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Red Drum

a close up of an animal

Our favorite way to cook Red Drum is with New Orleans Chef  Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Redfish Magic, which we carry in the market. For cooking indoors, get a cast iron (preferably) or heavy non stick pan hot. Add some high temp oil of your preference and clarified butter. Depending on your preference of spice sprinkle this on your fillet. Over high heat, quickly dear each side for approximately 2-4 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillet. 

For cooking outdoors you must use a cast iron pan. Heat it until it smokes over the barbecue or gas grill. This is where it differs from inside and you need the outdoor ventilation: liberally coat your fillets in melted butter then in the blackening seasoning. Throw it in the pan and it will sear very quickly forming a thick dark crust. Flip once after a couple minutes and cook until finish about 2 minutes longer. Serve with rice, a salad, on tacos, a salad, really anything you want! 

You may recognize this prized fish by its characteristic black tail spots. Scientists believe that the spots may fool predators into attacking the red drum toward their tails instead of near their eyes, allowing the drum to escape.

It’s Latin name is Sciaenops ocellatus; Sciaenops is Greek for perch-like marine fish and ocellatus is Latin for eye-like colored spot. But y’all probably know it by it’s common name: Red Drum. It derives this name from it’s red golden color and the sound males make during spawning season. 

For nearly fifty years this this has been our state fish. In 1971, Red Drum (channel bass, puppy drum, redfish) was designed the state saltwater fish of North Carolina. We are famous for our trophy-sized red drum that weigh over 40 pounds, traditionally caught in the surf and sound between Oregon Inlet an Cape Lookout. 

Hatteras Island is known for being a red drum haven itself.  In 1984, a giant red drum was caught off Hatteras Island that weighed 94 pounds, 2 ounces; this catch remains the state record and is also a world record for all tackle. North Carolina has produced 10 out of 16 current world records for red drum! 

CHARACTERISTICS

Red drum derive their name from their color and the fact that during spawning time, males produce a drum-like noise by vibrating a muscle in their swim bladder. The color of red drum ranges from a deep blackish, coppery color to nearly silver. The most common color is reddish-bronze.

Red drum is the accepted common name for this species by the American Fisheries Society, but they are also called channel bass, spottail bass and redfish. Juvenile red drum — those aged 1 to 4 years — are called puppy drum. Red drum are related to black drum, spotted seatrout, weakfish, sea mullets, croaker and spot, most of which also make drum sounds.

Fisheries scientists refer to the species as Sciaenops ocellatus; Sciaenops is Greek for perch-like marine fish and ocellatus is Latin for eye-like colored spot. The Latin term refers to the black spot (usually one, but sometimes two or more) on either side near the base of the tail. Scientists believe that the spots may fool predators into attacking the red drum toward their tails instead of near their eyes, allowing the drum to escape.

Read more about this fish at NC Department of Marine Fisheries