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Mullet


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Mention the word "mullet" to a Northerner and you'll conjure up images of really bad haircuts or even Billy Ray Cyrus. So imagine my suprise when a Southern acquaintance, having read the "Ways to eat grits" thread, said he'd like to take me out for mullet and grits. :huh:

"What would they call it?" I wondered. "Hairy Hominy?" "Grey-Haired Grits?" Luckily, the fine gent explained that mullet is a freshwater fish often served in The Lighthouse Restaurant in Southern Alabama. Now, fish and grits sounds mighty tasty to me, even if my first choice would be lox.

So I ask my extended Southern family: what's this mullet fish all about? Can you smoke it? And is it tasty?

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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If I'm not mistaken, Mullet was often used to make gefilte fish. I believe it's a freshwater whitefish which is actually found in Lake Winnipeg.

A quick google search though seems there may be a variety of fishes that go by mullet.

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Allow me to step in here and straighten all of you out on this little known and misunderstood delicacy.

Mullet are salt water fish (though they are often found in brackish estuaries along the entire Gulf Coast). They usually exist in large schools and do not respond to bait (meaning they are net caught-usually in a cast net). The meat of a mullet consists of two long filets down both sides of the tail that are a darker meat than most fish you might think of, perhaps like a tiny amberjack. Generally, though not always, they are slow smoked or grilled and served as bar food, particularly on one part of the coast between Mobile, AL and Panama City, FL. Smoked mullet is considered by many to be more than a redneck snack food, many people think that cooked properly that it is a highly underappreciated fish flesh (I love them).

Smoked mullet also makes excellent fish dip, as it has a bit more texture than many white fleshed fish.

They are not large, so they are kind of a pain. They are rarely caught on a rod and reel, and they are a pain in the ass to filet. So many people do not ever get the chance to try them and just spend their time making fun of them (much like the way people treat, say, New Jersey).

I highly reccomend both mullet and New Jersey as something that everyone should keep an open mind towards and try at least once in their life. .

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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When I moved to Tallahassee, where mullet is a way of life, I wasn't all that impressed with smoked mullet at first. Thin, leathery sheets of dry fish chunks -- I didn't get it. Then, on a beach trip to Alligator Point, I had the chance to eat fresh mullet that was pulled from a seine net, gutted and dropped right into hot oil, minutes from the ocean. It was a revelation.

I don't think you're allowed to do that anymore, this was 25 or so years ago. But I'll never forget it. 'Course, now that I'm older and wiser, I know that pretty much any fish pulled straight out of the ocean and eaten within minutes is a miraculous thing. I was a young lass at the time.

Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

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Allow me to step in here and straighten all of you out on this little known and misunderstood delicacy.

Mullet are salt water fish (though they are often found in brackish estuaries along the entire Gulf Coast).

Unless they are the freshwater variety.. like the ones they talk about here. They used to be sold to the major gefilte fish manufacturers in the US... then the Freshwater fish board lost its contract and the fish were left on the ice to rot. Apparently they are one of the most common fish found in the southern part of Lake Manitoba. Nice story. Nevertheless.... perhaps there is more than one type of mullet?

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There do seem to be a whole bunch of different fish called mullet, as mentioned in this article here.

And here's another article speculating on how the word "mullet" might have come to mean both some kind of fish, and some kind of haircut. :smile:

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I grew up eating cornmeal dusted fried mullet caught with a cast net in Blackwater Bay, Pensacola Bay or Santa Rosa Sound. And the mullet toss at the Flora-Bama is a once in a lifetime thing. been there, done it and proud. My mom never would share the roe.

When i was in college at USF in Tampa, we would go down to the Mullet Inn on Courtney Campbell Causeway on the way to Clearwater and eat smoked mullet and smoked shrimp there. They had pretty decent cole slaw as I remember and reallll cold beer. Of course this was a long time ago. Just doesn't seem like it though.

Okay, Here is a recipe so all of you good folks can smoke your self some this weekend.

Here is more information on the mullet (would the plural be mullets, mulletses or ????) from The University of Florida

Edited by joiei (log)

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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and Here is a mullet of a different stripe.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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I don't think you're allowed to do that anymore, this was 25 or so years ago.

First of all, if it was 25 years ago I am suprised that you remember it, as you couldn't have been more than two or three.

You can still do it.

Mullet-Striped (Black) & Silver

Bag limit, Feb. 1-Aug. 31, 50 per person per day. Aggregate of striped and silver mullet. Maximum 100 aggregate per vessel.

Sept. 1-Jan. 31, 50 per person or per vessel. Contact DLE for additional restrictions in Pinellas & Charlotte Counties.

In fact, I stay in an old Florida house in Destin that was built in the Forties that is now surrounded by yuppies with gazillion dollar homes (the lot that the house is on is apparently worth about 20 times what the house is, but it's family owned and they won't ever let it go I don't think). One of the joys of this place is that most mornings some guy or another is wading in the shallow water of the bay (it's on the inside, on Joe's Bayou) trying to catch shrimp in a cast net for bait. One of the by products of this project are shiny, slippery mullet. They are always willing to give you pretty much as many as you want. We usually get some and fry some for lunch, set up the smoker and do some that way. We take some of the smoked ones and make fish dip (which is usually accompanied by some West Indies Salad made from blue crabs caught in traps on the dock, that morning) out of the rest. It's really a great eating fish, but I agree with the young lass-mullet need to be eaten fresh to be much good.

And the one downside of this delicacy is that they are really nasty to clean. Gross, actually. They have some kind of gizzard in them that is always full of green goo that invariably gets sliced open while cleaning. It is better for guests unfamiliar with this fact to not be around when you are cleaning them .

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I grew up eating fried mullet, actually fried Virgina mullet, never regular mullet. A search on the web revealed that mullet is actually a kingfish.

Usually dredged in flour and cornmeal and fried. Occasionally baked. Never filleted.

Good eating for sure

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Well, posting this URL is probably one of the biggest cliche's of the dot-com era besides the Hamster Dance but here is a site dedicated to the non-gastronomic mullet.

Seriously, I wonder if there is some sort of connection between the haircut and the fish? I knew nothing about the fish until reading this thread and it appears they both share the same habitat. :biggrin:

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it appears they both share the same habitat.  :biggrin:

yep, they are both bottom feeders :laugh::laugh:

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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I don't think you're allowed to do that anymore, this was 25 or so years ago.

First of all, if it was 25 years ago I am suprised that you remember it, as you couldn't have been more than two or three.

You can still do it.

Aw, Mr. Brooks, how you do flatter a girl. I was on a beach date with the teaching assistant from my freshman philosophy class. And I was 21, officer. I swear.

He was a great philosopy teacher, too: I don't remember much about Kant or Descarte, but he taught me to make my first bernaise. Definitely worth a semester's tuition.

Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

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My father in law used to fish off the Jersey Shore & he used mullet as bait. We have a picture of an almost full bucket of mullet & a picture of my mother in law, emptying said bucket back into the surf. And yes, that is followed by a picture of my very pissed off father in law.

Rock is dead. Long live paper & scissors!
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