Sturgeons are shark-like fish dating back to prehistoric times. Their taste and texture is distinctive. It is a mild fish with a flavor best described as reminiscent of poultry, swordfish or pork, and the texture is dense and firm. As with many foods, sturgeon meat can turn dry and unappetizing if overcooked. Many cooks fear the act of grilling fish; do not deem yourself unable to master this. With the proper techniques, it is easy to grill delicious sturgeon with a crispy, flavorful crust and juicy, slightly smoky meat.
Things You'll Need
- Sturgeon fillets, about 4 to 6 ounces each
- Sharp paring knife
- Baking dish or other wide, shallow dish
- Plastic wrap
- Heat-resistant brush
- Cooking oil
- Two-sided spatula barbecue tool or two sturdy metal spatulas with long handles
Look for any reddish fat that is present on the sturgeon fillets, as this area has a strong, fishy flavor that is not appealing for most people. Use a sharp paring knife to trim these areas away, leaving as much meat as possible on the fish.
Place the sturgeon fillets in a baking dish or other wide, shallow dish in a flat, even layer. Add enough marinade to coat the outside surface of all fillets, about a 1/4 cup per fillet; the sturgeon does not need to be fully submerged in marinade. Use a store-bought marinade, or make your own. Try olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, dried herbs, and vinegar or lemon juice. Turn the fish a few times to thoroughly distribute the marinade.
Cover the dish with plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerate and allow the sturgeon to marinate one or two hours.
Prepare the grill for direct grilling. Wait for lit coals to get hot and begin to ash over, or turn a gas grill to medium-high heat. Use a heat-resistant brush to carefully brush some cooking oil onto thoroughly clean grill grates.
Remove the sturgeon from the marinade. Place the fish fillets on the hot grill grate. Grill the fish for about three or four minutes, undisturbed.
Flip when the fish start to turn white and appear firm on the side that is on the grill. Brush the tops of the fish with a little bit of oil. Carefully slide the bottom of a two-sided spatula barbecue tool, or a sturdy spatula, under the fish. Hold the barbecue tool tightly so it is gripping the fish on both sides, or place another spatula firmly on top of the fish if you are using spatulas. Gently turn the fish over on the grill and release.
Cook for another three or four minutes, or until an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit is reached. Check for doneness by removing one fillet and testing with a fork. If the fish flakes easily and looks white all the way through, it is done. Serve immediately.
Tips & Warnings
- Try serving grilled sturgeon with grilled asparagus and wild rice pilaf.
- Wild white sturgeons from Oregon and Washington are still harvested and somewhat abundant. However, most other species are over-fished, critically endangered or near extinction. Farm-raised white sturgeons are the easiest to find and most sustainable variety.
- USDA: Food Safety Information: Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart
- Seafood Source: Seafood Handbook: Sturgeon
- International Union for Conservation of Nature: Sturgeon More Critically Endangered Than Any Other Group of Species
- Chef Lisa Freeman: Grilled Sturgeon
- Starchefs: Wood-Grilled Sturgeon with Rye Gnocchi, English Peas, Oyster Mushrooms, Guanciale and Mustard Consommé by Chef Mike Sheerin
- How to Grill; Steven Raichlen
- Serious Eats: How to Grill Fish
- Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images