Recipes for Sturgeon

Ken Jones

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

McClane’ s Fish Buyer’s Guide: Green Sturgeon — (A) Flavor: robust (B) Texture: firm (C) Flake: none apparent (D) Fat Content: high (E) Odor (Raw): strong (F) Color after Cooking: off white (G) Cooking Methods: broil or bake

Posted by Ken Jones

For many years my mom loved in Pittsburg (now Bay Point) and whenever I made a visit from Boonville I would be sure to fish the piers that range from Pittsburg to Antioch. Later, I lived in Lodi and though it was a little further I still made frequent visits to all the piers from Rio Vista to Pittsburg. Quite often I would stop for lunch at the River View Restaurant that sits next to the downtown Antioch Pier. It's where I first tasted sturgeon, it's where I would often order sturgeon, and it's a place that still offers sturgeon (based upon a visit that Red Fish and I made in 2018).

From Pier Fishing In California, 2nd Ed. — Anglers who fish Bay Area piers for sturgeon should qualify as eternal optimists. Sturgeon are few and far between (at least on piers), have to be netted, which isn't always easy from a pier, and must be between 46 and 68 [now 40 and 60] inches long. Still, many legal-size fish are caught each year. The following recipe is one of the simplest in this book yet yields a delicious fillet.

The recipe is courtesy of Chuck Elliot, Pacific Charters, in Ilwaco, Washington.

Grilled Sturgeon


• 2 pounds of sturgeon fillets, approximately one inch thick
• 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing


First, marinate the fillets in salad oil dressing in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Next, simply place mesquite or hardwood chips in a gas barbecue. Place the well oiled fillets on the grill and cook for about 30 minutes over a medium flame. You need to watch the fillets and make sure they are not overcooked; the fillets are done when they flake with a fork.

Posted by Ken Jones on February 18, 2004

What's your favorite recipe for cooking sturgeon?

Posted by climberb9

Broiled or poached with dill, caraway, and lemon

Posted by Red Fish

Stuffed! You're not holding out on us are you Ken? You didn't catch one [a sturgeon] at Martinez Pier and are in need of preparation advice? The best sturgeon I ever had was at Piatti's Restaurant in Mill Valley. Second to that, smoked — if you like the smoked taste. Grilled (BBQ'ed) is very good (just make sure you don't dry it out or it will be tough). And, fried is very good if you can slice it thin enough. There is no real bad way to cook it it. I think Sopath likes it with a soy sauce mix.

Posted by StripeSideChaser

I'm disappointed... I thought you were going to give a really great stuffing recipe! I tried applying one of my halibut recipes (smothered in sauteed onions in mushrooms and then baked)... it didn't work out at all... even my kids wouldn't eat it, and they'll eat bat ray!

Posted by yakfisher

Barbequed, basted with a little butter and dill and tarragon or with lemon pepper. Needs a little wood smoke too.

Posted by mel

Smoked, lightly salted. Smoked with cherry wood soaked in water. Comes out like honey baked ham. Delicious! Of course you have to catch one first.

Posted by giflet

What does soaking it in water do for the fish, bring out the flavor more, rid the fish of unwanted flavor, tenderize the fish ????? Do you do this with other types of fish also, if so which types, Always up to learn new methods to cook the catch of the day.

Posted by 2d

I think Mel's talking about soaking the wood. it's a way to get the wood to smoke rather than burn.


I learned this a while back. Soaking the fillets will do all of the above you said. The one thing I have a problem doing is every time I catch a sturgeon I want to eat it that night. You have had sturgeon before Mel. Its awesome; I'm a freak over sturgeon meat. I soak it to get any mercury out of the fillets and also the meat is tense after cleaning it. It doesn’t do anything to the meat but makes it prime for whatever way you are going to make it. I also do this with Lepord Shark, Stripers, and sometimes salmon before smoking it.

Posted by mel

My brother soaks the wood, not the fish. He's the chef of the family and a really good one too. 2d is right. Soak the wood and get it nice and wet. Hopefully, I'll have a chance after this weekend to try it out for myself. I think I'll hit McNears on Saturday. I haven't checked the tides for myself but I heard they were going to be good. Another spot I might want to try is Paradise. You just have to know how to fish that spot, and also how to keep the crabs off your line.


My favorite would be in the oven with a shake in bake on it. Comes out delicious. Smoked is another way i like it just like Mel does. Mel hit it right on the nose. Along with catching one first is the key. I soak mine in water for about an hour before cooking it too!!!

