Groupers belong to one of the largest and most widely distributed families of fish, the sea bases. Red grouper is the most frequently seen grouper in the marketplace and is valued for its availability, flavor and size. The black grouper is more limited in it’s availability, although many chefs prefer it because of its smaller head which results in a greater yield. Market size for black grouper is around 20 pounds and red grouper usually comes to us at 5 to 15 lbs. Groupers are found in temperate waters from the Mid-Atlantic States and Florida to South America. Once the skin is removed, it is hard to tell red and black grouper apart, although black grouper has firmer meat when fresh. The raw meat of both is white and lean. The domestic grouper season is closed from February 15 to March 15, which is when the fish spawn.
Grouper has a mild yet distinct flavor, somewhere between bass and halibut. The taste of most groupers is similar, with slight differences in flavor and texture, depending on size, species and location of harvest. Red grouper is sweeter and milder than black grouper. They both have a very firm texture, heavy flake and good moisture retention