Southern Brooklyn

Dear Sheepshead: Please Return. We Want To Eat You.

Photo by: Rawtalent at The BBQ Forum

We all know by now that Sheepshead Bay was named after the beloved sheepshead fish; that monster of the deep with human-like teeth that are used to crush barnacles and get at the sweet meat inside. But how many of us have ever eaten one?

Rawtalent, one of the regular posters over at The BBQ forum recently posted this picture. Damn, that looks like some good eating, but pictures can be miss-leading. What does a sheepshead taste like?

Mike Thompson of Game & Fish says, “The meat of a sheepshead is often served as imitation crabmeat. Cut off any red meat from the filets and cook it in crab boil for a few minutes (until flaky).”

Others from the BBQ Forum joined in with these comments:

Good looking fish and a good eating fish.

Love Sheepshead such a delicious fish! – we used to fish off the docks in Florida for it one of my favorite childhood memories!

And finally,  Captain Mel puts it this way:

As for cooking sheepshead, believe me, you can do no wrong. Most just dip the fish pieces in egg and roll in their favorite coating, frying ‘til golden brown.  Sheepshead also broil or bake exceptionally well.  One of our favorites is to cut the meat into chunks and cook them quickly in boiling water seasoned with Crab Boil. After cooking dip the pieces in drawn butter and lemon. When prepared this way, these crustacean eating fish taste almost like very tender lobster or crab

All this talk makes me hungry. With the cleanup of the bay’s waters and the return of the seals, can the sheepshead be far behind? I hope not.

Let the eating begin!

Comment policy


  1. I would still be worried about eating anythng caught in the bay. I don’t want to end up with an arm growing out of my ear or glowing in the dark or looking like a Picasso. I agree that SB is cleaner that it was just a few years ago, but it is still filthy.

  2. I was thinking that also – have to find one that was caught in clean water and break out my stovetop smoker!

  3. People are still dumping all sorts of garbage in the bay, and it doesn’t move very much. That is much of what keeps the bay from being a clean marine environment.

    I wonder if he debris comes from the party boats.

  4. The one thing that turns me off to food is texture. Smoked fish,if it
    is on the dry side, is OK for me.
    That expensive stuff (and I don’t mean lox) is too moist or not smoked
    long enough for my liking.
    Chubs before whitefish. With an Ice cold beer please.

  5. What is the ration of the number of fishing boats to the number of those living within a block of the Bay?

  6. need to change your source to where you buy it.

    May i Recommend a place? found some Great fish at esters Deli on Ave X and Nostrand ave.

    smoked and kickin! Also have good food period.

  7. I have been there, the fish counter is always busy.
    The place sure changed from when it first opened. TY for the reminder.

  8. Eating and starting a cultivation (if that’s the right word) are a far throw. Let’s see if the fish can be brought back and then worry about eating ’em.

  9. judging from the fact that a large amount of it is beer cans, I’m betting on the party boats. Guess I won’t be invited on one of the boats anytime soon. Whoever is doing it, it breaks my heart to see that crap gather in the NW corner of the bay across from the JHS. In accordance with my version of justice, the people who dump there should be thrown in the bay (with life preservers), and made to swim among the garbage.

  10. the more important mathematical question is the ratio of people who drink beer outside who live by the bay, against the ratio of people on those boats drinking beer…. I think we have our likely answer.

Comments are closed.