Black drum are a species of southern saltwater fish which feed on the bottom and are mainly caught near shore on shellfish baits like cut shrimp. They are not very glamorous, but they are a hardy, hard-fighting fish. Carolina cooks also know that black drum between 1 and 8 pounds are very good to eat and fit into many seafood recipes.
For tips on catching and cooking all of our Carolina inshore saltwater fish check out my new book Surf and Saltwater Fishing in the Carolinas.
Black drum get huge, up to 100 pounds even, but the larger ones are not good to eat and should be released alive. Black drum can be found year-round in many places and are a common catch of bottom anglers. The best tasting black drum are the ones caught from cooler water in the winter.
Smaller black drum are a silvery or white fish with big bold black stripes. They are sometimes confused with sheepshead. On the table black drum are a meaty fish that work in many different seafood recipes:
Black Drum Parmesan
- 1 lb black drum fillets
- 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 pats butter
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
Place black drum in broiling pan. Add wine. Sprinkle bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese over fish and top with pats of margarine if desired. Broil for 10-15 minutes until fish turns opaque. Serve with lemon slices. Serves 2.
Carolina Black Drum Gumbo
Black drum have chunky meat that is perfect for gumbo.
- 2 lb black drum fillets, cut into chunks
- ½ lb bacon
- 1 lb smoked sausage, sliced
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup green and/or red pepper, diced
- ½ cup celery, diced
- ½ cup okra, diced
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
- 4 cups chicken broth
- four drops hot sauce
Saute bacon in a large pot and reserve (crumble bacon when cool). Heat bacon fat until it begins to smoke, then add an equal amount of flour. Stir until the mixture is brown. Add broth, sausage, vegetables, seasonings, and crumbled bacon. Cook on medium high heat for 5 minutes and then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes constantly stirring.
Add black drum and simmer 10 minutes more. Serve over white rice. Serves 6.
Black Drum Fish Cakes
- 1 lb black drum fillets, cooked and diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- ½ red pepper, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 small red potatoes, cooked and diced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- ½ teaspoon seafood seasoning
- dash Worcestershire sauce
- dash hot sauce
- olive oil
Mix all ingredients except oil, and blend well. Form into cakes. Heat olive oil on the stove and sauté cakes lightly on both sides. Don’t overcook, serve as soon as cakes are golden brown. Serves 4.
Sunset Beach Black Drum and Mushrooms
- 1 lb black drum fillets, cut into finger-length strips
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- ½ cup each chopped onion and red pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- olive oil
Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat. Sauté mushrooms, onions, and red pepper for about 8 minutes. Rub lemon juice on black drum fillets and dash with black pepper. Move veggies to the side of the skillet and cook black drum in the center, about 12 minutes. Serves 4. Very good over wild rice.
For many more free southern saltwater seafood recipes and fishing tips check out my blog A Dash of Salty