A commercially important fish, the distinctive flavor makes bluefish a favorite with some diners and repugnant to others. Like all fish, bluefish should be gutted, iced promptly, and eaten fresh. If the fish is not quickly taken care of in this way, the meat will rapidly deteriorate, becoming soft and mushy and assuming a steadily grayer pigmentation. Younger bluefish are considered the best for eating. The fillets are often skinned and the dark red meat on the skin-side and along the lateral line, which is more strongly flavored, can be separately filleted, leaving diners the choice between the darker and the white, slightly gray-blue hued flesh. Bluefish lends itself to the full range of culinary preparation methods. They are plus they are often smoked, particularly larger specimens. Smoked and leftover bluefish can be made into pâté and eaten with bread or cracker.
Another proven method that improves the flavor of bluefish is to 'bleed' the fish as soon as it is caught. Simply cut the underside of the fish, starting at the lower front fins and finishing the deep incision at the lower side of the mouth. It is also suggested to make a deep slice where the tail meets the body.
As a migratory fish near the top of the food chain, bluefish can accumulate many toxins in their system ranging from PCBs to mercury. As with most fish of such nature, they should not be consumed by pregnant or nursing women, or children under six.