Amberjack are a very diverse and interesting fish that are highly sought by anglers due to their large size and heavy fight.
While some may not enjoy the taste, they are surprisingly adaptable fish that can work well in many different dietary traditions and meals.
In fact, the amberjack are very heavily spread throughout the world and found in many areas. As a result, many fishing nations or cultures heavily eat amberjack.
This increasing interest in these fish has made them a more common and prevalent game species in many regions.
In this article, we’ll examine amberjack taste, highlight their texture, and provide more in-depth information.
These details include what amberjack taste like when combined with side dishes and three recipes that you can use to create delicious meals with this fish.
What Is Amberjack?
Amberjack is a name used to describe several Atlantic and Pacific fish from the Carangidae family.
They fall within the Seriola genus and are typically predatory fish that feed on pelagic fish, squid, crustaceous, and even sardines. Smaller ones may even eat plankton if fish are scarce.
They can grow to varying sizes, depending on their species, with some getting as big as 150 pounds. Female amberjack are usually bigger and are commonly sought by anglers.
They can be tricky to catch because they often spawn near shipwrecks and other protected areas to avoid danger.
What Do Amberjack Taste Like?
Amberjack have a fairly mild taste that is often compared to either mahi-mahi or tuna. They aren’t excessively fishy but can possess some undertones of various species.
They also have a fairly low oiliness rating but should be fairly juicy when cooked properly.
One fascinating thing about this fish is how its taste changes as it grows. Smaller amberjack are typically more highly sought after because they are milder and have fewer potential health problems.
Larger amberjack become incredibly intense and may also have issues like parasites.
What Do Amberjack Look Like?
Amberjack fish are fairly colorful and can often have a very deep blue-green back with yellow bands running throughout their body.
Some are no more than 20 pounds, while others are up to 150 pounds. They have a fairly simple oval shape and aren’t excessively handsome.
Amberjack meat is usually a light white when raw, which turns into a creamier white as the fish is cooked.
The texture is firm but flaky and creates rather thick and delicious steaks. This makes amberjack a popular option for thicker and juicier fish-based meals.
The amberjack is a colorful-looking fish, sporting a blueish-green back with a yellow band running from its mouth to tail. They vary in size depending on the species and can weigh over 150 pounds.
What Texture Do Amberjack Have?
Amberjack texture is meaty and juicy, with a firm flesh that isn’t chewy or inedible. The meat retains a firmness when cooked but doesn’t become too hard to eat.
That makes the amberjack a simple fish to prepare and eat, particularly for those who want a richer flavor array.
Compared to similar fish like the grouper, amberjack is a little tougher and not quite as likely to “melt in your mouth.”
However, it is easy to cook in multiple ways to give its meat a more tender texture that eats easier. The smaller the fish, the easier the meat is to cook.
Types Of Amberjack
Amberjack come in multiple types throughout both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. These include the greater amberjack, which is the largest Atlantic amberjack.
They can get to about 40 pounds or more and are often found near rocky reefs and through debris-ridden areas.
Other common amberjacks include the lesser, yellowtail, and yellowtail kingfish, almaco jack, and Japanese amberjack.
Each of these fish has slightly different tastes and textures but should all be fairly similar. That makes it easy to produce consistent and tasty recipes.
Where Do Amberjack Come From?
Amberjack are found heavily throughout both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and typically live in the deep sea or in protected areas in open water.
Some species may be concentrated in specific areas, such as around one coral reef, while others have a global spread.
This gives the amberjack a fairly diverse range that makes it easy to catch multiple species in a single area. Atlantic and Pacific varieties may even co-exist in certain areas near where the oceans meet, though most stick within their specific range.
Are Amberjack Healthy? Or Dangers Of Eating Amberjack?
Amberjack can be a very healthy fish when eaten at a specific size, usually anywhere between 5-15 pound fish.
Larger amberjack start losing some of their health, but smaller ones have a good amount of calories, high protein, and a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
Unfortunately, amberjack are also prey to various parasites and can be at a higher risk for mercury infestation, depending on their size.
Bigger amberjack (over 20 pounds) are usually most prone to this problem, meaning its best to stay away from eating them at that size.
