Manatee Recipes

Manatee meat has a mild taste and readily adapts to recipes for beef. Choice cuts of meat, primarily the tail and peduncle, can be used in any recipe. The body and flipper meat, with just a little extra preparation and special recipes, can be just as tasty. I recommend cubing the less-tender cuts for extra tenderness or pounding steaks with a meat mallet.

Regardless of what cut of manatee meat you are using, all fat and sinew must be removed before freezing or preparing. Even the yellowish fat between the layers should be removed. When using flipper or body meat, we recommend removing the white tendons and vessels as well.

Manatee meat has been successfully frozen for over a year. This was done by removing all fat, wrapping well in cellophane and then again in freezer paper. Manatee meat can be tenderized in several different ways. Some restaurants run each piece of meat through a cubing machine. Other restauranteurs recommend pounding each peice of manatee with a meat mallet until thin, usually about one inch. All restaurants recommend cutting manatee meat across the grain for a more tender piece of meat.

Body and flipper meat cuts are excellent choices for burgers, casseroles, ground meat, soups and stews. Peduncle and tail meat work well for roasts, steaks and barbecue.

Regardless of which cut of meat you use, you will find manatee to be a very delicious and versatile meat. It is also low in fat, making it a great item for the calorie conscious person.

Meat cut types

Tail - cut across the base of the tail just below abdomen
Flipper - sever the joints where flippers attach to body
Peduncle - meat from peduncle muscles
Torso - remaining meat from the back and ribs

Appearance of meat cuts

Tail - light pink to white with internal bands of hard white fat that appear circular in cross sections and run lengthwise near the tailbone
Flipper - darker in color with small fat deposits along tendons
Torso - similar to meat from tail but without fat bands

A* - top of neck, cube or use mallet
B* - neck meat, cube or use mallet
C - back, tender
D - body meat
E - peduncle, very tender
F - tailmeat, very tender
G* flipper meat, must cube or use mallet
* less tender cuts


Manatee Balls
1 lb chopped manatee meat
1 egg
1 Tbsp finely chopped onions
2 Tbsps. finely chopped celery
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 Tbsps finely chopped shallots
2 Tbsps lemon pepper
1/2 Tsp salt
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup cooking oil Flour to dredge

Combine all ingredients, form into 1-inch balls. Allow to set for one hour. Dredge with flour and fry until brown. Serve hot.

Baked Manatee
6 manatee steaks
lemon juice
lemon slices
garlic powder
chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Arrange manatee steaks in an ovenware dish large enough to place in a single layer, sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic. Squeeze lemon juice over steaks. Cut a generous amount of butter into squares and place over the steaks. Arrange lemon slices over the steaks and then sprinkle generously with parsley. Bake in a 375 F oven until steaks are cooked. Serve with french bread.

Grilled Manatee
2 lbs manatee steaks
1 Tbs. onion powder
1 Tbs. garlic salt
1 Tsp. butter for each steak

Season steaks with onion and garlic. Place in an aluminum pan ( or wrap and seal in aluminum foil ) on grill. Dot each steak with butter. Turn over half way through cooking. Cook over medium grill for 15 to 20 mins.

5 lbs manatee meat, ground
2 onions minced
3 potatos diced small
3 bread slices diced small

Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder Mix all ingredients and form into patties. Pan fry until golden brown.

Manatee Broulettes
2 lbs manatee
2 egg yolks
1/2 bell pepper oil
2 stalks celery
salt and pepper to taste
3 sllices of bread
2 onions
1 cup water

Grind together with the manatee, onions, celery, and bell pepper. Soak bread in milk and press out. Add to ground mixture. Add egg yolks and season to taste. Spoon into hot oil and brown. Remove and in another pot add the water and bring to a boil. Put in the broulettes in the water and steam on low heat for 35 minutes with a cover on.

Beer Fried manatee
1 lb manatee

Trim meat and cut into finger sized pieces. Soak pieces in beer overnight. Drain. Deep fat fry until golden brown.

Manatee Spaghetti
3 lbs manatee meat
3-6 oz cans of tomato paste
4 Tsps salt
1 cup minced bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cups minced onion
1/2 cup worchestershire sauce
1 lb mushroom stems and pieces
3 cans (2 lbs, 3 oz each) tomatoes
4 Tsps oregano
3 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbsps sweet basil
1/2 lb sliced bacon, diced
1-1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp tabasco

In a 4-6 quart pot, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon and all but 3 tbsp bacon grease. Add manatee meat which has been cut into 1 inch cubes and brown. (If using smoked manatee meat, omit this stage) Remove meat when brown and set aside. Sauté onions, drained mushrooms, bell pepper and garlic for 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, worcestershire sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and tabasco. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours or longer. Add reserved manatee meat and simmer until meat is tender. Serve over spaghetti with parmesan cheese. Sauce yield is approximately 5 quarts.

Manatee and Scallops
4 manatee steaks - 1 inch thick
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter

Trim all fat from steaks. Cut and pound steaks until 1" thin. Beat egg and add milk. Dip each piece into egg mixture. In a skillet, heat butter. Saute steaks on each side 2 to 4 minutes. Serve 'scallop sauce' over manatee steaks.

Soup Du Manatee
2 lbs manatee meat, cubed
2 tbsps oil
1 cup roux
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2/3 cup bell pepper, chopped
1 lb can whole tomatoes in juice
1 lemon sliced across
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper
1 tsp black pepper
2- inch cut basil sprigs
2 quarts water
4 tbsps parsley

Heat oil. Add roux, tomatoes and juice, onion, celery, bell peppers, lemon, seasonings and herbs. Stir well. Add water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 2-1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Add parsley and simmer a few minutes more. Add dry sherry if desired when serving.

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