Close this search box.

Tasting Sailfish: A Look at the Fastest Fillet in the Sea

When it comes to culinary tastes, some fish are more revered for their culinary distinction, and then there are some that are best left for the sea. The Sailfish may not be the prime catch for a culinary occasion, and they are highly sought after fish when it comes to sport fishing. But what does Sailfish taste like?

Sailfish tastes similar to tuna, as it is quite meaty and firm. It also has a stronger fish flavor than other pelagic fish such as Wahoo and Mahi Mahi. Because of its stronger flavor, many fishermen like to smoke sailfish meat along with grilling it.

Sailfish meat is likened to two other meaty fish, the tuna and swordfish, and is often cooked in similar ways. But there are differences between them, and the Sailfish lacks the rich flavor and mildness of both corresponding fishes. 

Although Sailfish is similar to cook when preparing Sailfish or tuna, there are a few important steps to ensure you prepare Sailfish properly. 

How to Cook Sailfish

In some cases, if you’ve caught a sailfish and are not able to release it, you have a large chunk of meat on your hands or on your hook.

Although the Sailfish may not be the fish of choice for most culinary cooks, there are ways to prepare this catch of the day to make it enticing to even the most cynical of chefs. And now that we know what Sailfish taste like it’s time to learn how to cook them.

Author Note: It’s all in the technique. Although Sailfish can be fried, baked, or smoked, the latter method appears to be the favorite method of choice, according to most who have tried the different methods. 

Every edible food, plant, and root is a source of some sort of nutrient or mineral. Whether purely for energy or for vitamins and minerals, there is something in everything, including the Sailfish. As with many fish, the Sailfish is high in protein, vitamin A, vitamin B, and a variety of nutrients. 

Frying Sailfish is one of the least voted for choices of cooking sailfish, but it’s mentioned not the less. If you like to fry your fish, here’s a fried Sailfish recipe for you:

Fried Sailfish

Sailfish fishing

The secret to tough fish meat is to soak it in cold milk for around half an hour prior to cooking. Shred the fillet and soak in cold milk (roughly 30 minutes). Heat butter in a frying pan. Add chopped red onion. Add fresh lemon juice. Add Pepper and crushed garlic.

Ensure that you stir the mixture regularly until the onions have reached that light brown, sauteed color. You should begin to smell it first and then watch as the color changes. Leave it on a relatively low heat setting to avoid the butter and garlic from burning. 

Reach for your cold milk-soaked fish fillets and add them to the onion mixture. Let the shredded meat cook for around 6 minutes, but you can’t monitor the meat to see when it gets tender. If you are unsure, simply trust your palate. Taste a small amount to tell whether or not the meat is soft enough. 

Once you are happy with their texture, remove the fish from the heat, and serve! For a final touch, you can squeeze some more fresh lemon on the top. This recipe also works great for Giant Trevally.

This type of recipe can be done as a light snack or as a saucy accompaniment to some pasta or rice. 

The second favorite way to cook Sailfish is to bake it. If you like your fish baked, take a look at this recipe for baked Sailfish. Unlike mild-tasting fish like Striped Bass, you’ll need to prep your Sailfish for the best flavor.

Baked Sailfish

First things first, set your oven to 300 F.

Next up, you should get ready to prepare your Sailfish. Fillets work best. Find a baking dish where the fillets can fit in well. Once you have placed the fillets in the dish, give them a lightly brushed coat of olive oil. 

Author Note: Take some finely chopped scallions and sprinkle them over the fish. Add pepper and a bit of salt to taste. Simply pop the fillets into the oven and allow to bake for anything from 15 to 25 minutes. 

Once the fillets are tender, remove from heat and place on a serving dish. YOu can garnish the dish with parsley, lime, and cherry tomatoes. 

A Fried and Baked Sailfish Recipe

Now we are just spoiling you for choice. Take a look at this recipe if the above two don’t seem so appetizing. Brush the fillets with olive oil, and rub the following spices into them. We like using garlic, thyme, and salt.

Put the fillets in a heated pan and let it cook on each side for around 5 minutes.

Take the fillets off the heat and place them in a warmer draw.

Take bread crumbs, and squeeze fresh orange, lemon, and lime in it. This should make the bread crumbs into a paste that can be coated over the fillets. 

