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Red Drum Fish

Red Drum Fish Flavor Scale
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Red Drum Fish Flavor Profile

Red 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 Red Drum has a finer texture and more tender flesh than the Black 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

Redfish, Channal Bass, Spottail Bass, Red Bass, Spotted Bass, Bull Redfish, Oyster Drum, Sea Drum

Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) Description

Red Drum general coloration is iridescent silvery-gray overall, with a coppery cast that is usually darker on the back and upper sides. The Latin name sciaenops ocellatus means "shady eye-like spot (on tail)," and indeed, most red drum have a single distinctive black spot at the base of the tail. 

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.

Wild Drum Fish can grow to nearly 5 feet and 95 pounds, but average size is 5 - 30 pounds.  Farmed Red Drum is generally in the 2 - 4 pound range.

 Red Drum Fish by Duane Raver USFWS

Red Drum Fish by Duane Raver USFWS

Fresh Red Drum Availability

Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability, gray indicates not available fresh.  Wild Red Drum is commercially available in very limited supply.  Although it is caught recreationally in many states, it is fished commercially in only a few states.  Farmed Red Drum is generaly available.

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

 

 

Red 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

Red Drum are available along the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast of the United States and Brazil.

Red Drum Range and Location
AquaMaps     Data sources: GBIF OBIS 

 Typical Wholesale Products

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

 

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.

 

Red Drum Sustainability Info

NameAlternate NamesCatch MethodCatch
Region
Seafood
Watch
Blue
Ocean
Ocean
Wise
Sea
Choice
Mercury
Concerns
Red Drum Redfish, Channal Bass, Spottail Bass, Red Bass, Spotted Bass, Sea Drum Wild, Bottom Gillnet, Hook & Line US Atlantic,
Gulf of Mexico
n/a Yellow-icon_20.png n/a n/a 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
 
       
Updated
August 2013
 

In the 1970's Chef Paul Prudhomme created a cajun-spiced red drum fish which became so popular on the national stage that stocks of the fish were dangerously depleted as everyone wanted this fish. As a result, commercial fishing for red drum is prohibited in federal and most state waters. Currently it can only be legally commercially fished in the state waters of North Carolina and Mississippi.

 

Red Drum 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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Comments [ Add a Comment ]

MAGICOFSPICE [ Aug 06, 2010 ]

I have not tried this one...great information:) 

LISA~KOREAN AMERICAN MOMMY [68.33.122.8] [ Aug 06, 2010 ]

This is good to know! I made a red snapper recently and I think they stated the Red Drum fish as an alternative. Thanks for sharing.