Seafood Jubilee

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Liketoeat
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2003/08/24 11:02:20 (permalink)

Seafood Jubilee

Just happened to remember a "seafood event" hadn't recalled in years but which thought any of you unfamiliar with might find interesting. Every summer along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay in the general area of Fairhope, AL (ranging from about Point Clear up to Daphne) there off and on occur on some nights these "jubilees", a sort of "raptures of the deep" for seafood of all sorts (shrimp, crabs, oysters, fish, any sealife in the area) where they just come up in the shallow water or on the beach (guess kinda like whales beaching themselves) and are just lying there, fully alive and healthy, waiting to be picked up. Don't think they know exactly what causes "jubilees" but in general they are caused by some combination of temperature, barometric pressure, tides, and most of all degree of bay salinity (mixture of salt and fresh water in the bay which amount of rain upstate significantly impacts). Have read that jubilees only occur in that area of Mobile Bay, in two spots in Australia, and believe in one spot in South Africa. Don't know if they still do it, but back all the years I lived in Mobile, high school kids out of school for the summer & without jobs would patrol the beaches at nights and when they discovered a jubilee had occurred (most happen during middle of night), they would go home and start spreading word by phone as well as just running or driving up and down the streets honking horns, beating on tubs, noisemaking in whatever manner, and yelling "Jubilee". Most of the residents of area where jubilee had occurred would get up and go to beach with tubs, pans, buckets, etc. and just pick up the sealife which they'd take home and clean and prepare for meal later in the day or for freezing. All those years at work whenever any of the employees who lived in Fairhope area were a little late getting in, you could pretty well figure that a jubilee had occurred and they had been up most of the night. And, if lucky, you might get some delicious seafood that or the next day. Jubilees only occur during summer and some summers there are lots more than others. Just an interesting and rather unusual event.
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    Sundancer7
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/24 14:20:30 (permalink)
    I stayed at the Marriott in Fairhope and I had heard previous conversation about the jubilee. I really do not understand the phenob.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #2
    mayor al
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/24 14:26:47 (permalink)
    Sounds a lot like the Grunion Runs along the SoCal coast. Grunion (a sardine sized fish) come ashore to spawn at the high tide of the new moon nites during the late spring and summer months...just for a night or two. The usual run occurs late at night(early in the morning).
    Many of us would use "The Grunion were running" as an excuse for returning from a date very late and somewhat "mussed-up".
    #3
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/24 14:29:19 (permalink)
    Mr. Mayor: Is the grunion edible and if so, how do they prepare a small fish like that? Do they gut them and eat them bones and all like you do small trout?

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    pigface
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/24 16:41:58 (permalink)
    Fairhope is a NICE Town
    And easy pickin' fresh seafood too ...
    #5
    mayor al
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/24 17:33:40 (permalink)
    Paul
    The only way we have enjoyed Grunion was a quick cut to 'gut'em' and fry them whole in some salted butter.
    They come ashore by the thousands when they 'run'. No tackle, nets or trapping devices are allowed. A person can grab as many as possible and then stick their catch in a bag or bucket and go for more. It is usually an activity for agile young folks, assisted by controlled amounts of distilled spirits.
    #6
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/24 18:07:15 (permalink)
    Mr. Mayor: I ain't agile anymore but I think I would like to be a part of the gathering. I have seen them featured in the National Geographic Mag where they showed people running around gathering them and I wondered about the taste. Would you compare them with small trout.

    No grunions in east Tennessee but I was fishing the Pigeon River and we caught about 100 small trout where we just gutted them, fried them and ate them bones and all along with potatoes and onions, Jack Daniels ande campfire bisquits.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    mayor al
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/24 19:39:00 (permalink)
    Paul
    Giving Grunion the status in the food chain of a trout is a bit of an overstatement. In most cases they are 4-5 inch Sardine or Anchovy "style" fish. I have eaten them...but I don't think I would ever order them off a menu. In Fact, I don't think I have ever seen them on a menu. I think most Grunion caught probably become pet or plant food when they arrive at the person's home.
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    Liketoeat
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/24 22:55:28 (permalink)
    I was never a salt water fisherman though I do love all the salt water fish (prefereably broiled whereas I prefer fresh water fish fried), so I don't really know much about what I'm talking about here. Maybe some of you Gulf salt water fishermen can provide more info. Do any of you know what a mullet is? Its considered to rank rather low on the social (or desirability) scale of Gulf salt water fish, but I always thought they were pretty good. I remember finding so unusual the mixed brown and white colored stripes of their flesh. Only, or at least by far the most pronounced, color striping I ever saw in any fish. Looked like a piece of bacon. Maybe that's one reason mullet was sometimes referred to as "Biloxi Bacon". Have eaten it in a few people's homes and have noticed in more recent years when back to Mobile it occsionally being served in restaurants, often as a once a week, all you can eat special, coming with slaw, cheese grits, and green onions. Actually pretty good eating.
    #9
    Mayhaw Man
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/25 08:34:58 (permalink)
    I like mullet, grilled or smoked. I think the reason that most people don't like them is that when you gut them, they are kind of gross. Lot's of green goo to wash away.

