After years of intrigue and much public inquiry, we here publish our favorite jack crevalle recipe. Enjoy.
One of the many funny things about fishing is battle lines drawn up over which fish are considered “good to eat.” The culinary worth of a fish, it seems, often depends on the region and culture of those you ask.
People can actually be quite passionate about such things—on both sides. With the advent of social media and the phenomenon of sharing pictures of one’s catch and asking for cooking suggestions, the result can be quite hilarious.
It often unfolds like this. Some poor, unsuspecting person posts a picture of their latest catch—the pride and satisfaction clearly beaming across their face.
They then ask, “How do you guys like to eat this?” The picture is usually of a ladyfish, ribbon fish, or nurse shark.”
The result can be pure comedy—though it may cross the line into cyber bullying. Common responses include,
“Remind me not to come over for your fish fry!”
“I wouldn’t feed that to my dog!”
“What’s wrong with you?!”
People are just as passionate one the other side. What some might consider a disgusting, inedible fish can be the favorite of others. These folks then post their suggestions or favorite recipes.
“Soak it in milk for four days and then grill it! It’s the best you’ve ever had…”
“Cut out the blood line and bones and then marinate it in beer and Cajun seasoning. Get you some!”
“In X country they love these things….”
“A chef buddy of mine makes cooks this up and people actually love it…”
While there is no objective right or wrong, the exchanges are super funny.
That brings us to the jack crevalle a creature that manifests this interesting paradox better than most.
Jack crevalle (Caranx hippos) are incredible animals. Stubborn fighters, the things run like cut snakes when you hook them.
Schools of jackfish could well be known as mobs. They gather in large groups and like to harass all manner of baitfish.
The big ones can gulp down a 10-inch mullet happily. The little ones gang up, biting the shit out of even fish much too large for them to eat. They can’t bite chunks off cleanly—like a barracuda or mackerel—but seem content to chew the thing to death.
Jack crevalle grow to 30 or 40 pounds. The world record is some 66 pounds… it was caught in Angola.
Jacks fight hard enough to change your perspective on fishing. If they lived in freshwater, nobody would bass fish any more.
For whatever reason, the lowly jack crevalle—in spite of its many admirable qualities—has never garnered much respect as a gamefish. It’s larger Pacific and Indian Ocean cousin—the giant trevally—motivates anglers to fly half way around the world to throw poppers on coral atolls in the Andaman Islands.
Nobody really travels to catch jackfish. Even fewer people eat the nasty things… But that may be changing.
From Water to Plate
Jack crevalle are rumored to taste like human excrement. This rumor is consistent and widely held enough to be considered by many as the Gospel truth.
That said, there are people that love to eat them. They are passionate about fried or grilled jack crevalle… jack soaked in beer or milk and prepared by excising the bloodlines and bones.
What is a delicacy to some is only good for shark bait or for catching Goilath grouper to others. Of course, nobody is right and nobody is wrong—people can eat or not eat whatever they want and shouldn’t be judged either way—but here is our favorite Jack Crevalle Recipe.
Guess which side of the great Jack Crevalle debate we belong to?
Black Jack: How to Grill Jack Crevalle
This approach involves grilling your fish on an open fire. But don’t worry, you don’t need any fancy grills or charcoal.
If you can’t get your hands on a jack crevalle for the recipe, you can substitute the following delicacies:
- Trophy aoudad sheep (the neck works best). If you’d like to go aoudad hunting, call our friends at TC Outfitters in Texas.
- Feral hog meat from a pig that weighs more than 300 pounds
- Leg of old donkey
- Sea gull or pelican (where consumption and harvest are permitted by law)
You need a fire pit and plenty of space and the following ingredients/ materials:
For the fire:
- A pile of old scrap plywood—the more rusty nails and screws the better.
- One half gallon of gasoline. If you have an old jug of gas that has been sitting around the garage for six months or more, this is preferred.
Preparing the Jack Fish:
- Two concrete cinder blocks.
- Eight foot section of stainless steel or iron chain.
- One whole jack crevalle—do not remove head, gills, guts, scales or fins
- Pile up scrap plywood. Be careful not to stick yourself with the rusty nails and screws.
- Dump gasoline on the woodpile.
- Light the fire…. You may wish to create a gasoline trail leading to the fire, so that you don’t have to stand too near it. Do not catch your self on fire.
- Preparing the fish:
- Lay chain down on ground.
- Place one cinder block on top of the chain with roughly four feet of chain extending on either side.
- Place whole jackfish on top of cinder block. A large fish will likely flop out on either side… that is ok.
- Take your second cinder black and mash it down on top of jackfish, creating a cinder block/ jack sandwich. To ensure that it stays securely in place, you may wish to stomp or jump on top of the second block.
*If the guts pop out of the fish’s eyes or anus, that’s no big deal.
- Next, wrap your chain around the bundle two or three times, tying it on the end. This will keep you black jack package from coming undone.
- Once your fire is billowing clouds of black smoke and the wood is ablaze, toss the chain-bound cinder block/jackfish sandwich on top of the inferno. You should not use any grill or grate—just heave the thing directly into the flames (don’t catch yourself on fire).
- Allow the package to cook for two hours. If the fire appears to be dying, add more plywood, gasoline or pieces of old tires as necessary. The fish’s fins, tail and head might burn off—that is no problem.
- After two hours, hose the fire off—being careful to spray out all embers. Remove jack and cinder blocks from ash pile using a stick or pry bar.
- Allow the cinder blocks, jack and chain to completely cool. You have now the ultimate jack crevalle recipe.
Eating Your Prize
Once your black jack is cool to the touch, untie and unwrap the chain from around the cinder blocks. Set chain aside.
You are now left with two cinder blocks and a blackened jack crevalle. Your dining experience will now be better if you throw away the jack and eat the cinder blocks.
That is the best way to eat jack crevalle, aoudad neck, hogzilla shoulder or old mule leg. Enjoy!
Want some real, actual fish recipes that are fit for human consumption? Check these out.