While the adage, “you should never judge a book by its cover,” is worth living by in most contexts, the saying does not apply to when you are buying fish, especially when looking for the best halibut.

When it comes time to make your next seafood purchase, it is important to consider several factors, including the appearance, cut and smell of the fish. The standard metrics to determine if your fish is fresh or not will help ensure that you are buying the highest-quality halibut available – even if you choose to buy online.

How Should I Judge My Halibut?

Although frozen halibut is available year round, fresh wild Pacific halibut is in season between March and November. The way the fish is sold varies depending on the vendor. Wild Pacific halibut can be bought as a whole fish with the head-off and fully gutted. The most commonly sold forms of halibut are fillets and steaks.

When it comes to buying fresh wild Pacific halibut, make sure the fish has a clean, sea-fresh smell. If you are buying the fish in-person at a market, it is also important to see if the product being sold is displayed on a layer of ice.

Another important aesthetic element when buying fresh or frozen wild Pacific halibut is that the fish is firm and its flesh is moist and translucent. Perhaps the most important distinction when making sure that you are purchasing the best halibut is that the fish is white and glossy rather than dried out or dull in appearance.

Other features to avoid when buying halibut are soft gaping flesh, flesh that appears “chalky”, and any fish with ice crystals, frost, or cottony patches. These features can indicate anything from a lower quality fish to fish that is freezer burned.

Where to Buy the Best Halibut

When it comes time to determine where to buy halibut, it is dependent upon what cut you prefer. Although halibut fillets and steaks are highly common, halibut cheeks are also a popular option.

Essentially, it comes down to personal preference and taste. Halibut generally speaking is a mild, sweet tasting white fish. It is similar in taste to tilapia and is thicker and firmer than cod. When it comes to halibut cheeks in particular, the cut is sweet and possesses a scallop-like taste. The texture of the fish is also tender.

One vendor that guarantees the best halibut delivered to your door is Great-Alaska-Seafood. The company has sold seafood for over 20 years. The company’s halibut selection includes fillets, steaks and cheeks. Alaska Halibut Fillets with the skin on cost $31.95 per pound, the Halibut Loin Steaks cost $29.95 per pound, and Halibut Cheeks cost $38.95 per pound.

Tanner’s Alaskan Seafood is another ideal vendor if you want to order fresh halibut that can be shipped overnight from Alaska. Their Alaskan halibut starts at $33.95 per pound. Along with the standard cuts, they offer combos and monthly subscriptions for the devoted halibut connoisseur.

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