Fresh Grouper Flavor Profile

Grouper Flavor Scale

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.

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. Even though it is lean, this fish is forgiving during cooking and can be rather difficult to “over cook” in the sense of drying out.

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.
Find suppliers at FishChoice

Grouper Fish 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, stout bodies. They are not distance swimmers but prefer to dwell in bottom structures such as rock protrusions and reefs. They also use their powerful gills to create small caves for themselves to inhabit.

Red Grouper comprises about 70% of the U.S. grouper harvest and is therefore the most commonly found grouper in the market place with an average market size of between 5 – 15 lbs for whole fish. Black Grouper and Gag range in market size from 15 – 20 lbs for whole fish.

Black Grouperphoto by Randall, J.E.

Gag Grouperphoto by Flescher, D.

Red Grouperphoto by Bryan, D.


Fresh 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


Butchering Yield % and Recovery

Item To Skin/On Fillets To Skin/Off Fillets Notes
Whole Head/On gutted 40% If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.
Red Grouper Head/On gutted 68% 55%
Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.


Range & Habitat

Red & Black Grouper RangeAquaMaps     Data sources: GBIF

Red, Black and Gag Grouper are the predominant 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.

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.

Sustainability Info

Name Catch Method Catch
Black Grouper Wild, Bottom Longline US Gulf of Mexico Yellow-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Yellow-icon_20.png elevated
US South Atlantic Yellow-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png
Wild, Handline US Gulf of Mexico Yellow-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png Yellow-icon_20.png n/a
US South Atlantic Yellow-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png
Gag Handline US Gulf of Mexico Yellow-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png elevated
Bottom Longline, Handline US South Atlantic Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png
Red Grouper Bottom Longline US Gulf of Mexico Yellow-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Yellow-icon_20.png
Handline US Gulf of Mexico,
US South Atlantic
Yellow-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png
Snowy Bottom Longline, Handline US Gulf of Mexico,
US South Atlantic
Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png
Warsaw Bottom Longline, Handline US Gulf of Mexico Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png
Yellowedge Grouper Bottom Longline, Handline US Gulf of Mexico,
US South Atlantic
Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png n/a
Hawaiian Grouper, Hapu’u Wild, Handline Hawaii Yellow-icon_20.png Green-icon_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
April 2016


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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Kyle Easter

Please update you info. The Gulf Wild program is proving grouper to be available year round and substantially caught. and i yield on average 68% skin on and 55% skin off.

Kyle Easter

I work for Central market. We get only what our fishery catches it seems to be better catches during warmer months, but we have it almost every week.

Kyle Easter

Austin but all 9 of our locations I believe are able to get grouper.

Kyle Easter

Red grouper, and Head on, gutted. Our fish cutter does a little better, but he’s been doing it longer then I’ve been alive. We also get them fresh year round.

R D Palmer

Groupers are of course available from many countries – lot of live product goes into Hong Kong and starting to be reasonable quantities of aquaculture. In Middle East known as Hammour – we were at restaurant couple of weeks back in Riyadh and purchased Hammour but received Pangasius/Basa……why do people do this??

David Buchanan

It’s an unfortunate reality that some people/restaurants/purveyors have no integrity and will cheat the system in order to sell a cheaper product as if it is the more expensive product. This seems to be especially true with seafood where people who are less aware than you are may never even know that they were cheated. I believe that the USA is getting better at trying to crack down on abuses but I’m unfamiliar with the policies in the Middle East. If they have a way to report the abuse then that is the first step in stopping the unethical selling/naming… Read more »

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