How to prepare and cook conch meat

A "how to" guide on preparing and the different methods of cooking conch meat.

How to prepare and cook conch meat

Have you ever had someone gift you some meat and you have no idea what to do do with it?

Well today I'm going to help you figure out how to prepare conch meat. And after this, you would then be able to choose whichever recipe you want to cook it with.

Majority of the time we get conch meat it is already out of the shell. Which is a good thing. It takes a special skill to get the meat out of the shell so I am glad that there are people who go ahead and do that for me.

Even if we happen to get someone who just caught some fresh by the side of the road, (this happens often in the Caribbean), they take it out the shell for us. So I only have to deal with the rubbery meat that's out.



What is Conch?


Pronounced "konk" and commonly called lambi by Haitians, this is the meat from an oversized sea snail. It is native to the coasts of the Bahamas, Florida Keys, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.

It is commonly eaten raw or cooked. All ways are just delicious.

Prepping conch though takes a little work. It's a rubbery meat from the start. And nobody wants to eat rubbery meat, so it needs to be tenderized prior to being eaten.

Let's be real though, the majority of us are going to get our conch from a place that has already cleaned the conch for us. But we still need to be wary of what pieces we are choosing.

Notes to remember:

  • Make sure the pieces are white, with some pink and orange
  • Make sure they are not grey in color
  • Make sure they do not have a "fishy" smell

I like to soak my conch in some water with vinegar for a little bit if it is fresh from the sea conch. For at least an hour. If it is precooked conch you really don't have to do this process.

Regardless of how you plan to cook your conch, you need to get it tender prior to eating and cooking. There are various methods for getting this done.

Ways to tenderize conch?


Method 1


The most common way of tenderizing this meat is to pound it. Here you are beating the meat till it resembles a chicken cutlet. But make sure you don't beat it too much that it starts to fall apart.

A meat tenderizer is the best tool for this, but I've also used a hammer and wrap the conch in plastic wrap.




Method 2


The next method, which I used to make this roast conch recipe, is to boil the conch. Put the conch to simmer in a large pot of salted water for an hour. Adding aromatics is a plus like garlic or onions. Scotch bonnet peppers, oregano, thyme can also be used.

Please note that with this method, expect the conch to get stiffer as it gets into the hot water, but will soften as it boils away.

Method 3


And sometimes you just don't even need to tenderize the conch, especially if the recipe you are going to cook, is going to take a while (say in a stew or soup).  Just make sure that the pieces are uninformed. For the fat pieces, you can easily butterfly (split it) so that it's thinner.

But personally, I always tenderize my conch a little.

Preparing and cooking conch meat
Pounded Conch Meat

Ways to cook conch


I mentioned before it can be eaten raw or cooked.

Raw is usually made up like a ceviche type dish. Popularly made by the Bahamians and called conch salad.

Another popular dish from the Bahamians is called "cracked conch". The conch is actually beaten and deep fried after being soaked in milk and vinegar.

Then there are the "stews". We eat a lot of curry conch in Trinidad and Tobago. Goes great with some dumplings and provision. But you can also stew conch like you stew chicken.

Jamaican's do an amazing steam conch with okra and other vegetables. When I make it I sometimes add some shrimp to the mix. It's a nice spicy dish (as I think seafood dishes should be) and can be eaten alone or paired with some rice.


Different ways to cook conch:
Cracked Conch
Curry Conch
Steam Conch
Conch Salad
Conch Fritters



Preparing conch for curries, stews and frying




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