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How to Cook Garfish

Garfish Recipes - 2  Ways to Cook Gar Fish
  1. Fried Gar Balls
  2. Smoked Alligator Gar Roast
The garfish is a prehistoric fish.

Its natural skills and ability to quickly adapt to harsh environmental conditions; its slender and elongated armor-plated body which gave it agility and speed; and, its two rows of sharp teeth on a long and protruding snout, all came together millions of years ago to make the garfish a formidable candidate for survival without evolving.

They are, in essence, living fossils which come equipped with an inner air bladder. This means the gar fish can stay alive, out of the water, longer than most other types of fish. Even in low-oxygen conditions the garfish will come up out of the water for air much like some aqua-mammalians  (whale, dolphin and sea cow).

I prefer the smaller species of garfish (long-nose gar) for my table because they are easier to handle, clean and cook.

On the smaller fish, after removing the outer armor, I use a large metal spoon to scrape the meat out from between the connective tissue, which is common to all species of garfish, and set it aside in a bowl to mix with my other ingredients.

Warning: Under NO circumstances should you consume the eggs of a garfish (roe) because it is poisonous to humans and other warm-blooded animals.

I like to use the more-tender meat of a smaller fish to prepare fried gar balls. I usually go half 'n half (half fish meat and half crumbled baked potatoes) to prepare mine.

I add a couple eggs, chopped green onions, as well as salt and seasonings.

In a bowl mix everything together well and form the mixture into golf ball size spheres. Finally, coat them well by rolling the balls in Italian bread crumbs and fry at 365 degrees F. until they are golden brown in color.

I have also prepared alligator gar fish (3 - 5 lb. roasts) on the barbecue.

I use enough aluminum foil to completely wrap the fish roast, but only after I have smoked it and seasoned it enough.

By setting the alligator gar fish roast on a couple sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, (open-face),  I  can manipulate the amount of smoke I want my fish roast to absorb. The temperature should be between 120 and 180 degrees F. I always use hickory chips to create the smoke for my roast, but other hardwood chips will do just as well.

I gauge how much smoke I need by observing the naturally white meat of the garfish as I am smoking it.

When it reaches a slightly smoky color (dull-gray), I wrap the roast with the aluminum foil and continue cooking it until it's done, but not before dousing it with gobs of melted lemon butter and DIY Cajun seasoning. The larger roasts should not take more than an hour to cook after smoking.

I've also used lemon and orange peels on occasion to enhance the taste of the gar fish roast.

Garfish is a good-tasting fish and its meat is somewhat sweet. Some folks like to compare it to crab meat.

I like it for what it is. Try it some time. You might like it, too.


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  1. this is nice to know for years i have been chopping the heads and then giving em to my dogs as they love all fish i truely did not know they were at all edible i will try this after next weeks fishing trip as i am sure i will catch a few. seems to be all we catch anymore.

  2. I just tried gar for the first time ever. Mainly because I was fishing and caught one. So I watched your video and skinned it. I cooked it with liquid smoke, season all, salt and pepper. Should have put onion but forgot. It has an unusual texture, but taste GREAT!!! Thanks for making the video!!!

  3. I've had garfish before and it's good.
    Where can i buy some today ?

    1. My supplier doesn't sell it anymore, but I will search the NET to see if I can find another reputable supplier and get back to you A.S.A.P. ~ JG

    2. I haven't found anyone yet, but I'll keep looking and let you know when I find something. Thanks for visiting our site. Have a nice day.

  4. I've been eating gar for years it always upset me to hear people throwing them away or saying their trash fish but I would rather eat gar over any other fish I've tried I love them as small nuggets with corn meal salt, pepper, and some cajun seasoning fried up I've made a believer out of many people I've gotten to try gar

  5. Can you put gar pike in a crab boil

  6. newbie to florida. thanks for the video.big ed

  7. I have a few small and 1 very large gar in the freezer and want to cook it but I've never done so before I want an easy way to cook any suggestions

  8. Love Gar Fish I use to catch and skin them.I smother mines in gravy with onions.The best tastin fish ever.I learned how to skin Gar at an early age.GOOD EATS

  9. Smoking some for the first time I will let yall know. But i using pecan wood it's free

  10. I have often wondered why no fish dealer would buy my garden. I fish commercially in NC. Each spring, they run out of the creeks and tributaries to all the waiting gillnet. My wife and I eat them at every chance, but I can't give them away. Just doesn't seem right. Anyway, just my 2 cent.

  11. I grew up in New Orleans eating this fish

  12. Get a Sawzall with a metal blade . After gutting it, deshelling it. Cut into 1" inch steaks. Fried, baked, grilled,bar-be-qued, in a stew, tomato gravey , pattys,balls. Awesome fish.

  13. another tasty thing to do with it is smoke it and then turn it into "fish dip".
    the YouTube channel Deer Mean For Dinner also has a great video/recipe for hush puppy gar balls. They are yummy.


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