Fish can be surprisingly difficult food to prepare. Perhaps it is because of how deceptively different many fish are from meat.
Maybe it is the sheer variety of the number of fish out there, and how each one has its different threshold for the perfect way to cook them.
Either way, many people seem to be hesitant to cook most types of fish for themselves or others. At least, not without a guide.
Take halibut, for example. Despite it being a staple fish of many seafood diets, it always feels like they are too easy to overcook.
And considering that halibut can be pretty expensive, depending on where you source it from, that’s a lot of time and money that can go to waste by overcooking it.
So, if you’re going to want to cook halibut to perfection, then you’re going to need to know a few things about it before the next time you cook it.
A good recipe, the right ingredients, as well as, most importantly, how to know what temperature your halibut should be on the inside when it is cooked.
Well, that’s what we’re going to cover in this article. We’re going to go into a little detail as to what makes halibut such great food, why it can often be difficult to cook them right, as well as what temperature they should be at once you have cooked them.
We’re also going to show you a great recipe for cooking halibut for yourself, as well as some tools that you might find useful for getting your halibut to just the right temperature.
What Is Halibut?
So, before we get any deeper into what exactly makes halibut a tricky fish to work with, we should first probably explain what exactly this food is.
After all, there are plenty of people who may not have even heard of halibut before clicking on this article, so it pays to make sure that everyone is working from the same level.
Halibut is the common-use name that is given to several species of flatfish that can be found across the Northern Hemisphere. The three accepted varieties are the Atlantic, Pacific, and Greenland halibut fish respectively.
The first thing that most people will notice about halibut, whatever species they are looking at, is their flat appearance, having an asymmetrical appearance where both of their eyes are found on one side of the fish.
During development, flatfish such as halibut will have many of their features migrate from one side to the other, giving them a strange, almost disorganized appearance.
The second thing that most people will notice is how large they can get.
Halibut is the largest flatfish in the ocean, with the largest example ever caught being an incredible 8 feet and 7 inches long, and weighing 515 pounds (or 234kg)!
Whilst this is a pretty wild exception, it just goes to show just how big this type of fish can get in some cases.
Nutrition And Benefits
This general information about this fish is all well and good, but the details that most of us care about are halibut’s nutritional qualities that we get from eating a well-prepared halibut.
Halibut have been known for many years for being packed with plenty of nutrients that your body needs to work at its best.
Like many other fishes, halibut are stuffed full of great-quality protein. Just one serving of halibut will pack enough protein to meet your daily requirement for the nutrient.
This makes halibut a great food to help get you the nutrients needed to complete vital metabolic reactions in your body.
Not only that but like many other kinds of seafood, halibut is also packed with plenty of omega-3, which is well-known for being an excellent ingredient to support a healthy heart and arterial system.
Halibut also has some more unique qualities to it.
Whilst many fish can often be oily to cook, making them somewhat unpleasant for some to eat, and giving off a strong smell that is difficult to get rid of, halibut is generally a fish with noticeably less oily flesh.
This makes them ideal seafood to offer someone if they love the taste of fish, but dislike the change of texture that oilier seafood often has.
Why Is Halibut So Difficult To Cook?
Whilst halibut certainly isn’t the most difficult seafood to cook out there (that honor goes to the cephalopods of the ocean, like octopus and squid), it is a surprisingly tricky fish to cook, especially for people who do not have a lot of experience preparing this fish for consumption.
After all, when someone describes well-cooked halibut as a mild, slightly sweet, and succulent flavor and texture, only to get something that is tough, something has probably gone wrong!
The reason for this is that, without the proper preparation and coin method, overcooked halibut becomes surprisingly dry and tough to chew and eat.
This is because, as we mentioned before, halibut has a noticeably lower oil content than other fish, such as tuna or salmon.
This means that once the water content of halibut has dried out in the cooking process, making it dries out far quicker than other fish when it is cooked for too long.
Dried-up fish is the problem that can throw people off when they are cooking this particular piece of seafood.
Often, they will cook it at a higher temperature than halibut should be cooked at, as well as for too long, and find that they have already burnt their halibut, and made it next to inedible.
Like we said in the introduction, these fish can be pretty hard to come by at a low price, so wasting one like this can be a real bummer.
This is why it is important that you have a decent idea as to
What Should The Internal Temperature Of Halibut Be When It Is Cooked?
The best way to avoid this issue when you cook your halibut is to make sure that the internal temperature of the halibut doesn’t get too high for the fish that you are cooking.
Which, as the cook, means that you need to know what the right temperature your halibut should be when you take it off of the heat you are cooking it over.
Generally speaking, the temperature that your halibut will be cooked at, and it can be removed from any heat source, is around 145 degrees Fahrenheit, according to most government guidelines for serving.
Certainly, this is a temperature that is safe for professionals to serve to customers.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to get the whole fish to this temperature if you are cooking this for yourself. Otherwise, you may find yourself with another piece of hot dried fish.
Ideally, you only need to get the internal temperature of halibut to somewhere between 125 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remember, the lower fat content of this fish means that it is going to dry up much quicker than other fish, so it is important that the water content is maintained by not burning it through
How To Check What Your Halibut’s Internal Temperature Is
Of course, checking to see if your food is cooked seems simple from the outside. Simply wait for the outside to start changing color, usually to some shade of brown or golden, and you’re good to go.
However, checking the temperature that is inside your food can be particularly tricky. This is especially the face for meat and fish, where the inside can often have only just started cooking once the outside is already overcooked.
For many people, cutting open the food you are preparing is a go-to option. It is simple and gives you a clear indication between the inside and outside of your food.
However, this does also mean that you will be ruining the appearance of the food that you are preparing.
And in the case of somewhere like a professional restaurant, or even bringing it to an informal family gathering, that simply will not do.
The second option that many people will turn to is using some type of cooking thermometer.
Using one of these products helps avoid ruining the rest of your food, as well as gives you a much more precise answer to the question ‘how hot is my food right now?’.
Certainly more so than just looking at a piece of food, that’s for sure!
How Long Does Cooking Halibut Take?
So, now that we have cleared up how hot the inside of your halibut fish should be when you have finished cooking it, we can move on to the next section, figuring out how long you should cook your halibut.
This feels like it should be a simple question on the paper. However, how hot you will be cooking your halibut will also likely depend on how exactly you are preparing it.
There are several ways in which you can prepare halibut. However, one of the most common ways to prepare this fish is by cooking it in a frying pan, then finishing the cooking process in an oven of some kind, either electric or fan.
- Before you start cooking, you should make sure that you have already pre-heated an oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make sure that you heat a skillet that is oven-proof over your stove, and put in some olive oil.
- Season both sides of your halibut with salt and pepper, and put it in the hot skillet.
- It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to cook your halibut skin-side down. After this adding a tablespoon of butter to your pan will help keep your fish moist.
- After another 4-5 minutes, put the halibut in the oven, and add your thermometer to watch the internal temperature.
- After it has reached 125 to 130 degrees, take your halibut out, and it should be ready to serve.
Halibut is not an easy fish to cook. Hopefully, we have shown you how to in this guide!