Posted by StripeSideChaser

Bbq'd...with a dash of soy sauce, a bit of garlic and dill, then a light brushing of extra virgin olive oil.

Posted by phishinpat

Thai green curry w/ veggies...or red peanut curry(fish only)....the best i've ever had sturgeon meat.

Posted by bcooney

My favorite! I have not prepared it, just eaten it:

Osetrina Po-Russki (Sturgeon or Halibut in Tomato and Mushroom Sauce)

To serve 6 to 8


• 2 cups of thinly sliced onions
• 1 bay leaf
• 1⁄4 cup of scraped, coarsely chopped carrots
• 1⁄2 cup of scraped, coarsely chopped parsley
• 4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
• 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
• 4 cups of cold water
• 11⁄2 pounds of fresh sturgeon or halibut steaks
• 1⁄2 cup of thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
• 1⁄2 cup of heavy cream
• 1 tablespoon of capers, drained and washed
• 1⁄4 cup of pitted green olives, washed under cold running water


• Pre-heat the oven to 200°. In a 3- to 4- quart casserole combine the onions, bay leaf, carrots, parsley root, tomatoes, 3 tablespoons of butter and 4 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to moderate partially cover the casserole, and simmer undisturbed for 30 minutes. Pour the entire contents of the casserole into a fine sieve over a large bowl. Press down on the vegetables with the back of a large spoon to extraact all their juices befor discarding them.
• Return the strained stock to the casserole, add fish, and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover the casserole, and simmer 6 to 8 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and firm to the touch. Be careful not to overcook. With a wide spatula, transfer the fish to a deep ovenproof serving dish, cover it loosely with foil and keep it warm in the oven while you comple the sauce.
• Again bring the stock to a boil over high heat, and continue to boil briskly, uncovered, until it has cooked down to about 11⁄2 cups. Meanwhile, melt the 2 remaining tablespoons of butter in a 10- to 12-inch skillet over high heat, and when the foam has almost subsided, drop in the mushrooms. Reduce the heat to moderate and cooked for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring the mushroom occasionally, until they are soft and most of the juices have cooked away. Stir in the reduced stock and , off the heat, beat in the heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time. Then stir in the capers and olives and taste for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the fish and serve at once.

Posted by blennyboy

Give it to us rrraw and wrrrigling! --Gollum

Posted by climberb9

Fishheesss my presciooouussss, nice fishes. ROFL

Other Recipes and Hints —

Posted by Sturgy Slayer on November 17, 1999

How to clean a sturgeon. I know when I caught my first keeper.I didn't even know were to begin, so I hope these tips will help someone out on there first sturgeon.Maybe even this weekend!

First you must bleed your fish.If you don't do this the flesh will not be of the best quality. I making a deep cut at the base of the anal fin, angling the blade under the fin.When the blood flows freely and spurts out you've hit the main vein. Do this boat side, this allows enough time for the fish to bleed thoroughly.

Now cut off all the diamond plates in strips with a little skin attached between them. They should look like belts with diamonds on them. There are 5 rows of plates; don't miss the ones on the bottom of the fish. Now cut off all the fins except the tail fin. Now comes the fun part. Make a shallow cut all the way around the base of the tail about an inch up from the tail fin. Be very careful not to cut through the spinal column. Sturgeon don't have bones only cartilage so be careful it does cut easy. Now grab the tail fin and twist it like your winding up a big clock, you'll here some crunching popping sounds, go all the way around with a full twist. Now you can pull the cord out of the spine. Pull the tail straight back and the cord will come out as you do this. The cord is very long so keep on pulling. When the end comes out it will make a pop sound like a bottle of bubbly being uncorked. Gut the fish with a long cut from the anus to the head don't cut to deep and disturb the guts. Thoroughly wash the body cavity out with water.

Now you can pull the skin off with a pair of vise grips. Working from the head to the tail pulling at a 90 degree angle and not a 45 degree angle. This method will minimize the tearing of any flesh.

Now you're ready to steak the fish up. I like mine about 1 1/2 inches thick as this is a good all around thickness for cooking and smoking. Work from the tail to the head and get as close to the head as you can.

Make sure your blade is very sharp for these last steps. You must remove all the red flesh and the cartilage from the middle of the steaks. First I cut the cartilage and the cavity skin from the middle of the steak. The steak will now be two fillets. To get the red meat off the fillets, I squish them with my hand red flesh side down flat on a cutting board. Place the knife down on the board with the blade horizontal. The space between the board and the blade will be approx. 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch depending on the thickness of the knife handle. Simply slice through the squished fillet, red side down with the handle of the blade always touching the chopping board. This is the perfect way to quickly remove the 1/4 inch or less of red meat without wasting a morsel of the beautiful white flesh.