    But as for the meat, it is firm and cooks to kind of a dark color. They are easy to catch in a cast net. We used to catch em by the net full on the bay behind Dauphin Island.

    Liketoeat,
    Ever been to the Mullettoss @the Florabama? There is a sporting event that everyone can get behind! Throwing a small fish as far as you can generating cheers and admiration from the crowd of wellwishers. A classy event for a classy place.
    #10
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/25 10:45:50 (permalink)
    Mayhaw, I'd completely forgotten about the smoked mullet. And, yes, I have indeed attended that world class sporting event, the Mullettoss at the Florabama. You've well described it all with your last remark.
    #11
    ocdreamr
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/25 11:08:29 (permalink)
    I thought a mullet was a hairstyle or is that just somebody wearing a dead fish on their head??
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    Rusty246
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/25 11:12:45 (permalink)
    We have PLENTY of mullet here, both fresh water and salt water. We camp often at several different springs and they come so close you can almost touch them. My Father used to go out in the intracoastal water way(salt)and net them by the dozens. He'd put them on ice for the night, then the next day he'd clean them, split them in half, then layer them meat side up, salt and pepper each layer, then cover with ice. He'd take them home and put them on racks in a smoker he made out of an old fridge. That was some good stuff! Smoked mullet dip is excellent too, a little rich, but tasty. From what I understand they are vegetarians, and unable to be caught with a hook because their lips are very thin and will tear should you even get remotely close to catching one. Also, it isn't easy trying to keep a piece of water vegetation on a hook.
    #13
    Mayhaw Man
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/25 12:00:59 (permalink)
    Well, if you attend a mullet toss in on the Florida Alabama line (and I mean on, state line runs through the bar) you will see plenty of mullets. Many of the athletes in the mullet toss sport that much maligned hairstyle. Come to think of it, the mullet (both the hair and the fish)is still very popular along the Gulf coast from Waveland to Destin with the Natives. I think that they think it keeps you from getting your neck red. They are wrong(I mean this is in the nicest possible way, of course)

    Got to for all of your mullet news:

