Are Jack Crevalle Good to Eat? Well…It’s Complicated!

There are many species of game fish that get a bad reputation for being inedible.

Jack crevalle often rank high on that list. So… are the rumors true? Are jack crevalle good to eat or as bad as everyone says?

Let’s dive in and find out…You may be surprised.

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Are Jack Crevalle A Good Eating Fish?

Jack Crevalle have a reputation as excellent fighters, but when it comes to a taste and flavor, most anglers agree they are poor quality. The meat is dark with blood, and the oily texture makes cooking them to western standards a challenge.

However, does that mean no one eats them?

Heck no! In fact, in other parts of the world and in the United States people do eat Jack Crevalle.

I’ve personally eaten it myself while on backcountry camping trip in the everglades…and it was much better than I anticipated (disclaimer: I was starving!).

Are Jack Crevalle Good to Eat? Well...It's Complicated!
Photo courtesy of billytheflorist

If I had to choose between eating jack crevalle and other popular species like cobia, snook, redfish or pompano…well the jack crevalle would be last every time.

But, here at SaltwaterMecca we believe fish are only as good as you cook them! With the right recipe and a little bit of preparation, even the worst fish can be turned into amazing dishes!

What Do Jack Crevalle Taste Like?

Jack crevalle, also known as “common jack” in many areas, are notable for their strong, fishy taste and firm meat. These qualities tend to give them a poor edibility rating from anglers.

Because jack crevalle are extremely fast swimmers, they need much more blood flow throughout their bodies. This gives them a darker color to their meat, which also results in a stronger taste.

The increased blood flow and dark meat will produce this taste more so than fish that swim slowly and have a lighter color to their meat. 

Many anglers will compare the taste of jack crevalle to that of a large rainbow trout.

The texture, however, is much tougher. Their strong muscles lead to tough and hard-to-process meat that takes extra care to cut and prepare. 

How to Prepare Jack Crevalle for Eating

If you are determined to eat jack crevalle, there are a few simple things that you can do in order to make the meat taste better.

What you do directly after catching the fish will have a large impact on just how well the fish tastes and how the meat turns out. 

Immediately after catching a jack crevalle, you will want to bleed it out. As we previously mentioned, these fish have a lot of blood flow to their muscles and you want to get rid of it as soon as possible. To bleed the fish, cut or rip the gills and allow the blood to drain out. 

Not only will this get rid of most of the blood, but it will keep it from continuing to pump into the meat.

Once the fish has stopped bleeding out, place it on ice until you can get it home or properly finish cutting it up. The fresher the fish is when you prepare and eat it, the better it will taste. 

To cut up these fish, you need to be aware of the bone structure. They are a little different than most other fish, so you should fillet them from the top and bottom.

Ensure that you are using an extremely sharp fillet knife as this will be used to separate the blood vein from the meat.

Do the best that you can to cut out the dark red section in the center of the fillet called the bloodline, as this will also lead to a better-tasting result. 

How to Cook Jack Crevalle

Once you have your fish filleted, you are ready to start cooking it!

There are many different ways to cook and prepare jack crevalle, but no matter what method you choose you will want to soak the meat in order to bring out the strong tastes inside of it. 

Most people will soak the fillets in either milk or buttermilk.

The protein in the milk will combine with the different molecules in the fish to pull out the fishy taste that jack crevalle are known for. The longer you allow the fillets to soak, the better toasting the meat should be. 

Around two days should be long enough to soak the meat in milk, and you should rotate them periodically. From here, you can cook them however you would like. A popular option is to pat off the excess liquid and then season them healthily with steak seasoning. 

From here, throw the fillets on a hot cast-iron skillet and fry them. Each side should only take a few minutes to cook, and when the meat starts to become very flaky then you will know that it is done.

Another option is to grill the fillets, over hot charcoal or wood to add a smokey flavor. This can help deter some of the strong fishy taste.

Pull them out and they are ready to enjoy! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Eat Jack Crevalle Raw? 

Even though jack crevalle are not the primary food target of most anglers, they still are caught and eaten raw when prepared as ceviche or sashimi.

This does come with its own set of risks, however, as jack crevalle are known to have worms and other parasites that can be easily killed by cooking the meat. 

I do not recommend eating jack crevalle raw, but nonetheless some people do it.

Do Jack Crevalle Have Ciguatera?

Ciguatera fish poisoning is an illness that is caused by eating fish that have been contaminated with certain marine microalgae toxins.

Those who contract this illness will often experience symptoms such as vomiting, extreme nausea, and numbness of hands, fingers, and toes. 

Many reef fish can have ciguatera, jack crevalle are one of them. There have been several cases of ciguatera poisoning that have been directly linked to jack crevalle, but it appears much less often than in other jack species.

The horse-eyed jack is much more well-known as being a carrier of ciguatera. 

Anglers should still exercise some caution when it comes to jack crevalle and ciguatera. The toxins that cause ciguatera do not change a fish’s taste, smell, or appearance, so there is no way to truly tell if one has been contaminated. 

You cannot kill the toxins by heat, so even a cooked fish can still cause this illness. While ciguatera is rare, avoid eating the fish’s eggs, head, liver, or intestines as these have the highest concentrations of toxins. 

Do Jack Crevalle Have Worms?

Jack crevalle can sometimes be infected with parasites that can show as worms in the meat or organs. The most common type of worm found in jack crevalle is a type of tapeworm.

These worms are usually found embedded in the muscle and under the skin of many types of fish, not just jack crevalle. 

Even though removing worms from a jack crevalle can ruin the look of your fillets, many worms are actually quite harmless.

There are, however a few types of worms that can and do infect humans. In order to avoid this, just be sure to avoid eating any raw or undercooked fish meat. 

You May Also Like: The Best Time To Catch Jack Crevalle

Growing up in Florida, I’ve been surrounded by saltwater my entire life…and I love sharing my passion with others.

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