How Do You Eat Amberjack?
Amberjack is typically eaten cooked and flavored with a variety of different spices and herbs. These include things like dill, chili, cilantro, basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika.
You typically marinate the fish in these spices are add them to the cooking pan while preparing them.
You may also serve them with multiple fish-friendly side dishes, such as pasta, garden salads, fries, coleslaw, grilled vegetables, and mashed potatoes.
These sides add a little more depth to your meal and help to accentuate the fish’s texture and flavor.
How Can I Store Amberjack?
Store amberjack in a refrigerator by wrapping the fish in plastic and placing it in an airtight container.
Label the date that you stored the fish to ensure that you throw it out before it goes bad. You usually need to throw fish away after 3-4 days to minimize food poisoning risks.
The plastic wrap helps to keep the fish odor from spreading through your fridge, as this smell will intensify as the fish spoils.
It also helps to keep your fish meal from taking on any odors from your refrigerator, a common problem when eating leftovers.
Can You Freeze Amberjack?
You can easily freeze amberjack by wrapping it in plastic or freezer-safe paper and putting it in an airtight container.
Try to by moisture-resistant paper or bags that stops any ice from getting to your fish. This should help it last between 3-6 years with minimal trouble.
Always label your fish when you store it, including the fish type and the date. Periodically check your freezer for these items and throw out any that are older than six months.
Note that thawing your fish can produce excessively soft or even mushy flesh.
How To Tell If Amberjack Is Bad?
You’ll know when amberjack is bad by gauging both its smell and its texture. Fresh amberjack has a very mild odor that becomes more intense as it spoils.
When your stomach turns simply smelling the fish, it is time to throw it out and get another.
Test the meat texture by checking for soft spots or areas with black mold and other discolorations.
These changes indicate that the fish is going bad. No amberjack should ever have a mushy texture, unless you just thawed it out from the freezer.
Can You Eat Amberjack Raw?
Amberjack can be eaten raw if you blast-freeze it to eliminate the risk of various worms and other dangerous parasites.
Sushi-grade amberjack is safe to eat raw because it has been treated in this way, which makes it safe to use in various recipes.
However, cutting open and eating raw amberjack you just caught is not a good idea. They are prone to many parasites and worms, which can increase your risk of sickness.
This danger increases as the amberjack grows, so be very careful if you decide to eat this fish raw.
Do They Have Worms?
Amberjack are often prey to various types of worms, including some that grow within the fish and wait until the amberjack gets eaten by a shark.
They then mature inside of the shark and eject their eggs for other smaller fish to eat. These tapeworms can stay in amberjack for years.
However, amberjack often gets heavy infestations of white worms throughout their tails and meat.
These worms cause a bruised appearance on the skin and are often most heavily concentrated at the tail. Cleaning and removing these worms make this fish safely edible.
What Is The Best Way To Cook Amberjack?
Grilling amberjack is a great option because their fillets are often so thick that grilling helps to thicken them up and increase their tastiness.
You can marinade the fish in various ingredients and sauces to add even more flavor and produce a tasty meal.
Note that amberjack’s firmness makes it suitable for steaming, poaching, and even baking. Many people add amberjack to fish stews and kabobs or in various salads. They also blend together well to produce delicious fish sauces and even chowder.
How Do You Clean Amberjack For Cooking?
Clean amberjack by making a cut behind the pectoral fin and cutting up toward the back of the head diagonally. Now, cut back toward the tail and carefully remove the skin with a filleting knife.
Carefully remove any dark bloodline flesh off of the meat and remove any worms you may see.
Slice the fillets up to whatever size you want and cut out bones, and remove the internal organs as you clean. Carefully look for worms near the tail in particular and remove them.
Any worms you don’t find will be destroyed in the cooking process and mesh with the fish itself, which is harmless.
Are Amberjack Poisonous To Eat?
Amberjack are not inherently toxic and are safe to eat when prepared properly. As mentioned above, amberjacks may have worms and parasites that must be destroyed by cooking before eating.
Don’t eat raw amberjack unless you know how to blast-freeze properly and prepare this meat.
Note that amberjack are also considered a relatively high risk for mercury due to their size and diet. As top-end predator fish, they eat many creatures that may have mercury in their flesh.
