Can you eat stingray? Taste, safety and cooking methods

Kristian Ole



Because of the way stingrays look, many people are under the misconception that they cannot be eaten. Did you know that stingrays are consumed in many parts of the world, including Australia, Asia, and Africa? So, if you want to know if you can eat stingrays, the answer is a resounding yes. 

Furthermore, it is completely safe to eat stingrays. The barb at the end of the tail is poisonous. So, make sure that you remove it before you decide to cook the stingray. Also, you will be happy to hear that stingrays have low levels of mercury, so you can consume the meat without worrying about mercury poisoning.

Is it good to eat?

People who have never eaten stingrays often want to know whether eating is good. They cannot imagine a sea creature that looks like a stingray to taste good. Contrary to popular belief, stingrays are actually quite delicious. It is a versatile fish and can be cooked in different ways, frying, grilling, and barbecuing. 

However, it is prudent to note that stingray is an acquired taste. So, you may or may not like it after consuming it for the first time. If you keep this in mind, you will not have a problem tasting the meat of stingray for the first time in your life. 

What’s the taste like?

The cheeks and the wings are the most desirable parts of a stingray. That is because they have a lot of cartilage, and that makes these areas quite flexible. Your stingray dish will be delicious when you prepare these parts the right way. Also, the meat is replete with a lot of nutrients, including vitamins B, B1, B2, C, and D. 

People who have eaten stingray claim that the taste is a combination of fish and scallops or fish and lobster. They describe the taste as mild with a marginally sweet flavor. If you are looking for a comparison, stingray meat, which is white and firm, tastes similar to lobster or crab. On the other hand, people, who are not impressed by stingray meat, claiming that it is chewy with a metallic or ammonia taste. 

So, if you are still wondering what the taste is like, it is best to try this fish yourself and then decide about the taste and flavor. 

What size should you keep for eating?

Stingrays can grow up to six feet in length and weigh thousands of pounds. That is why many people tend to opt for smaller stingrays for personal consumption. However, you should refrain from eating baby stingrays as experts claim their meat can contain toxins. 

So, it is best to eat a stingray that is large in size. Not only will the meat taste good, but when you opt for a larger size, you will get a higher yield of meat. It is prudent to remember that most stingray species have similar tastes so you do not have to worry. You can eat adult or large-size yellow, roughtail or southern stingrays.

Related article: Can you eat Tarpon?

What are the preferred methods of cooking the fish?

Before you learn the different methods to cook stingray, it is important to remember that the barb on the tail of the fish is poisonous. Hence, make sure you cut and discard the tail. Once you do that, you can cut the meat into fillets or steaks, and these pieces can be fried, grilled, baked, or broiled. 

Always work with a sharp fillet knife when cutting stingray. Cut the wing of the stingray after cutting and discarding the tail. Start from the back and work the knife to the front. The meat of the ray’s wings is soft, and the knife should easily be able to slice it. If you find cutting the wings difficult, the knife is too close to the body. 

When cooking a stingray, it is easy to overcook the meat. If you do this, the meat will get chewy. So, cook until the meat has a pink center. You can shallow fry the fillets or steaks in olive oil. Alternatively, you can dip the fillets in eggs, flour, and bread crumbs and fry them. Stingray can also be stewed. Make sure you add lemon juice or vinegar while stewing. It works as a meat tenderizer and will ensure that the meat is soft and juicy, preventing it from getting chewy and tough. 

However, the most popular method of cooking stingrays is grilling the meat. You can marinate the fillets in spices and ginger. Allow it to marinate for an hour or so. Then wrap the pieces in aluminum foil and grill over charcoal. The meat will be juicy, succulent, and tender. 

Some people even like to eat stingray raw. So, if you are feeling adventurous and have a knack for eating raw fish, you can easily eat stingrays without worries. Just cut it into thin slices and then squeeze lemon juice on it. You can even make a dipping sauce with dark soy, finely cut ginger and garlic, and balsamic vinegar. 

In Conclusion

So, now you know the answer to the question – can you eat stingray? However, it is best to remember that acquiring a taste for stingray is a personal preference. While some people believe that the taste is akin to lobster or crabmeat, there are others who find the taste too metallic for their palate. 

Many people who do eat stingrays often do so because of the nutrients loaded in the meat. Consumption of stingray facilitates better digestion and also improves blood circulation. 

If you are interested in eating stingray, you should go ahead and give it a try. While many restaurants in the US, particularly in Florida, serve stingray, you can also catch your own ray and enjoy this delicacy.


About Kristian Ole

Kristian Ole Rørbye, a marine biologist and seasoned angler, shares his fishing adventures and expertise on FishingKris. Join him as he explores the world's waters, one cast at a time.

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