Imagine you’re fishing on the beach, and you suddenly feel a fish hooked to your rod. You’re excited and looking forward to a delicious dinner. But then you feel the weight of the fish and realize it’s a big one. You struggle to get the fish out of the water, and to your surprise, it’s a sand shark! You’re now confused because you don’t know if you can eat a sand shark. Well, the answer is you can. Once you properly clean and prepare the sand shark, it’s completely edible!
There has been a lot of misinformation going around about eating sand shark meat that can add a lot of confusion. This article will give a detailed guide on why and how you can eat sand shark. The process starts from the very moment the sand shark is hooked. There is a universal rule among anglers that says that the taste and quality of sand shark meat will be intact if the shark isn’t traumatized during slaughter. The shelf life of sand shark meat is relatively short, and it can’t be preserved in the refrigerator for a long time.
As we said, you can eat a sand shark after cleaning and prepping it properly. You can consume sand shark meat in different ways! These include shark soup, grilled shark meat, barbecued shark meat, sand shark steaks, and shark meat tacos.
How to Identify a Sand Shark
Before we talk about how to eat a sand shark, you should be able to identify a sand shark when you catch one! As the name depicts, a sand shark is found near the shore and on the ocean floor close to the beach. The length of these harmless and docile sharks can vary from 5 to 6 feet, and they can weigh up to 159 kg. You can identify a sand shark by its brownish-grey color and red spots. You can find sand sharks in warm waters in all the oceans around the world.
Is Sand Shark Good to Eat?
Sand sharks are edible because they feed on small fish such as mackerel, menhaden, sea trout, and flounder. You can eat shark meat once it is grilled and smoked. The meat of a sand shark is white and firm and tastes like lobster or swordfish. Sand shark meat is good to eat if it is properly cleaned and cut. You should note that there are high mercury levels in sand shark meat, but this shouldn’t be a problem as long as you consume the meat in a moderate amount.
How to Prepare Sand Shark
Before getting into the details of preparing a sand shark, it is vital to understand the importance of appropriate slaughtering. Once a sand shark is slaughtered, the urea in their blood turns into ammonia, which gets absorbed in the meat. This happens because they urinate through their skin. You can eliminate the taste of ammonia from sand shark meat by allowing the sand shark to bleed out. This is done by cutting part of its tail. Also, cut the spine near the front gills to let it bleed out through the gills.
We recommend you cut sand shark meat with a high-quality fillet knife because of its leathery skin. After the shark has bled out completely, gut it, and put it on ice for some time.
Step 1: The first step is to rinse the sand shark with running water, which will remove any dirt and residual blood.
Step 2: Now, you need to remove the skin from the sand shark. There are two ways to do so. The first is by removing the skin with needle-nose pliers before cutting the shark. The other is cutting the sand shark with the skin on and then removing the skin by cutting a few millimeters away from the skin. The second method ensures that all the red flesh, which contains more blood, is removed.
Step 3: This step is all about cutting the sand shark into different fillets and cuts. You need to make a deep cut starting from the sand shark’s head all the way to the anal fin. The next step is to cut through the sand shark’s cartilage and divide the shark into two pieces. One piece will contain the head and gut cavity, and the other will include the shark’s trunk.
Step 4: It is vital to remove unwanted pieces of the sand shark. This includes the shark’s spleen, found in a cavity near the backbone. You also need to remove the fins from the truck piece. Now, start cutting from the top of the tail to the end. This will divide the shark into two other pieces. One of the parts will have the backbone, and the other will be boneless. You can easily remove the backbone from the former piece with a fillet knife.
After this whole process, you will have two huge pieces of meat. You can inspect the flesh with your bare hands to ensure no cartilage piece is left in the flesh. The final step of preparing sand shark meat is to cut the flesh into different cooking portions such as 1-inch steaks and fillet pieces.
It is safe to eat a sand shark when it is slaughtered, cleaned, and prepared the right way. The size of a sand shark is quite huge, and you can get a significant amount of meat from just a single sand shark. Just remember to let it bleed out from its tail and gills. The removal of the blood will remove the ammonia taste from the sand shark meat.
The remaining steps are equally important as they determine the number of clean fillet pieces you can get from the sand shark body. If you do not make proper cuts and just start cutting from any side of the sand shark, you can end up losing a lot of meat.
Eating sand shark shouldn’t be something to shy away from. The preparation method may take some getting used to, but it’s a piece of cake once you manage to do it once or twice!