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Grouper Flavor Scale

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Fresh Grouper is a member of the serranidae family which also includes sea bass.  Chefs-Resources' Grouper page shows when fresh Grouper is available, what it's flavor profile and taste is like, the butchering yield % so you can determine your yield percentage for plate costing purposes.  You will also find a Grouper nutrition table, the Flavor Scale, and links for further research.

Fresh Grouper Flavor Profile

Fresh Grouper is a lean, moist fish with a distinctive yet mild flavor, large flakes and a firm texture.  The Red Grouper has a slightly sweeter, milder flavor than the Black Grouper and is considered to be the better of the two.  Grouper's flavor profile is like a cross between Bass and Halibut.

Typical Cooking Methods

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

Alternate Names

Red Grouper, Black Grouper, Gag

Typical Wholesale Products

Grouper is wild-caught, usually by hook and line.  It is available Whole, Dressed, H&G, Fillets, and Fingers.

Description (Epinephelus morio, Mycteroperca bonaci)

There are three different fish which are known as Grouper in the US market; the Red Grouper, (True) Black Grouper, and Gag which the market commonly calls Black Grouper.  True Black Grouper is hard to come by.  Both True Black Grouper and Gag have a higher yield and firmer texture than Red Grouper.  Groupers in general have big heads, large mouths and heavy bodies.  Red Grouper is most commonly found in the market place and average market size varies from 5 - 15 lbs for whole fish.  Black Grouper and Gag range in market size from 15 - 20 lbs for whole fish.

Black GrouperGrouper photo by Randall, J.E.

Gag Grouper
Grouper photo by Flescher, D.

Red Grouper
Grouper photo by Bryan, D.

Fresh Grouper Availability

Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability, gray indicates not available fresh.  Frozen available all year long. 

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



Grouper Butchering Yield % and Recovery

ItemTo Skin/On FilletsTo Skin/Off FilletsNotes
Whole Head/On gutted   40% If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.
Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.


Range & Habitat

Red, Black and Gag Grouper are the predominent Groupers sold to US markets and are found from the mid-Atlantic States down through the Gulf of Mexico and both coasts of South America.

There are other Groupers sold to other countries, or caught by sport fisherman, which are found in other regions worldwide. 

Red & Black Grouper Range
AquaMaps     Data sources: GBIF

Additional Culinary Notes

Groupers are a reef dwelling fish so there is the possibility of Ciguatera poisoning.  Ciguatera is caused by eating certain reef fishes whose flesh is contaminated with toxins originally produced by dinoflagellates associated with red tide.  Ciguatera cannot be destroyed by cooking.  Check with your vendor to avoid fish harvested from known hot spots. 


Grouper Sustainability Info

NameAlternate NamesCatch MethodCatch
Black Grouper,
Red Grouper
Mero, Sea Bass Wild US Gulf of Mexico Yellow-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Yellow-icon_20.png elevated
Black Grouper,
Red Grouper
Mero, Sea Bass Wild US Atlantic Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png n/a
Gag, Snowy, Warsaw Mero, Sea Bass Wild US Gulf of Mexico Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png elevated
Yellowedge Grouper Mero, Sea Bass Wild US Gulf of Mexico,
US Atlantic
Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png n/a
Grouper Mero, Sea Bass Wild US Atlantic Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png n/a
Hawaiian Grouper, Hapu'u Mero, Sea Bass Wild, hook & line Hawaii 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
July 2013


Grouper Nutritional Information

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

* Calories/Calories from fat 158
* Protein grams 33.3
* Fat grams 1.7
* Saturated fat grams .3
* Sodium milligrams 91
* Cholesterol milligrams 63
* Omega-3 grams  .5



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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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