Can You Eat a Black Drum?

Can You Eat a Black Drum?

A lot of new anglers are curious about this massive fish. Can you eat a black drum? Yes, you can eat a black drum. They are edible saltwater fish.

Before you get too excited thinking that you can catch a 90-pound fish to feed your family for weeks, you should know a few things.

Black drums are saltwater fish that normally weigh anywhere from 5 to 30 pounds. They are the largest fish in the drum family, and some have even grown to weigh up to 90 lbs. That’s one huge fish!

First, most experienced anglers who have eaten their fair share of fish caught locally will say that the small black drums are better quality food. A rule of thumb is to throw the fish back if it weighs more than 20 pounds. 

Black drums don’t replicate or grow as fast as some other types of fish that are better to feed off of, so many anglers will put larger black drums back in the water.

Another reason that most people prefer not to eat large black drums is because they are full of worms.

Is Black Drum a Good Eating Fish?

Black drum fish are considered to be good-eating fish. The taste and texture of black drum are often compared to that of redfish (red drum), another popular fish in coastal cuisines.

When cleaning and cooking drum fish, it is important to properly remove any red or dark meat, as it can have a stronger flavor. 

With the proper cleaning and cooking techniques, drum fish is a delicious seafood option.

Black drum
Black drum

Is it Safe to Eat a Black Drum with Worms?

Most black drum fish are at risk of containing worms. These worms are referred to as spaghetti worms and usually use saltwater fish as hosts, including black drums. They are white in color and usually between 1 to 3 inches in length. 

Black drum fish typically host 5 to 15 worms at a time, which can usually be found around the tail. They can live for nearly 7 years too. Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it?

Spaghetti worms are actually very easy to remove. Since they are larger in size, it is easy to spot them. All you have to do to remove them is to grab the worm between the knife and your thumb and gently pull it out. 

After a few tries, it becomes really easy. If you miss a worm or two, it’s no big deal. A lot of anglers don’t even bother to remove the worms. This isn’t because they are lazy; the worms are unnoticeable when the fish gets cooked. They have no taste to affect the flavor of your fish meat. It’s just extra protein, right?

To put all of your worries aside about the issue, the heat from cooking the fish completely kills the worm. Not a single person has been recorded to date from falling ill due to eating a spaghetti worm. So go ahead and enjoy that delicious black drum you caught!

What Does Black Drum Taste Like?

Black drums have a mild flavor, making them a more tolerable fish for people who don’t enjoy a strong fish taste. A lot of people notice a slight sweetness to the meat as well. The flesh of the fish is larger and firm making it easy to use in various recipes. The flakes are nice and moist too.

For saltwater fish, the black drum can be one of the better fish to eat. What many people like the most is that the fish doesn’t have any oily taste to it. Many people enjoy black drum fish fried with light seasoning, but it isn’t limited to being cooked only that way.

Check out our other article to learn How to Catch Black Drum.

How to Clean a Black Drum

If you recently caught a black drum, you are probably very excited to prepare this fish for dinner tonight. Before any cooking can happen, you will need to clean the fish.

It’s best to clean your fish outside because things get a bit messy. Start off by finding something to lay your fish on, such as cardboard or a piece of spare plywood. You can use your garden hose to start scaling the fish. 

You will need to locate the gills of the fish next. Once you do, cut from behind the gills and work your way down to the dorsal fin. Then you must cut from the top down and around all the ribs. Then you should lift the fillet and cut it free.

Now that you have that nice meaty fillet lay it flat on your surface. When you cut the meat, start at the skin. If you would like the meat cut up into fish steaks, you should do so at this time. 

Once you’ve done that, wash off all of the black drum meat. When it’s clean, you can put it in bags in the fridge or on ice right away. If you don’t intend to eat the fish meat within 2 days, you should move it to the freezer. 

How to clean a black drum

How to Eat Black Drum Fish

When you catch and clean a black drum, you have a lot of fish meat to work with.

Pan-fried and blackened seem to be the two most common ways to cook black drums; however, there are plenty of other ways you can get creative with your fish meat to make a delicious meal.

  1. Grilled or Broiled: Season the black drum fillets with your choice of herbs, spices, and marinade. Preheat the grill or broiler and cook the fish for about 4-6 minutes per side.
  2. Pan-Fried: Dredge the black drum fillets in seasoned flour or breadcrumbs. Heat butter or oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the fish for about 3-4 minutes per side.
  3. Baked: Place the seasoned black drum fillets in a baking dish greased with olive oil. Bake in a preheated oven at around 375°F (190°C) for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Blackened: Prepare a blackening seasoning by combining spices like paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and black pepper. Coat the black drum fillets with the seasoning and cook them in a hot skillet with oil or butter for about 3-4 minutes per side.

Here are a few other meals you can use a black drum in:

  • Pasta
  • Fish tacos
  • Chowder
  • Sandwiches
  • Creole
Juvenile black drum
Juvenile black drum

How Many Calories Are in Black Drum Fish?

On average, black drum fish contains approximately 100-120 calories per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of cooked fish. This calorie content is based on the fish being prepared without added fats or sauces.

Black drum is low in saturated fat and contains omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, vitamin D, selenium, and potassium.

Where Are Black Drums Found?

Black drum fish are primarily found in the western Atlantic Ocean, ranging from New York down to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and along the coast of Texas. They are also commonly found in the Chesapeake Bay and other estuarine areas along the eastern coast of the United States.

Black drum fish inhabit nearshore and inshore waters, including bays, estuaries, and tidal creeks. They prefer areas with sandy or muddy bottoms and can tolerate both saltwater and brackish water environments.

What Is the Best Season for Black Drum?

Spring and fall seasons are considered the best for black drum fishing. During these seasons, black drums are often more active and can be found in shallower waters near marshes, estuaries, or other preferred habitats.

More To Explore