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Thread: Taste Test: White king vs. Regular king

  1. #1

    Default Taste Test: White king vs. Regular king

    For the 20 odd years (and some of them have been VERY odd!) I've been fishing for "winter" kings I've heard both sides of the "white king vs. regular king" debate when it comes to which tastes better. I've had people tell me they won't even eat a white king because it tastes so bad, and I've had people tell me that white kings are FAR superior to a regular king.
    IMG_5115.jpg

    Well, as evidenced by the above picture, today I caught a regular king, and then about 15 minutes later a white one. They both were "dispatched" the same way, then filleted within minutes of each other and then brought home for processing about an hour after catching them.

    When I got home I rinsed them both off, cut a chunk out of both of the fillets from the same area of the fillet and then let each piece sit in my favorite "seasoning sauce" for about 15 minutes.

    I got a nice hardwood fire going on my grill and cooked both of the pieces the exact same way.IMG_5123.jpg

    OK. I'm no "spring chicken", and I'm sure my taste buds have been "compromised" quite a bit over the many years of abuse I've put them through, but honestly, I could NOT tell the difference between the regular king and the white king in any way, shape or form. They both had the same consistency, taste and texture that the other one had and even putting a couple of pieces on my plate and "blindly" stabbing one, tasting it, and then stabbing the other one, not knowing which was which, I couldn't tell one from the other.

    Yeah, I'm sure there are going to be people here that say, "OH, I can tell the difference!!!." Fine. My answer to that will be, "Keep fooling yourself."

    I'll just say, from a very subjective, though maybe not entirely scientific, taste test, I say there's no difference in taste between a white king and a regular king.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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    Member .338-06's Avatar
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    My parents always claimed that white king was far better, but what do they know? I liked regular king better, but I think that's because the king we ate was fresh caught while the white king they ate came up from Southeast.

    Aside from that it's been proven that different people can taste different things in food and to different intensity.
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I can't tell the difference either, given that both are feeder (winter kings) caught at a similar time. We caught both last winter out of Petersburg and both were incredibly good. I most certainly can tell the difference between feeder kings and those returning to spawn (even when caught in the salt), but not between white and red.


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    bring me both and I'll be the judge..............
    "What is it about a beautiful sunny afternoon, with the birds singing and the wind rustling through the leaves, that makes you want to get drunk? --Jack Handy

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    My experience has been they both taste the same, I don't prefer one over the other
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    For the 20 odd years (and some of them have been VERY odd!) I've been fishing for "winter" kings I've heard both sides of the "white king vs. regular king" debate when it comes to which tastes better. I've had people tell me they won't even eat a white king because it tastes so bad, and I've had people tell me that white kings are FAR superior to a regular king.
    IMG_5115.jpg

    Well, as evidenced by the above picture, today I caught a regular king, and then about 15 minutes later a white one. They both were "dispatched" the same way, then filleted within minutes of each other and then brought home for processing about an hour after catching them.

    When I got home I rinsed them both off, cut a chunk out of both of the fillets from the same area of the fillet and then let each piece sit in my favorite "seasoning sauce" for about 15 minutes.

    I got a nice hardwood fire going on my grill and cooked both of the pieces the exact same way.IMG_5123.jpg

    OK. I'm no "spring chicken", and I'm sure my taste buds have been "compromised" quite a bit over the many years of abuse I've put them through, but honestly, I could NOT tell the difference between the regular king and the white king in any way, shape or form. They both had the same consistency, taste and texture that the other one had and even putting a couple of pieces on my plate and "blindly" stabbing one, tasting it, and then stabbing the other one, not knowing which was which, I couldn't tell one from the other.

    Yeah, I'm sure there are going to be people here that say, "OH, I can tell the difference!!!." Fine. My answer to that will be, "Keep fooling yourself."

    I'll just say, from a very subjective, though maybe not entirely scientific, taste test, I say there's no difference in taste between a white king and a regular king.

