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What Does Wahoo Taste Like? Answered (2022 Updated)

Last Updated on October 4, 2022 by Lauren Beck

Wahoo is a type of fish known for its incredible speed. Sport anglers are enamored because catching a game fish like this is rare and involves great skill. Many people also appreciate this game fish because of its great taste and nutritional benefits. 

But what does wahoo taste like? Here’s the real deal. 

Wahoo & Its Taste

Wahoo is juicy, mild tasting, and has a sweet taste. Its fish meat is very lean, delicate, and flaky, with a firm texture. With its high-quality white hue and meaty texture, the wahoo is being compared to the meat of chicken or veal.

Wahoo is the same family member as tuna and mackerel. It has a variety of nutrients as well. But distinct from other fish like those of the mackerel family, it isn’t oily and has a low-fat content. 

What’s A Wahoo? 

Wahoo is Ono in Hawaii and hoo in the United States. It is related to the king mackerel. But Wahoo is more colored, streamlined, has tiny scales, and has a pointed body. When fresh out from the water, they are radiant royal blue, and the top half of the body has blue-purple stripes.

Even though it is said to be one of the hastiest and fastest species of fish in the ocean waters, wahoos can grow to around five feet to eight feet, and the biggest Wahoo ever caught weighed 184 pounds in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. 

Wahoo fishing is common in Hawaii, North and South America, and in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic. 

What Does It Taste Like? 

Raw

Since it has a nice lean texture, it tends to be chunked and can be chewy when raw. The most suitable time to eat and consume it is after catching it and while it’s fresh because after being frozen, it will not taste good and won’t last long. 

It also has a mild flavor, so you won’t be disgusted by the strong fishy flavor.

Cooked

Grilled/Smoked

Wahoo also tends to taste its best when grilled or smoked. The meat is white, crisp, and very flaky. It is a good option for cooking on the smoked grill barbecue due to its fleshy and meaty consistency. 

The best way not to overcook it while grilling is to remove the fish from the oven or grill when half-cooked and cover them to finish cooking.

Steamed

Wahoo can also be prepared by steaming, broiling, or baking it. But you need to check on it timely to avoid it from becoming burned during the cooking procedure. Since it is a lean, meaty fish, it can be seared immediately and be overcooked.

Used In Sashimi & Sushi

Sushi & sashimi are the most common raw Wahoo dishes. When it comes to that, most people often think of a common selection like tuna. But raw Wahoo is naturally a great option for sashimi & sushi grade. It is a good intro if you haven’t eaten both. 

Does Wahoo Fish Taste Fishy?

fisherman holding a wahoo fish

No, since it has a mild flavor, it doesn’t taste fishy, especially when it’s fresh. It also has mild-sweet tasting meat with a firm texture, good fat, and huge, round flakes when cooked. 

However, all fish and seafood naturally lose their freshness rapidly when it hasn’t been properly handled. [1]

Is Wahoo Safe To Eat Raw?

Yes, it is safe to eat raw Wahoo meat. It is most appreciated in Hawaii, the Pacific, and subtropical regions. In fact, it is called ono by Hawaiians, which means “good to eat.” 

Eating wahoo raw is best and safe after catching it, to maintain its fresh taste. The chef or butcher has to know what he’s doing, or a great eating fish like this can be ruined. 

Frozen wahoo meat is still safe to eat when appropriate chilling and filleting measures are done. 

However, it is unsafe for pregnant women or expectant mothers to eat wahoo raw. They should avoid eating raw and undercooked meals of all kinds to prevent the risk of infection and bacteria in raw foods that could harm their baby.

Is This Fish Healthy?

Yes, the Wahoo fish is healthy. Because of its lean meat, it is a good source of protein. It has naturally low saturated fat and also low sodium. The number of several health benefits of wahoo fish includes high omega-3, which is good for heart health.

If it’s cooked well, it may help the postnatal neurological development of the baby. Also, it is said to find a trace amount of vitamins C, A, E, and K.

How Do You Eat It?

There are many ways to eat wahoo. First, you can enjoy its freshness and eat it raw, like Sushi and Sashimi. Second, it’s a perfect fish you can cook by grilling, smoking, and steaming. It also tastes great when baked or broiled.

In some places, people also put wahoo in dishes like tacos, soups, and stews. It is enjoyable to eat no matter how it is prepared.

Does Wahoo Have High Mercury Content? 

Yes, wahoo has high mercury content. It is because of their diet and age or life span. Fish take a minimal amount of mercury from water as it goes through their gills. And being part of the mackerel family, it will tend to have a reasonable volume level of mercury. 

As it ages and consumes small fish, the mercury level also increases. [2

FAQs 

Does wahoo taste like mackerel?

No, wahoo doesn’t taste like mackerel. It is said to taste like tuna, and if it’s grilled, the flavor of the fish tastes like chicken. Smoked wahoo is compared to smoked turkey. Unlike the mackerel family, wahoo meat has a mild flavor, doesn’t have a strong odor or smell, and isn’t fatty. 

Can you marinate wahoo?

Yes, you can marinate wahoo. Like any other fish dish, the wahoo is a versatile fish. Also, marinating it in a resealable bag will prevent the meat from drying out. Wahoo fish meat is more subtle and delicate compared to pork, beef, and chicken. 

And unlike those meats, it doesn’t need a long marination period because you can have a flavorful meal in a short time.

In Summary 

Many people who appreciate the taste of other fish dishes have referenced this as one of their favorite fish. And those who claim they don’t like fish find themselves liking wahoos in any form. 

Since prices of wahoos may vary in the local fisheries located in coastal areas and the local fish market today, if the supply from commercial fishers is low, it tends to be more expensive fish.

We think the wahoo is an underrated fish, considering its mild, aromatic, and terrific taste overall.  

References:

  1. https://extension.umn.edu/preserving-and-preparing/how-avoid-fishy-tasting-fish 
  2. https://health.hawaii.gov/wic/files/2013/05/mercury.pdf 
Lauren Beck
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