Are Stingray Fish Good to Eat? You May Be Surprised!

Stingray may be at the bottom of the list when it comes to desirable fish to eat for dinner…or are they?

Many anglers in the United States and other western countries don’t even know you can actually eat stingrays.

A lot of mystery surrounds them: Are stingray fish good to eat? Can you get sick from eating them? How do you clean and cook them and what the heck do they taste like?!

I’m going to answer all of that and more…and trust me by the end of this article you may just think of stingrays in a different light next time your out fishing…

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Are Stingray Good to Eat?

Although stingrays look very different than your average fish, many anglers still wonder if they can be eaten. And if you can eat them, are they actually worth eating, and do they taste good? 

Stingrays can be cooked and prepared into delicious meals despite their unique look and shape. They are not commonly thought of as table fare in western countries, but in places such as Malaysia, they are a common delicacy. 

Are Stingray Fish Good to Eat? You May Be Surprised!

They are often not thought of as food since they provide a very low yield of meat relative to their size. Many people are often unaware that they are edible or believe them to be poisonous due to the long spines on their tails. 

What Does Stingray Meat Taste Like?

Not only are stingrays edible, but they are extremely delicious when prepared correctly!

Stingray meat can be eaten baked, grilled, fried, or even eaten raw. The meat is packed full of different nutrients and vitamins, such as vitamins D, B, B1, B2, and C. 

Those that have eaten stingray say that it tastes like a combination of fish with scallops or fish with lobster. It is often described as having a mild taste with a slightly sweet flavor. Although it can be chewy if prepared incorrectly.

The flaky yet dense texture of the meat helps to retain this flavor regardless of what cooking method you use. Many people would even describe the texture to be similar to chicken, although appearing extremely different. 

Can You Get Sick From Eating Stingray?

Because of how unusual stingrays look and their lack of popularity as table fare, many people often wonder if it is possible to get sick from eating a stingray. Thankfully, stingray is safe to eat in most situations. 

As long as a stingray is properly cleaned and cooked, it poses no threat to a person’s health. If it is not cooked properly, there are potential parasites and worms in the bodies of a stingray that can make a person sick. 

Besides the potential for various parasites, stingray meat is very safe to eat and even extremely healthy. 

Does Stingray Meat Contain Mercury or Ciguerta?

One of the biggest hazards to eating some saltwater fish is the threat of high levels of mercury in their bodies. Ingesting high levels of mercury can cause serious health problems for humans, and should be avoided when possible. 

Luckily, stingrays have extremely low levels of mercury in their bodies when compared to other species of saltwater fish. 

Another common concern amongst some species of fish is the threat of ciguatera. Ciguatera poisoning is caused by eating fish that contains toxins made by microalgae called Gambierdiscus toxicus. 

Those who get ciguatera poisoning from eating contaminated fish may deal with side effects such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and tingling or strange sensations in fingers or toes. Almost any type of saltwater fish can contract ciguatera and pass it along when eaten. 

Stingrays can carry ciguatera as well. You cannot get rid of it through cooking the meat, so your best bet is to use as much caution when eating any fish that are known to be able to carry the ciguatera toxins. 

Are Stingrays Poisonous to Eat?

Stingrays get their name from the long, venomous spines on their tails. When provoked, a stingray will use this as a defense mechanism. A person stung by a stingray can experience intense pain, nausea, or weakness.

Despite having venom in their tails, stingrays are perfectly safe to eat. Their meat is not poisonous or venomous and can be safely eaten without worrying about the toxins that reside in the spines on their tails. 

Which Stingray Species Are Best to Eat?

Almost all stingrays are edible, but which ones are the best to eat?

Because stingrays are not normally eaten, there is little indication as to which species taste better than another. Most will say they all taste very similar to one another.

Since most stingrays taste similar, the best ones to eat are those that are larger in size. Larger stingray species such as southern stingrays, yellow stingrays, and roughtail stingrays are better for eating as they provide much bigger yields of meat. 

Due to the unique shape of the body, a stingray does not have as much meat as a regular fish. A smaller stingray might be easier to catch, but will have much less meat and may not be worth the effort of cleaning and eating. 

As long as the stingray that you catch is prepared properly, all species of rays can be great to eat. The taste amongst species will only differ slightly depending on their main food sources and size. 

If you decide to catch and eat a stingray, always consult with the fishing regulations where you are fishing. Some species of stingray may be protected, and in many cases, you need a valid fishing license.

How Do You Clean a Stingray for Eating?

Stingrays can be somewhat tricky to clean and prepare for cooking due to their unique shape. One must also be mindful of the venomous spines on their tail. Despite this, cleaning a stingray for eating is a basic and simple process once you learn the right steps! 

To clean a stingray, you will need a sharp fillet knife and an open place to work. The first step is to remove the tail from the stingray. Take your knife and cut the tail off at the base. If you cut too close to the barb, you risk cutting into the venom sacks. 

After carefully cutting off and disposing of the tail, cut the wings of the ray. Do this by slicing with your knife from the back of the wing by the base towards the front.

The meat of the wings is very soft, so if you notice that the cutting becomes more difficult you are most likely too close to the body.

By running your knife along the body, you should separate the wing from the central portion of the stingray. Do this on both sides and discard the body. You now should have two wings to work with, and this is where the meat is. 

Carefully lifting the skin away from the meat on the wing, begin slicing underneath it. Go slowly and carefully to avoid cutting into the meat and only separating the skin from the main portion of the wing. Lift up on the skin as you cut and the two should slowly start to separate as you slice. 

Finally, lay the wing down flat and cut into it laterally. You should begin separating a fillet away from the wing thanks to your cut that separated the skin. Once you have pulled the fillet off of the wing of the ray, make another slice and pull the second one away as well. 

Continue this process until all of the meat is off of the wing and in nice, small fillets! Once you have finished one wing of the stingray, go on to the next one. When you are done, you should have boneless, skinless fillets that are ready to be cooked. 

What Is The Best Way to Cook Stingray?

There are many different ways to prepare and cook stingrays, and all of them will produce a delicious meal, thanks to the great taste and texture of the meat.

Because they taste similar to scallops, many scallop recipes are extremely popular with stingrays.

One of the most popular and best ways to cook stingrays is called mock scallops. This recipe is easily made with some stingray fillets, two eggs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a cup of bread crumbs. 

To make mock scallops with your stingray, cut the fillets into small cubes. Lightly add some salt, pepper, and garlic powder until they are all seasoned. Beat the two eggs in a pan or bowl, and then add in the cubes. Take the cubes out and then dip them into the bread crumbs. 

From here, you will simply fry the cubes of the stingray at 350 degrees Farenhight until they are a golden brown color. Not only does this recipe taste amazing, but it requires very few ingredients and is incredibly easy to make! 

Another popular recipe is Broiled Stingray.

In order to make this meal, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 ounces of melted butter
  • Around 1 pound of stingray fillets
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon of paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of parsley
  • ½ teaspoon of ground white pepper

Set your broiler to low or medium heat. Mix the melted butter and lemon juice together in a bowl, then brush this mixture over the stingray fillets in a broiler pan.

Mix together the paprika, parsley, and pepper and sprinkle them over the top of the fillets after coating them with the lemon juice and butter.

Broil the fillets for around 10 minutes. Brush them again with any leftover lemon juice and butter as well as the paprika and parsley seasoning before serving.

In only around 20 minutes, you have a healthy and delicious meal made out of stingray that everyone will enjoy! 

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