    Muttley what kind of knife are you using for those fillets? With all of those kings you cath you shoulkd invest in a salmon sword to clean those fillets up. but the finished product sure looks tasty
    Boatless

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by FISHFACE View Post
    Muttley what kind of knife are you using for those fillets? With all of those kings you cath you shoulkd invest in a salmon sword to clean those fillets up. but the finished product sure looks tasty
    Oh, I've got a "salmon sword" (Victorinox 11" curved blade), but my hands were frozen solid and the knife needs to be sharpened, so I had a bit of a time getting my hands and the knife to cooperate with what my mind was telling them to do. LOL!

    Oh, and thanks for making your comment regarding my cutting skills in a less than belligerent and cretinous way as a few people on this forum seem to think is appropriate.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    Oh, and thanks for making your comment regarding my cutting skills in a less than belligerent and cretinous way as a few people on this forum seem to think is appropriate.
    You seem to invite controversy with statements like that. Up until that point, it was a rather pleasant thread.

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    Member Tearbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydiver View Post
    You seem to invite controversy with statements like that. Up until that point, it was a rather pleasant thread.
    There were some rude comments on how he filleted his fish on a different thread, Winter King Conundrum...they have already been removed. Muttley was just being thankful that there weren't any rude comments on filleting skills here on this thread.
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Default cold hands

    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    I had a bit of a time getting my hands and the knife to cooperate with what my mind was telling them to do.
    I doubt if there's an outdoorsman here that hasn't had that happen to them more than just a few times. As much as we try to prepare for everything.

    When using a sharp knife outdoors is very cold temps I've started wearing neoprene gloves. Doesn't hurt knife handling skills, and gives you enough warmth down to about 10 below provided the animal you're cutting on is still warm like a moose.
    (oops was that moose comment off topic? )

  11. #11
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    I noticed the fillet job too, but figured that cold hands attributed to any "less than market" quality. I just wish I had a fresh fish to cut as the wind howls 60 in juneau.

    Living in Bristol Bay I ate tons of returning red kings on the Nushagak.....and they were very good (subsistence caught fresh, bled etc.). Now living in Juneau I have access to not only returning salmon in the salt, but also reds and whites like Muttley has shown us. I personally cannot tell the difference between reds and whites. Some say that whites are fattier, but I think it is because all of the whites caught in areas like Homer are feeder kings. In May and June you catch returning salmon and feeders in the same places sometimes so the same story has been told in SE as well. Catch a feeeder white and a returning red and you will make sure your least favorite guests gets the red. I definitely can tell the difference between returning salmon and feeder salmon.....especially when they hit the grill, love hearing the fat drip.

    When I arrived in Bethel in 2003, the first thing I had was fresh Kusko king off a friend's barbecue, I decreed it was the best thing I have ever eaten. And in the moment it was and is. However, having access to salt kings and feeder kings has made the best thing I've ever eaten....even better.....guess I'm firing up the grill tonight.

    I think I only caught one king over 20 pounds all summer, but those 30 inch feeders are like a slice of scaled heaven.

  12. #12

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    We eat a lot of both, and yeah, we see a difference but in a limited way. Eat them side by side, a bite of each and the reds seem to have more flavor while the whites sure are oilier and "sweeter." We eat them a lot in sashimi and sushi, and it's really apparent there when they are side by side. Same for any other preparation that isn't adding other flavors.

    Having said that, I have to say this. If I closed my eyes and my wife gave me a piece of one or the other, I can't tell which she's given me. Tried it and failed. But give me a bite of each with my eyes closed, and I can tell the difference and get it right. Pretty subtle, but it's there.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by skydiver View Post
    You seem to invite controversy with statements like that. Up until that point, it was a rather pleasant thread.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tearbear View Post
    There were some rude comments on how he filleted his fish on a different thread, Winter King Conundrum...they have already been removed. Muttley was just being thankful that there weren't any rude comments on filleting skills here on this thread.
    Thank you Tearbear. You took the exact words right out of my mouth.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
    http://muttleycrewfishing.com

  14. #14
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    I have been eating fresh King salmon for at least the 60 years I remember and while I have always preferred to eat the whites, I doubt I would be able to tell reds from whites in a controlled taste-test. I know what I like to eat - for all of my years the best part of King salmon has been the thrill of figuring-out what THEY prefer to eat on any particular day.