    http://www.mulletfestival.com/



    #14
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/25 12:04:24 (permalink)
    Rusty246 and Mayhaw, thanks for the more mullet information. As mentioned, I was never a salt water fisherman, but I somehow thought some individuals caught as well as netted them, but I must have been wrong about that. Their being vegetarians ties right in with your comment, Mayhaw, about cleaning them. Also, I did not know that there were fresh water versions. I'd also forgotten about the mullet dip which reminds me of this catfish pate which a firm over in Mississippi does quite a business with. It's good, but relatively expensive. You can not only have great fun reminiscing on these forums, but as several folks have said, its amazing how much you can learn. Thanks.
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    Rusty246
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/25 12:39:13 (permalink)
    I have an excellent recipe for dip that I will post tomorrow. I'm sure it's just as good with any smoked fish. It comes from a restaurant here in Cedar Key FL. Very easy to make. Deboning the fish is somewhat time consuming but well worth it. I know mayo, buttermilk, good seasons italian(dry)dressing mix, the fish of course(5), are the main ingredients. Just not sure of the increments.
    #16
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/25 13:16:41 (permalink)
    Rusty246, will be great to get your smoked mullet dip recipe tomorrow. Also its surely good to read that you are from Cedar Key, one of the most favorite spots I've ever visited, but unfortunately have not been there in years, 20 or longer. Am sure that it is greatly changed now, but sometime, if you would have a minute, if you'd read my 8/8/03 post re Cedar Key (in subject "How About the Gulf Coast" and now located of 2nd page of "Where Should I Eat" forum), I'd surely enjoy hearing of all the changes which have occurred since time I was there, and also, can you provide any more info on or actual recipe for those delicious heart-of-palm salads I was trying to describe. Big Thanks.
    #17
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/25 13:27:46 (permalink)
    Rusty246, will surely be looking forward to seeing tomorrow's post of your smoked mullet dip recipe. Also surely good to see that your home is Cedar Key, one of the favorite spots I've ever visited, but unfortunatley have not been there in years, 20 or longer. Am sure that everything is greatly changed from last time there, but surely would like to hear how it has evolved. If you have a minute sometime, would you please review my 8/8/03 post re Cedar Key under topic "How About the Gulf Coast" and now found on page 2 of the "Where Should I Eat" forum. Would be great to hear of all the changes in Cedar Key and what it's like now. Also would be great it you could share with us more definitive info, and hopefully maybe even a recipe, for the delicious heart-of-palm salads which I attempted to describe. Thanks. You are lucky to reside in that area.
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    Rusty246
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/25 15:50:50 (permalink)
    Liketoeat: Just found your post in the "Where Should I Eat" forum, and I'm actually quite proud of myself! I've never ventured there before. Anyway, I don't actually live in Cedar Key, but, I'm only 30 minutes away, and it's the most relaxing 30 minute drive! I just love it. The restaurants you're speaking of are: "The Captain's Table", "Seabreeze On The Dock"(this one is so neat, you can look out of the front of the restaurant windows and see what is actully left of the owners house after one of our big storms, looks like an old boat house because it's in the water), and the third is "Brown's" I believe. That's where the dip recipe came from. You're probably right about the salad coming from "Seabreeze", that's where I like to eat best, and will see what I can find out for you regarding the salad. We we're actually there about 3 weeks ago, just walking the streets and hanging out. There is a fish bait/open air market over there that makes an awesome cuban sandwich, the bread is what makes a cuban to me. Cedar Key is pretty much still unspoiled, quiet, and many people just go to walk the pier and see who's catching what. My husband and I found some really neat cabins over there that you can rent that are quiet and clean. There is one B&B and two condo buildings, one has a pool. They need to stop development right there! It's still quaint and enjoyable though. They've adopted the "open container" law, so if you drink, you stay in the restaurants. Art festival in the spring, seafood festival in the fall....actually they're pretty much the same thing except the art festival has a little more art. The night life is enjoyable, no big crowds just good music. Now, about that salad! Iknow I've seen it before somewhere. Let me put my thinkin' cap on!
    #19
    Rusty246
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/25 16:30:42 (permalink)
    Liketoeat: The 3rd restaurant is "The Brown Pelican". I knew had something to do with a color.
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    Mayhaw Man
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/25 16:35:42 (permalink)
    Liketoeat-Speaking of freshwater fish, have you ween any of those CHinese Carp up in your part of the delta? Had my first experience with them recently on the Boeuf River in West Carroll Parish. They came leaping up out of the water when they get close to a boat. The commercial guys (there, friends, is a really hardscrabble way to make a living, catching catfish, gar, gaspergou, and buffalo in a gill net to sell) have had to build cages around their cockpits in order to cruise at night, if one flies up and you run into it it could knock you out or knock you out of the boat. They kept running into the things. Apparently they got out of some of those catfish ponds up in Belzonia during a flood (the fish are vegetarians and are used to keep grass down in the ponds) and have spread all down the lower Mississippi. Nothing happened to us, but it is a hell of a thing to see all of those big (10-25lb.) fish break the water in the middle of a muddy flat river while you are passing by at 50 plus mph." />
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    Sundancer7
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/25 17:06:16 (permalink)
    Mayhaw: I saw a TV job on those leaping carp. It was a blast to see the boats cruising and the carp jumping. Some of them landed in the boat.

    Apparently they are numerous as this segment could not have been planted and they were leaping everywhere close to the boat. Must be the vibration that is getting good to them

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    Liketoeat
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/25 17:48:01 (permalink)
    Mayhaw and Sundancer, I've read of those leaping carp and also saw some tv feature re them. Seems like article I read mentioned their being in or headed for this area, but I've not seen any or heard of anyone who has & have not read/seen anymore about them, so maybe they aren't here yet. I knew all about their purpose and escaping from catfish ponds, but I did not realize they were so large and potentially dangerous to fishermen. Am sure that is one sight to see!
    #23
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Seafood Jubilee 2003/08/25 17:59:49 (permalink)
    Rusty246 - Thank you so much for your so interesting and informative posts. You really made my day to read that Cedar Key has not fallen total victim to modernization, for there years ago it was such a charming & unique place, which would be even more so today. Lets just hope & pray that development stops at its current stage. I know all the arguments for development, but surely Florida & the US can somehow get by with one spot basically untouched by the modern world. Thanks for info on restaurants and will be looking forward to your mullet dip recipe plus any of the salad recipes you can come up with (tho doubt I could get around here the necessary ingredients; hopefully others on this forum could). You didn't mention it, so assume the big old hotel is gone, but just everything you had to say sounded totally delightful. Again, you guys are lucky to be in the area. Do enjoy it & keep us informed of any Cedar Key developments, hopefully the developments being continued lack of development.
    #24
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