This risk increases as the amberjack grows, which is just one more reason why eating large amberjack is unwise.
Amberjack Vs. Almaco Jack
Amberjack and almaco jack are fairly similar fish that are often heavily compared by many people. The amberjack is the milder of the two fish and has a blender flavor that meshes well with other meals.
That’s not an insult because a blender flavor helps it absorb other ingredients more easily.
By contrast, almaco jack has a mildly sweet flavor that has a bit more of a zing to it. It is still not an overpowering or fishy species and should be easy to tolerate.
Both have similar nutrient and grease levels, which makes them a good option for just about any fish fan.
How Do You Cook Amberjack?
You can cook amberjack in multiple ways, including broiling, baking, frying, and grilling. Grilling fish is one of the most popular methods because it brings out the flavor and makes it richer.
Recipes can include things like red wine vinegar, sugar, and even thyme to bring out its taste.
Typically, you can baste or marinate the meat in various ingredients, including sauces and herbs, and pair it with a delicious side.
The cooking method you choose should vary based on your taste to give you a better experience that suits your preference.
Nutritional Value Chart
|Nutritional Value of a 4.5-Ounce Amberjack Serving|
Amberjack Recipes: Quick Table
|Baked Amberjack||177||30 minutes|
|Grilled Amberjack||120||38 minutes|
|Teriyaki Buri (Amberjack) Meal||350||25 minutes|
If you want a healthy amberjack recipe that’s also incredibly simple to make, this is the option for you.
There are two major steps, including putting the fish in a large zipper bag and adding your favorite herbs, spices, olive oil, orange juice, garlic, and zest to the bag. Refrigerate for half an hour.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees while the fish marinates, and then put it on a baking sheet.
Cook for at least 15-20 minutes or until the fish is tender and flaky, and serve with potatoes or rice. This recipe is perfect for those days when you just want a fast meal.
Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Grilling amberjack tends to bring out the best of its flavors, which makes this recipe great for hot summer days when you bust out the outdoor grill.
Start by combining lemon juice, sugar, red wine vinegar, thyme, salt, and garlic in a large back and marinating the fish for half an hour.
Heat your grill to a medium level at around 300-350 degrees and place the fish directly on the rack, seasoning it with your favorite spices.
Cook each fish side for four minutes or until it is flaky and tender. This recipe produces a quick and delicious meal that will fit into just any diet.
Total Preparation Time: 38 minutes
This fantastic teriyaki dish is fairly easy to cook and creates an Asian style for your fish.
Start by mixing sake, mirin, soy sauce, and garlic in a large bowl, and then coat your amberjack with this blend. Add salt and pepper to the fish to add a little more flavor.
Place the fish in an oiled wok and cook with various stir-fried vegetables, adding more sauce as needed to coat the meat.
Serve with delicious rice and asparagus to bring out the best of this meal. We strongly recommend this for those who love stir-fry and other Asian meals.
Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Frequently Asked Questions
What Fish Can Amberjack Substitute?
You can use tilefish, shark, mullet, or mahi-mahi in amberjack recipes or vice versa. These fish types are similar enough in taste and texture to make them adaptable to many situations.
Try to experiment with different options to get an idea of which is most suitable for your needs.
How Does Their Diet Affect Their Taste?
Amberjack’s diet includes fish, crustaceans, and various types of squid. Depending on what they eat, their flavor may change slightly.
For example, an amberjack that mostly eats squid may have a more squid-tinged flavor, though the change is typically quite subtle.
Can I Catch And Cook Amberjack?
Catching amberjack is tricky because they’re often hidden in hard-to-find areas and can be very hard to fight. Some anglers don’t even bother because they don’t like its taste.
It is important to focus on common areas where they may hide, such as near shipwrecks and rocks.
Is Eating Amberjack Dangerous?
Eating smaller amberjack is a safer option because they’re less likely to have worms and mercury poisoning that affects their quality.
This makes it important to limit how many large amberjack you eat or to focus only on smaller fish. Stick to below 20 pounds to minimize any health risks.
Watch this YouTube video to learn how to catch, clean, and cook amberjack for your family.
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