Can You Eat Sturgeon?

Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts and welcome to my post covering an often asked question when it comes to hunting those dinosaurs of the deep… can you eat Sturgeon? Now, the short answer is absolutely, if fact, it is actually an extremely popular table fish that can be prepared in a large and versatile number ways.

The flesh is commonly described as being mild and delicious without being too ‘fishy’ – which as we all know, is often used by people to describe the type of fish they like to eat.

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So, let’s look at the in and outs of consuming Sturgeon below…

What are Sturgeon?

So, before we start, let’s just quickly recap what we are talking about here. Sturgeon are a predominately saltwater species native the entire northern hemisphere from North America across to Asia and Europe.

Their name is actually used to describe around 27 different species with most living in salt water and some fresh. And as with Striped Bass, some even move from salt to fresh water to spawn as well.

Sturgeon fish are generally distinguished by their long, spiney, boney looking bodies with prehistoric looking bumps and spikes along their top and sides. Many have four or so whiskers protruding from their under side near their mouths as well.

Their size range varies from species to species however most can grow up to 2 – 5 meters in length and weigh up to 1000kg. In fact, Beluga Sturgeon have been known to reach lengths of 7 meters (24ft) and weigh over 1500kg (3500lb).

Note: Due to the fact that the Sturgeon is considered as an endangered species, most states and jurisdictions implement strict seasonal limitations as well as ‘bag limits’ on catches, line limitations and even determine whether they can be kept at all. For this reason, most commercially consumed fish of this species is sourced from farms rather than in the wild.

Can you eat Sturgeon - Sturgeon with lemon

Can you eat Sturgeon?

Definitely! Sturgeon is an extremely popular table fish with a firm texture and mild, refined taste. It can be eaten raw or cooked in any number of ways. And don’t skimp on the their caviar – it is a delicacy.

Are they any good?

Sturgeon produce a flesh that is firm with a refined but mild taste. They are similar to most saltwater species in that the flesh is clean and not very oily.

As they can grow quite large (very very large in fact) however it is worthwhile keeping in mind that:

  • Older varieties tend to taste a lot stronger or ‘fishier’ so if you are planning to keep one for dinner, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the biggest one you catch.
  • Larger varieties are also more susceptible to worms and parasites and well as higher levels of mercury in some locations.

In most cases, as long as you keep them of legal size without going for the biggest one you can find and you are within your bag limit, then you are generally ok.

Preparation

Unlike most white meated fish, it is actually recommended that you bleed any Sturgeon you plan to keep immediately after capture. It is also always a good idea to place them on ice as soon as possible in an ice slurry in a cooler which is generally a ratio of 2 parts ice to 1 part water for this purpose.

Note: If you have managed to catch your Sturgeon in fresh water, just make sure you clean it thoroughly first as it is here that they can pick up impurities not found in salt water.

From here, preparation will be determined by your planned consumption. If they are to be eaten whole then you will need to clean and scale them beforehand – which is actually no mean feat on this type of fish. I have also read in many places that Sturgeon is better if it is ‘aged’ for 48 hours in the fridge prior to consumption.

If you plan to pan fry, then you can either scale and fillet or fillet and skin – same as if you plan to cut it into steaks. Keep the meat refrigerated or on ice at all times before and after preparation.

Can you freeze uncooked fillets?

Yes – Raw Sturgeon can be frozen for up to at least 12 months. It must at the very least be gutted and cleaned and placed in an airtight bag (ziplock bags are good here) prior to being placed in the freezer.

You cannot however freeze the caviar.

Can you eat Sturgeon - Sturgeon on ice

Can they be eaten raw?

Absolutely – this is considered a great species for the sushi or sashimi wheel. It was even made into a Tartare on a recent episode of Iron Chef too.

How to cook Striped Bass

At the end of the day, due to its white flesh, Sturgeon can be prepared in the same manner as most other species in that they can be:

Grilled

Sturgeon fillets or steaks can be cooked over charcoal or gas grills with any and all spices and seasonings as you see fit. Below is a common recipe:

  1. Heat a grill hot but not smoking.
  2. Pat fillets dry then spread butter or oil over the non-skinned side (or both if fillet is skinned) along with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill fillets until just cooked (fillets start to flake) – Do not overcook as the meat will go dry.
  4. Consume with salad or grilled vegetables.

You can of course use any other herbs or spices on the flesh to taste.

Pan Fried

As above, but in a pan – I like to add garlic to the butter when I pan fry white fish fillets with the salt and pepper as well. I have seen many pan fried fish recipes with Asian spices used too so that is also worth a try. Of course, they can also be crumbed as well which entails:

  1. Gather three bowls and in the first, place some flour, eggs (beaten) in the second and breadcrumbs in the third.
  2. Pat dry each fillet (skin on or off to preference) and then cover in flour.
  3. Sink the flour covered fillets into the egg mixture and then cover in breadcrumbs
  4. Shallow fry in the oil of your choice in a pan large enough to hold the full size of the fillet.
  5. Spritz with lemon juice and consume with fries (chips), salad or whatever else takes your fancy.

Note: For extra flavour, add salt and pepper to the flour or even some grated Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs. I have even seen some good recipes using BBQ rubs on the fillets as well.

Can you eat Sturgeon - Sturgeon steaks

Baked

For this last option, the fish is cooked whole in the oven. A cooking example is as below:

  1. Make sure the fish is cleaned and scaled.
  2. Score the skin with a sharp knife (This will stop it shrinking too much from the heat)
  3. Cover the outside with a lubricant such as butter or oil
  4. Fill the cavity with whatever takes your fancy (common options are garlic, herbs, spices, lemon, tomatoes or mustard)
  5. Bake in the oven until just cooked – again, it will dry out if left too long

Note: Based on my research over a number of recipes, a 1.5lb Fillet will take around 15 – 30 minutes in a 375 deg oven.

Sturgeon can also be Smoked or Poached in a vacuum sealed bag as well.

Raw- Sashimi

As above, Striped Bass is a very popular fish of choice when it comes to use in sushi or sashimi. If you are looking to go this way then:

  1. Lay your fillet out onto a cutting board – make sure it is completely thawed if it has been frozen.
  2. Using a very sharp filleting knife (or chefs knife), slice thin slices to personal preference.
  3. Present on your plate with dipping sauce of your choice – I personally love a good sweet and sour sauce myself but you can use soy, sweet chilli or even a nice chilli oil if you prefer.

Can you eat Sturgeon - Baked Sturgeon

Caviar

When it comes to the caviar, it is always best to keep things simple. It should be served chilled and served as follows:

  • Place Caviar in a crystal or glass serving bowl and place on a bed of crushed ice.
  • Serve with bread, toast crackers or savoury pancakes.
  • Add condiments such as cream, dill or lemon etc. to taste.

Caviar should not be cooked although it can be placed on top of hot food for extra flavor. Some even add it to the blender for sauces and marinades as well – although I would probably not go for the Beluga stuff here.

Conclusion

And there you go – my response to the question of whether you can eat Sturgeon. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences – or recipes – would love to see your recipes below too.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time

Have fun

Paul

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Paul