Not to be confused with the popular 80s haircut, mullet is a family of fish that encompasses dozens of species.
They exist worldwide in oceans, bays, and even fresh water. Mullets are bottom feeders like catfish, which gives them a bad reputation in the high-class culinary world.
While you might not see mullets on the menu at high-end seafood restaurants, they are a widely caught food source for a ton of cultures. You can find mullets at fish markets and grocery stores.
Not only can you eat mullet, but there are plenty of delicious methods of preparation to explore.
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Do People Eat Mullet and Is It Safe?
If you are wondering whether you can eat mullet, the answer is yes! People in every hemisphere eat mullet, and every species is edible.
There are gray mullets, striped mullets, white mullets, and the list goes on and on. Many species travel back and forth from freshwater to saltwater, while others stay in brackish water.
The only difference between the species is where they are in the world, but they are all safe to eat and easy to catch. The only hazard to your health with mullet is its wealth of bones, which are difficult to remove, but this is more a nuisance than a hazard.
People usually remove the head and guts before cooking mullet.
What Does It Taste Like?
As bottom feeders, mullet is an oily fish with a strong, fishy taste. The meat is darker in color and denser than the flakey fishes like snapper or salmon.
They are bony fish as well, so you’ll encounter at least one stray bone as you make your way through a filet.
Can You Eat Mullet Raw?
You can eat mullet raw, just as you can eat most fish and crustacean species raw. It’s important to drain the blood and gizzards.
You won’t see mullet sashimi or mullet carpaccio at a restaurant, but you can eat mullet raw in a pinch. The question isn’t “can you,” but instead, “would you want to?”
How To Cook Mullet
Because mullet is an oily fish and a bottom feeder, they do emit a strong fishy flavor.
The best way to decrease the fishy flavor is by removing the head and guts and draining the blood.
The most popular cooking methods for mullets are deep frying and grilling. That said, you can also smoke it or grind it up into a fish sausage or fish dip.
The bones are very hard to remove, so it’s best to pick the meat from the skeleton after you’ve cooked it.
Like catfish, a popular way to prepare mullet in Louisiana and Florida is by breading it in cornmeal and frying it, serving it in a po’boy or atop dirty rice.
Another popular recipe is for smoked mullet.
You can also use ground mullet in a fish dip recipe.
Is It Safe to Eat Mullet?
Mullet is a strong-tasting, oily fish that may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is a nutrient-rich food source for many. It’s both safe to eat, and cheap.
If you live by the coast, you can even catch your own. As with most fish, the fresher the catch, the better the taste. Saltwater mullets tend to taste better than fresh or brackish water mullets.