How to Clean a Stingray:
Cleaning a stingray is similar to filleting flounder. If you have experience with flounder, this will come naturally. If you don’t have this experience, here is my preferred way to do it.
First off, clean it really well because stingrays are extremely slimy. The more you clean it the easier it is to handle. Lay the stingray belly down on the cleaning table or large cutting board, use your hand to squeeze the main body and find where the back turns to into the side, this is also where the feel goes from hard to soft. Stingrays have four fillets, two on top and two on the bottom. They don’t have bones, but there is a wing of cartilage between the top and bottom fillets.
I use a fillet knife to slice downward along the side from front to back, but I am mindful about the cartilage. There is nothing wrong with cutting through the cartilage, in fact some people remove the whole wing then separate the fillets that way. I however prefer to use that cartilage as a guide for my knife.
After I cut down along the sides I then flatten the knife and follow the cartilage out towards the end of the wing. The fillet will come right off and you will see some of the coolest looking meat you have ever seen. It almost looks pre-ground and stringy, but don’t let that dissuade you from trying it because it is delicious.
Repeat on the opposite wing. If you have a hard time with hand dominance and cutting you can always spin the stingray around and do it the exact way you did with your dominant hand.
Next, I flip it over onto its back and fillet the underside of each wing by repeating the steps above. Keep in mind it will be a bit more wobbly upside down. The fillets on the bottom are smaller but worth the cut.
After you have all four fillets cut out you need to remove the skin. This is easy with the right knife. You want a knife long enough to cut the whole fillet. Starting on one side you place the knife as close to the skin as possible then slide it from one end to the other.
Stingray can be fried, boiled, seared or baked. So next time you accidentally catch a ray check that it is not a protected species first. If it is not, try something new.
Stingray is a very versatile flavored meat. It has similar consistency to crab meat and scallops. Stingray also compliments the flavor of spices used. Fried with cajun rub, it may taste like catfish. Boiled and topped with butter it can taste like lobster. If you want to pair it with vegetables and a good light wine, I suggest the following.
1 stingray fillet smoked at 220 until it reaches 150 internal.
1 stick of butter
1 cup white wine
1 quarter cup of lemon juice.
1 tbsp fresh chopped dill
1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
2 tsp flour
- Bring a medium pan to medium heat and add 1 stick of butter. Allow the butter to melt.
- Add white wine, lemon juice, dill and heavy whipping cream.
- Allow the mixture to come to a simmer
- Stir in the flour and allow to thicken.
- Add the smoked stingray to a plate and top with sauce.
- The meal can also be served over linguine or rice.