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    Lets all agree they both taste great. Muttley, on another note, whats the secret sauce?, they look fantastic on the plate.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtm9 View Post
    Lets all agree they both taste great. Muttley, on another note, whats the secret sauce?, they look fantastic on the plate.
    My "seasoning sauce" is prepared thusly: Toast some raw sesame seeds (about 2 teaspoons per piece of salmon) in a sauce pan until you just see some smoke coming from them (this brings out their essential oils), then add equal amounts of sesame oil, soy sauce (I us "light" soy sauce without the added salt) and bourbon (scotch works well if that's the flavor you prefer), then grind a bunch of fresh pepper into the mixture and let it heat for a few minutes. Apply this liberally to your salmon fillets (it works well on halibut, ling and yelloweye, too), apply salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and let them sit for 15 minutes or so and then grill over hardwood charcoal. As you can see from the picture, I like to get the charcoal REALLY hot so the salmon and sesame seeds get a nice "char" (NOT burnt) texture while leaving the inside of the salmon just barely cooked. And I always throw some alder or apple wood chips onto the coals right when I start grilling to get a nice smoke going, too. The salmon ends up tasting like pure ambrosia. It's making my mouth water just describing the process. Hmmmm...maybe I need to run across the bay and see if I can catch dinner for tonight!

    As an addendum to this thread. I smoked most of those fish fillets the other day and it's interesting to note that I might possibly taste a VERY SLIGHT difference between the regular king and the white. But I'm not absolutely positive. It seems like the smoked white king has a just slightly milder taste to it and maybe is just a tad drier than the regular. But if their is a difference it's VERY minor. When I get the opportunity I'm going to try a taste test with someone that doesn't know which if which.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
    http://muttleycrewfishing.com

  17. #17

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    I'm happy to see that they both look fantastic on the plate after cooked, because the raw white fillet looks discusting, like there might be something wrong with it. I have heard of people throwing them away (on this forum) in the past because they thought just that. Looks great though!
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    For the 20 odd years (and some of them have been VERY odd!) I've been fishing for "winter" kings I've heard both sides of the "white king vs. regular king" debate when it comes to which tastes better. I've had people tell me they won't even eat a white king because it tastes so bad, and I've had people tell me that white kings are FAR superior to a regular king.
    IMG_5115.jpg

    Well, as evidenced by the above picture, today I caught a regular king, and then about 15 minutes later a white one. They both were "dispatched" the same way, then filleted within minutes of each other and then brought home for processing about an hour after catching them.

    When I got home I rinsed them both off, cut a chunk out of both of the fillets from the same area of the fillet and then let each piece sit in my favorite "seasoning sauce" for about 15 minutes.

    I got a nice hardwood fire going on my grill and cooked both of the pieces the exact same way.IMG_5123.jpg

    OK. I'm no "spring chicken", and I'm sure my taste buds have been "compromised" quite a bit over the many years of abuse I've put them through, but honestly, I could NOT tell the difference between the regular king and the white king in any way, shape or form. They both had the same consistency, taste and texture that the other one had and even putting a couple of pieces on my plate and "blindly" stabbing one, tasting it, and then stabbing the other one, not knowing which was which, I couldn't tell one from the other.

    Yeah, I'm sure there are going to be people here that say, "OH, I can tell the difference!!!." Fine. My answer to that will be, "Keep fooling yourself."

    I'll just say, from a very subjective, though maybe not entirely scientific, taste test, I say there's no difference in taste between a white king and a regular king.
    Try cooking them different ways. Better yet, prepare them more sashimi style and see if you can tell the difference.

    I would like to think I could tell a difference. But if cooked on the grill, not sure the subtle difference would transcend to the palette just as chicken Mcnuggets might taste similar if dipped into a used ashtray.

  19. #19

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    The only difference I have noticed over the years is that White King is harder to smoke because any flaws (blood or bruises) show up when smoked. I like them both for tablefare.

  20. #20
    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    I honestly can't stand white king. It seems so oily that it feels like mush, roommate said same thing. Second time I told my roommate to cajun mine on the grill, I mean, well over done, still mushy. What my friends call 'delicate" I call mushy I guess.

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