Should You Bleed Mullet After You Catch Them?

Okay, so you’ve just caught a mess of mullet…whats next? Should you bleed mullet out before smoking or frying them up?

The short answer is yes, you should bleed out mullet and most other fish before cooking.

In fact, when you go to the fish market, most of the time the fish are gutted and gills removed; which is the same process as bleeding a fish out!

In this article ill explain why bleeding out a mullet will make it taste better, and give you some tips on how to do it quickly and easily.

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Should You Bleed Mullet?

Most anglers bleed their mullet catches because it protects the flavor profile and eliminates a muddy or strong taste often associated with the taste of mullet.

Should You Bleed Mullet After You Catch Them?

Mullet eat a wide variety of foods along the seafloor, including marine microorganisms and decaying plant and marine life called detritus. This diet can sometimes translate to strong flavors and odors in the meat, and bleeding mullet out helps reduce those flavor profiles.

It will also make the cleaning process go much easier for both you and the fish!

Does Bleeding A Mullet Make It Taste Better?

Bleeding a mullet brings out is natural, buttery undertones and prevents the fish from having an off-taste. Fish that aren’t bled (or more likely, improperly bled) can have a slightly strong taste that could be anywhere from metallic to overly salty.

Is Mullet A Good Eating Fish?

Yes! Mullet is ideal for smoking and frying, and bleeding them out will help accentuate their flavor.

The meat will be flaky and tender, without having that fishy odor or aftertaste. Mullet that is cleaned up well will fry up golden brown with a tender, white inside that just slightly bounces back without mushing due to overcooking.

But the same goes for smoking, and the lack of blood will allow the protein to cook thoroughly and the natural sugars to caramelize, a process that’s critical for obtaining that perfect smoke ring.

In certain areas of the world, mullet is considered a delicacy! For example, fried mullet is especially popular in states like Florida, Texas, Louisiana South Carolina, and North Carolina.

And in other parts of the world, mullet roe is a premium delicacy that can be worth hundreds of dollars per pound!

How Do You Bleed A Mullet

Bleeding a mullet is generally the same as other fish. Give the fish time to cool down immediately after reeling it in so it isn’t difficult to work with. You’ll need a sharp knife, a cutting board, and a bucket (or a cleaning table nearby).

1) Insert the knife into the fish’s brain with a quick, sharp motion.

  • You can find the fish’s brain by feeling around for the soft spot just behind the eyes, where the mullet begins to widen.

2) Find the gills and lift them so you can slide your knife through.

  • With mullets, the gills can be on the smaller side, so you might only need to use a finger or two. Be sure to wear gloves, because it’s easy to cut yourself with a more narrow fish.

3) Slide the knife deep into the gills pocket and sever the main artery, from bottom to top.

  • You’ll make a sort of vertical, guillotine motion. Then flip the fish over and do it to the other side as well. Remember, you don’t have to cut too deeply; you want to sever the arteries, not the entire head.

4) Allow the fish to drain for up to a minute in a bucket of water.

  • You can move the fish around to speed up the process. If you’re using a cleaning table, you can cut the head and use the hose to flush out the arteries. Some people leave their fish hanging to bleed out, but this can be messy and isn’t as thorough in removing blood as water is.

5) Place fish on ice to retain its freshness.

  • If you have multiple mullets and you’re not sure how to fit them all, remember you can place them vertically, too. This works well if you’re using a bucket versus a wider cooler.

Do You Need To Bleed Mullet?

Bleeding a mullet is optional, and they are perfectly edible without the bleeding process. However, most anglers and cooks will agree that by bleeding a mullet first, you’ll enhance the flavor and have a cleaner and more firm fillet.

What Does Bleeding a Fish Do?

Bleeding fish has three main benefits. The process improves taste, produces a cleaner fillet, and removes strong flavors. Blood is rich in iron, sodium, and other minerals that can alter the taste of your filet. Fish that aren’t bled may have a slightly metallic or off-putting taste.

Letting the blood drain immediately after catching is a sure-fire way to eliminate any unwanted odors or flavors in your resulting dish,

Bleeding a fish will also ensure that your filets are cleaner and more tender. Even with cutting a fish’s head on the boat or in the cooler, the body can still flop around. The more the fish batters around, the higher chance your meat will be bruised or contaminated.

This is why it’s a good idea to let the fish’s blood out after capture. Draining the blood takes only a few seconds and will immediately stop the fish from flopping.

Is Bleeding a Fish More Humane?

Some folks consider bleeding a fish to be a faster, more humane way of ending the fish’s life. You can do this by either inserting a sharp knife into the brain or cutting the gills under the fish’s throat.

The last thing you want to do is to hack the fish trying to find the brain so it will stop moving. Make one forceful, clean cut, and then sever the artery behind the gills. If severing the brain stunned the fish but did not kill it, you can be sure that bleeding the fish will do the rest.

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