Now you're ready to enjoy some delicious firm white fillets of sturgeon. Some people say, and I must agree. That the flesh is more enjoyable after it's been allowed to age a day like fine beef is allowed to age a week or so. The reason being is that the flesh is tight and tense after a long battle with the happy angler.

I hope these tips will help you out when you're ready to clean your first..... king of the fresh water fishes

Posted by beko on December 27, 2000

Anyone know how to prepare sturgeon? What do I put on the sturgeon? What ingredients? Thanks

Posted by mjonesjr

There are many ways to prepare Sturgeon. First off you can prepare it as if it were any other fish. You can bake, broil, fry or grill it. As for an ingredient, you really don’t want to add to much of anything as it alters the true flavor of the fish. I would only add a small amount of seasoning salt to enhance the fishes flavor. I suggest trying one of my favorite ways below.

If you want to grill any fish on the BBQ then try the following. First have your fish ready with a small dish of oil, a brush and some all-purpose seasoning like Lawry’s season salt. Your grill of course should be hot and ready but it must be very well (scrubbed) cleaned. Start by using the brush to coat the fish to the point that it is not dripping. Then lightly sprinkle a little season salt and put flesh side down first if it still has skin on the other. Repeat this for all pieces. If grilling many pieces then coat everything on a platter first so it’s all cooked at the same time. You should also coat the grill with oil as well before placing on the coated fish. I do this with a paper towel so it’s easily disposed of instead of using a regular towel. As the fish cooks watch for the translucency (clear flesh) to turn to a solid color about half way through the thickness of the fish. When this has occurred then brush/coat the top of the fish before flipping it over and adding again a light amount of seasoning salt. A (Very) small amount of translucency should remain in the very center of the fish, as it will continue to cook when removed. If allowed to be of solid color, it tends to over cooked or dry out too much. What may appear to be a heavy use of oil though out this process is actually not over powering to the fish as it is virtually all burned off in the cooking process. The light amount of seasoning allows you to enjoy the true taste of the fish you have selected as well as the flavor and texture from the BBQ. Enjoy, mjonesjr

Posted by erisk240

I would like share my Sturgeon recipe... A couple of weeks ago my friend caught a sturgeon at Crockett. I spent an hour preparing it and all of my friends loved it...

First, I removed all the sharp little pin-like parts (?? I don't know how to call it, sorry), then I filleted and removed all the skin. (***keep all the skins, bones and the sturgeon's head!!!!)

First dish: "Deep-fried Stirgeon bone and skin" — since the sturgeon's backbone is kind of soft, it's edible. Cut the backbone in little piece and pat dry, coat with flour and deep fry until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Deep fried sturgeon's skin: although the skin feels like a sand paper. it tastes really really good. Same as the bone, pat dry and coat with flour and deep fry until golden brown. They taste really really good with cold beer!

Second dish: "Baked Sturgeon Collar" (Japanese Style) — Cut both collors from it's head, marinate with SAKE (Japanese wine) for 10 minutes, and sprinkle with salt. Broil in oven until golden brown. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice, then eat.

Third Dish: "Stir Fry Sturgeon" — ", cut sturgeon fillet into piece, heat pan and add oil, add fish and stir fry, add salt. (it's simple because you want to taste the FRESHNESS).

I didn't waste any parts of the Sturgeon!

Next time I'm thinking fish chowder....any good suggestion?

Posted by Bluegy on January 13, 2003

Big Rich said he caught a sturgeon and asked how to clean and cook it. First thing to do is prepare it properly and remove the cord. After that, i find the best way is to smoke it or do what Chinese people call a "firepot" meal. it's really nothing more than a pot of broth kept hot or boiling throughout the meal. Then each person literally submerges his/her piece of thinly sliced meat, seafood, or vegies (bok choy, broccoli, asparagus,...) into the broth. Cooking time is up to each individual. Then dip the stuff you just cooked into your favorite sauce or condoment like soy sauce, chili sauce, catsup, mayo .... don't forget the drinks!! Sturgeon is good for this since the thinly cooked slices will hold up well but remains tender and it does not contribute a powerfully fishy smell to the table or broth. At the end of the meal, you will have the broth left over. make your favorite stew from the leftovers or chowder out of this since its full of flavor from the assortment of cooked food.

Posted by rbdt52590

What is the purpose for removing the cord. Flavor, toxic?

Posted by bigrich

The cord is bad for the fish it make the meat bad so take it out.
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