now, become my favorite fish, and are best grilled. At least that is my opinion. Of course they are all best fresh. Not only that but from the minute you catch them think about the eating. Kill, bleed, chill, clean, fillet, whatever it takes. But even if you have frozen them, which is usually the majority of the fish caught, grilling can save the catch and be extremely savory. Here are some of my favorite marinades. Lime, jalapeno and Italian dressing.

• The first can be just lime juice and jalapeno blended together or add chopped garlic, salt, cilantro and olive oil.
• The second is just Best Seasons Italian dressing mix blended according to instructions, with vinegar, water and olive oil. Marinade washed and paper towel dried fish in either marinade for 1 to 4 hours in the fridge. Heat up the grill and use a fish grilling screen or fish basket to cook the fish in, basting with the marinating liquid.
• Another great marinade if you like Chinese type flavorings is Very Teriyaki marinade by Soy Vay, sold at Traders Joes. It is ginger, garlic, and sesame seed flavored kind of like the whole steamed fish flavor, Dr. Tsu style.

Grilling fish on the barbie is so much tastier and easier and less stinky than frying. I usually cook fish 2-3 times a week for my family of 5. When I ask "do you all want your fish fried or grilled?" 9 out of 10 times the answer is grilled.

Posted by Tung Tran

I usually just wrap the fish in foil and bbq it. The meat falls right off.

Ken Jones

Staff member
Posted by Ken Jones

If you study the old newspapers (early 1900s - 1930s) you soon see that barracuda were one of the most commonly caught fish and they were considered one of the best eating fish. I'm not exactly sure why the opinions have changed. I'm also not sure where this recipe comes from but...

Barracuda Tacos


• 3/4 cup Lawry's Mesquite Marinade with Lime Juice
• 1 pound barracuda fillets
• 3/4 cup sour cream
• 1 1/2 tablespoons Lawry's Taco Spices & Seasonings
• 2 cups shredded cabbage
• 8 flour tortillas
• Aluminum foil
• Non-stick cooking spray
• Salsa
• Lime wedges


• Combine the mesquite marinade with lime juice and the fish in a Ziploc bag and seal.
* Marinade in a refrigerator for two hours.
• Combine the sour cream and taco spices and seasonings.
• Chill.
• Remove the fish from marinade.
• Spray the aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray.
• Grill the fish on aluminum foil over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until fish just begins to flake.
• Cut fish in bite-size pieces; spoon into warm tortillas. Top with cabbage, sour cream mixture and salsa.

Brock Norris

Well-Known Member
Ken I like that recipe will try my grandpa used to tell me stories of catching yellow tail off the rain bow pier in long beach and then trading for barracuda preferred the taste i also like barracuda fresh underrated fish these days thanks

Ken Jones

Staff member
I think the problem most people have is due to the way they are handled. If you catch one on a party boat, stick it in a gunny sack, let it heat up in that sack for several hours, and then take it home it's had a chance to soften up and get mushy. Not nearly as good as fish that has been iced up and kept fresh.

BTW, wish I could have fished the Rainbow Pier.

Long_Beach_Rainbow_Pier_1_1939 copy.jpg