Place the coated fillets into the oven at around 220F until you see the crust turning into a crispy golden delight. Remove from the oven, and enjoy. 

How to Smoke Sailfish

A giant sailfish presented alongwith other seafood for dinner

Sailfish is not a chef’s first choice. But for resorts and families that rely on the catch of the day, they know that Sailfish is best served smoked. 

Whether you cold smoke or smoke the sailfish over the barbeque, you are sure to get a tasty treat. The trick is in not overdrying the fish, especially since it is already dry meat. 

Overdrying the meat comes from overcooking, and so make sure you are checking the meat before the suggested time is up, just in case it is ready!

Using a Weber or a Barbeque that can close, here is a simple way to prepare smoked Sailfish

Although a few cooks say using a cold smoke method is better for cooking scrumptious Sailfish, it can take a considerable amount of effort. The hot smoked method below is far simpler.

Hot Smoking Sailfish

First, you need to prepare your fire. Make the fire off-center, indirect, and to the side. Prepare the fillet by rubbing it with olive. Are your coals ready? Good. 

Make an indirect fire on just one side of the Weber. Place damp wood chips in a foil parcel and put the parcel on the grid’s side where the fire is. The wood chip parcel should be directly above the fire. 

Put the prepared fillet in the center of the grid. Before you place the lid on, ensure that the vents (both bottom and top) are open. 

An average-sized fillet, along with an average-sized weber and fire, should take around 10 minutes. You can see by the coloring if the fish is ready. The fillets should turn a woody, rich brown. 

Sailfish Characteristics

There are two primary subspecies of Sailfish: Indo-Pacific and Atlantic. Both species can be found throughout the temperate to warm ocean waters throughout the globe. 

Author Note: The Sailfish has a mystic blue color that shifts to grey with a white underbelly. The Sailfish got its name because of its anatomy, its dorsal fin in particular. 

With an impressive dorsal fin that reaches the entire bodily length and a height that surpasses its own breadth, it is no surprise that this fish received its name. 

Sailfish Feeding Habits

Sailfish are formerly classified under the billfish family. Fish classified as billfish will have their upper jaw jutting out over the lower jaw, which some have likened to the spears of the sea. 

Billfish are typically scouring the surface of the deep blue instead of hunting closer to the land. The brilliant sail-like dorsal make hunting schools of fish seem like child’s play, as they use their magnificent dorsal fins to Shepard the shoals. 

But if they don’t feed on shoals of sardines or other small fish, they are also known to hunt and feed on octopus and squid as well. 

Game Fishing for Sailfish

Sailfish underwater

Despite not being the most culinary meat among fish, the Sailfish is often fished for sport amongst fishermen targeting the thrill of the larger game fish. These fish are large and powerful- putting up quite the primordial challenge when hooked. You can catch them using lures similar to Mahi Mahi lures.

Their meat is fairly tough and not widely eaten, but they are prized as game fish. These powerful, streamlined beasts can grow to more than 10 feet and weigh over 500 pounds. When hooked, they will fight vigorously, leaping and diving repeatedly, and sometimes taking hours to land. Many fishermen consider them one of the hardest fighting fish.

Sailfish Population

The Sailfish can be found in large numbers in the warmer and temperate natural habitat. They are not an endangered species, as their population is classified as being stable. As such, the Sailfish is not under any unique environmental protection.

Can You Make Sailfish Taste Better?

Now that you know what Sailfish tastes like, let’s talk a bit about how to improve its flavor.

If you are concerned that the fish will be too dry, you can wrap bacon around the fillets for added fat. 

Then you can leave the fillets on the open coals for a bit to get the bacon crispy before you close the lid and infuse the fish with the smoky flavors. 

Some even say that the Sailfish, when prepared correctly, is a decent fish to eat when it is warm but prefer it the next day after it has been absorbing the flavors for a day in the fridge. How do you prefer to cook your gamefish?


Some fish, such as the Sailfish, cherished more for their excitement for the challenge they put up when fished. The Sailfish is an exciting fish for fishermen to target, especially with their fighting spirit and fast swimming ability. 

Sailfish are so fast that they are regarded as the fastest swimmers among the fish species. We hope you found our article on what does Sailfish taste like useful and informative. 

Happy Hunting!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts