What are Grouper Cheeks?

Grouper cheeks are a delicacy worldwide as seafood is consumed in many different forms. Usually, grouper cheeks relate to the cheek part of a grouper fish—black grouper or red grouper. However, it also means rock, cod, sand perch, jewfish, Warsaw, and sea bass, varying from region to region.

What is grouper cheek meat like?

The reason this meat is so sought after is its taste, mainly. The taste of grouper cheek is almost like lobster meat, fresh and delicate in texture. Moreover, it has extremely low-fat content and serves as a healthy alternative to red meat and any other meat which is high in calories.

In the market, the big and stuffed head of the fish is what people look for, the bigger the head, the more the meat. However, bigger meat is not associated with bigger fish; the two most common fish, red and black grouper, vary from 5 pounds to 20 pounds in size.

When buying fish meat in the market, selecting the best quality one is very important. A perfect grouper cheek should be firm yet sweet, exactly like lobster meat in taste and texture. If the meat you have is not like that, you probably bought old or low-quality fish.

How is the meat sold?

Grouper cheek meat is sold in three forms in the market, and you can buy the one that seems the easiest to handle for you.

  • Skinless fillet: This is the most common form of fish. The meat is not only skinless but also boneless, so it is the easiest to prepare.
  • Steaks: Fish steaks are also known as fish cutlets and are similar to skinless fillets but cut in a different way. This peace can include bones.
  • Whole fish: The fish has skin, bones, and everything else still attached. It is the freshest form of fish that you can buy.

How to buy good quality grouper cheeks?

When looking for grouper cheek meat, it is extremely important that it be of good quality. The quality affects the way that the fish cooks and how it tastes as well. Here is how you will select the best quality meat on the market. In addition to that, when buying a fillet or steak, you have to find the cheek meat, which can be found by following some key markers.

Before getting started, you should know that the skin of the fish is inedible because it is very thick, hard to chew, and tasteless. This is why the skin has to be removed before cooking the fish. For this reason, many people choose to buy skinless fish, as the process of removing skin from fresh fish is tiresome. However, if you want to ensure that the fish you have is fresh, buying whole fish is the best way to do that.

The size of the fillet

The fillet size can determine if the piece you have is the cheek piece or not. A cheek piece of the fillet is usually pretty large as it is a large part of the fish. A good quality cheek fillet should provide a decent amount of meat with just one piece. Of course, asking the shopkeeper what the piece is will also help, but make sure to choose a larger, pink, and fresh-looking fillet.

The type of fish

If you want a red grouper or black grouper for your meal, you can identify the fish by looking at the skin of the whole fish. The red variant has a reddish-brown color with dark spots, whereas black ones have greyish spots on the skin. However, make sure to remove the skin after buying the fish because it is inedible.

The quality of meat

This is the most important point when buying fish cheeks. The quality of meat depends on the color of the meat. A pinkish color indicates healthy and fresh meat, which will taste great. Therefore, avoid the white or cloudy appearance of fish meat as it indicates that the fish is old and has been lying there for a while.

How to Cook Grouper Cheeks?

You can cook grouper cheeks in many ways now. They can be poached, steamed, boiled, seared, or even fried, and the texture will remain firm and delicious. The taste of the fish varies from slightly sweet to medium sweet and cooking it will enhance the flavor greatly. The red grouper is said to be sweeter than the black one. Furthermore, many people compare the taste of the fish to that of a halibut or bass.

When cooking it, the time required depends greatly on the cut of the fish. Since red grouper is available in smaller pieces, it can cook much more quickly than black grouper. On average, it takes only 10 minutes to cook the fish completely. However, I then cut it much thicker than average. It can take around 20 minutes.

A recipe

The ingredients for the easiest way to cook grouper cheeks are:

  • Grouper cheek fillet
  • Butter
  • 2 tbsps. of oil
  • Salt to taste

First, you take an iron skillet and add the oil to heat it. After that, add the grouper cheek fillet and cook it on each side until it turns golden brown on medium heat. After that, take the desired amount of butter and brush the fillet with it. Lastly, add salt to taste and garnish as you like, and it is ready to be consumed.


Grouper cheeks are a delicious food item that many people love to eat because of their lobster-like taste and texture. If you are a seafood lover, this should be tried at least once in your life. 

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