Keep Those Drum and Cook Them

Freshwater drum are considered roughfish by some anglers, but these relatives of redfish are fun to catch and delicious

Keep Those Drum and Cook Them

Freshwater drum are considered roughfish by some anglers, but these relatives of redfish are fun to catch and delicious. (Photo by Keith Sutton)

Most anglers don’t like the freshwater drum, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why.

In terms of catchability, fight ability and edibility, this silver maverick rates high among the many fishes found throughout the United States. But more often than not, the drum, also known as the sheepshead or gaspergou, is bad-mouthed, scorned and thrown back by uninformed and unappreciative anglers.

That’s unfortunate. In addition to being a very catchable fighting machine, the freshwater drum is a culinary delight. If you doubt me, fillet the next drum you catch and try some of the recipes that follow.

Drum fillets are firm yet delicately flavored, comparable in taste and texture to redfish or swordfish. Despite misconceptions, they do not contact the small Y-bones often seen in fish like carp and pike.


For the best taste, you should place drum in an ice-filled cooler immediately after you catch them. If you put them in a wire fish basket or on a stringer, they quickly die and the flesh begins to spoil. Ice keeps them fresh and tasty.


Fillet each fish, just as you would a bass, and then trim all dark reddish flesh from the outer side of each fillet. This takes a bit of time, but is well worth it. The thick, bone-free pieces of light-colored meat thus produced are delicious in casseroles, soups, with sauce, or simply broiled and served with butter and lemon. The delectable recipes offered here will make you a believer.

Mock Crabmeat Ingredients:

  • Drum fillets, cut in 1-inch wide strips.
  • Liquid shrimp and crab boil

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, bring to boil enough water to cover the amount of fish you are serving. Season the water with shrimp and crab boil, following the instructions on the bottle.
  2. Place the strips of fish into a wire basket and drop the basket into the seasoned water. Let the fish cook only long enough so it turns opaque and begins to flake.
  3. Remove the pot from the fire, and let the fish soak for about 15 minutes to pick up the seasonings. Then take the fish basket from the water and allow the pieces to drain.
  4. Serve hot, with melted butter or cocktail sauce, or allow to cool, flake and use in dishes requiring crabmeat.

Quick & Easy Gaspergou Ingredients:


  • 1 ½ pounds drum fillets
  • Lemon-pepper seasoning
  • Dried dill weed
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Season both sides of the fillets with lemon-pepper and dill. Sauté each fillet in melted butter over medium heat, 5 minutes per side, or till the fish flakes easily when fork-tested.
  2. Serve piping hot with butter poured over. Garnish with cilantro leaves if desired. Yields 3 servings.
  3. “FreshwaterDrum”
    A few shakes of lemon-pepper spice, some dill and some butter can transform a freshwater drum fillet into a delicious meal (Keith Sutton photo)

Spicy Baked Drum Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • Olive oil
  • One 8- to 10-ounce drum fillet
  • ½ lemon

Directions:


  1. Place the first six ingredients in a jar or zip-seal bag, and shake until thoroughly mixed. Rub olive oil on the fish fillet, and then sprinkle both sides of the fillet with the seasoning mixture.
  2. Squeeze half the lemon over the fish. Place in a lightly greased baking dish; bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Yields an entrée for two.

Blackened Drum Ingredients:

  • 10 (6- to 10-oz.) drum fillets
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and kept warm in a skillet
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons white pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, use a fork to thoroughly combine all ingredients except the drum fillets and unsalted butter. Dip each piece of fish in melted butter, and then sprinkle some of the blackening spice mix evenly on each side.
  2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet until it is almost white hot. Place the fish in the hot skillet, cooking one piece at a time. Pour a teaspoon of melted butter atop each piece. (Be careful; the butter may flame up.)
  3. Cook about 2 minutes, turn, and pour another teaspoon of butter on top. Cook 2 minutes more. When the fish is done, it should be flaky, white and still very moist inside.
  4. Serve each piece while piping hot with more hot melted butter on the side for dipping.

Sheepshead Chowder Ingredients:

  • 1 pound smoked sausage
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 4 large potatoes, diced
  • 2 pounds coarsely cut shrimp
  • 1 pound crabmeat
  • 2 pounds coarsely chopped drum fillets
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Boil the sausage in a small amount of water for 4 minutes, drain off the water and let the sausage cool. Dice the sausage and set aside.
  2. In a big pot, melt the butter and sauté the onions, potatoes, shrimp and crabmeat. Cook until heated through, but no longer.
  3. Add the fish and stir it around until it turns white. As it cooks, sprinkle with salt.
  4. Turn the heat up to medium high and add the milk, water and cream. Stir constantly, heating until the mixture just bubbles. Do not allow to boil.
  5. When chowder is hot, stir in celery salt, cayenne and chopped sausage. Then reduce heat so the chowder just stays hot.
  6. Chop the hard-boiled eggs, add them to the chowder with the parsley and cook on low about 15 minutes. Serves 10 to 15.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Costa and Captains for Clean Water

Costa and Captains for Clean Water

With the company's heavy involvement in initiatives like Kick the Plastic and Captains for Clean Water campaigns, Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead all about the sunglass maker's unwavering commitment to help the freshwater and saltwater environment.

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead gets new product details from Simms Fishing Product's John Frazier about the new waterproof 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch.

Berkley

Berkley's Frittside Crankbaits

World Fishing Network show host Chad LaChance had a chance to visit with legendary crankbait master David Fritts about his new Frittside crankbaits from Berkley. LaChance, host of the Fishful Thinker on WFN, also got a few cranking tips from Fritts, the former Classic and Forrest Wood Cup champion.

Lure Lock Tackle Cases: No-Spill, No-Scent

Lure Lock Tackle Cases: No-Spill, No-Scent

Glenn Walker talks us through the soy-based technology that makes Lure Lock cases spill-proof and scent-proof. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a species Catfish

10 Biggest Catfish World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - December 08, 2014

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a...

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the Garden State's hottest bass fishing. Destinations

7 Best Bets for New Jersey Bass

J.B. Kasper - October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the...

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Outdoor BBQ

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range

See More Trending Articles

More Fish

This super quick and easy recipe for Catfish Veracruz is low carb, keto friendly and packed with amazing, spicy south-of-the-border flavor. Fish

Quick and Easy Catfish Veracruz Recipe

Emilie Bailey

This super quick and easy recipe for Catfish Veracruz is low carb, keto friendly and packed...

This Grilled Catfish with Tangy Orange Sauce Recipe is quick and easy to grill up. Fish

Grilled Catfish with Tangy Orange Sauce Recipe

Keith 'Catfish' Sutton

This Grilled Catfish with Tangy Orange Sauce Recipe is quick and easy to grill up.

With backyard chefs and cooks getting ready to celebrate Uncle Sam's annual birthday bash, here are five delicious fish recipes to keep handy. Fish

5 Awesome Fish Recipes for Summertime Cookouts

Lynn Burkhead

With backyard chefs and cooks getting ready to celebrate Uncle Sam's annual birthday bash,...

Start with evenly cut pieces of crappie fillets for this recipe. Fish

Quick Grilled Crappie Recipe

Keith 'Catfish' Sutton

Start with evenly cut pieces of crappie fillets for this recipe.

See More Fish

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now