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Black Drum Fish

Black Drum Fish Flavor Scale

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Black Drum Fish Flavor Profile

Black Drum Fish have a mild, sweet flavor with firm flesh and large, moist flakes.  It is comparable to Red Snapper.  Very fresh Red Drum Fish have an emerald green tint to the raw flesh, while larger fresh Red Drum Fish have a red tint.  The flesh of Black Drum Fish lack these hues of color and are simply white.  The flesh of both species cooks up to pure white.

Both the Red Drum Fish & Black Drum Fish have similar flavors, but Black Drum has a coarser, meater flesh than the Red Drum.  The smaller fish of both species tend to be sweeter and flakier.

Typical Cooking Methods

  • Bake
  • Broil
  • Deep-Fry
  • Grill
  • Poach
  • Saute
  • Smoke
  • Steam
  • Sushi

Alternate Names

Banded Drum, Oyster Drum, Sea Drum, Drummer, Gray Drum, Pompey Drum, Drumfish, Striped Drum, Puppy Drum (small Drum Fish 1-9 lbs)

Typical Wholesale Products

Dressed Head-On, H&G, Skin-On Fillets, Skin-Off Fillets

Description (Pogonias cromis)

Black Drum are gray or black colored with a high arched back with slightly angled verticle light black stripes.  They lack the spot on the tail which the Red Drum has.

The common name "Drum fish" comes from their ability to make a drumming sound during courtship or when pulled from the water.  they do this by rubbing special muscles against an air bladder thus producing the drum-like sound.

Drum Fish can grow to nearly 5 feet and 95 pounds, but average size is 5 - 30 pounds.

  Black Drum Fish by Diane Rome Peebles

Black Drum Fish by Diane Rome Peebles

Fresh Availability

Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability, gray indicates not available fresh.  Black Drum is more readily available than wild Red Drum.  

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec



Black Drum Butchering Yield % and Recovery

ItemTo Skin/On FilletsTo Skin/Off FilletsNotes
Whole Head/On ungutted 46% 40%  
Whole Head/On gutted   33%  
Skin/On Fillets -- 87% If you have yield info on this fish please comment below.


Range & Habitat

Black Drum are available along the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast of the United States and South America.

 Black Drum Range and Location
AquaMaps     Data sources: GBIF 



Additional Culinary Notes

Drum Fish carry Trematode parasites and so they must be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°.  Do not use Drum Fish for sashimi or ceviche.

Black Drum Fish Sustainability Info

NameAlternate NamesCatch MethodCatch
Black Drum Drum, Drummer, Sea Drum, Drumfish Wild, Trotline US Gulf of Mexico Yellow-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Yellow-icon_20.png n/a
Disclaimer: The sustainability info above is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, each program randomly updates their information without our knowledge. We therefore recommend that you verify the current accuracy of this information.

 Green-icon_20.png = Best Choice/Recommended     Yellow-icon_20.png = Good Alternative     Red-Dot_20.png = Avoid/Not Recommended
Jan 2013


Nutritional Information

based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving

* Calories/Calories from fat 204
* Protein grams  30
* Fat grams 8.4
* Saturated fat grams 1.9
* Sodium milligrams 129
* Cholesterol milligrams 110
* Omega-3 grams 1.2



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David Buchanan is a professional chef and author of Chefs-Resources.com, a site geared towards providing chefs and culinarians useful info to help in their kitchens.
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