Side-by-side Taste Test BBQ, 2017

Sonia - August 14, 2017

It’s become an annual tradition that we invite the Skipper Otto’s team over to our home for a summer BBQ to taste our delicious sustainable Canadian seafood, compare, discuss, and choose our favourites. The catch is, they don’t know what they’re eating until the end! This is always a fun night and very enlightening as we realize that sometimes our favourites are not what we expected!

The 2017 Skipper Ottos team enjoying our annual side-by-side taste test BBQ.

Here’s how it worked:

  • we cedar plank BBQ’ed all 5 species of salmon using Shaun’s simple rub recipe (brown sugar, paprika, thyme, salt & pepper), and labelled them  A, B, C, D and E.
  • we also cooked up all 4 types of shrimp and prawns using this Food52 recipe, and labelled them A, B, C, and D.
  • everyone tasted everything together, comparing colour, texture, and flavour, writing down their observations and preferences on this handy-dandy worksheet (you can tell I was a teacher, right?)
  • we then discussed our favourites and, our son Oliver was responsible for the Oscar-awards-style reveal!
Skipper Ottos staff noted their thoughts on each of the 4 species of shrimp and prawns and the 5 species of salmon without knowing which was which.

So, you’re dying to know the results, right?

Here are some of the group’s observations about the shrimp and prawns:

  • spot prawns were larger than the others, but sometimes not by much. They were also the most firm and meaty textured. As a result, there were the favourite of many.
  • most of us couldn’t distinguish between side stripes and humpbacks and many preferred them to spot prawns. They were a little smaller and softer than spot prawns, but most agreed, just as delicious.
  • most agreed that in terms of flavour, the pink shrimp were just as delicious as the others, but their small size made them difficult to grill (I had to pan fry them instead of BBQ these!)

And here are some of the group’s observations about the 5 species of salmon:

  • once again, silverbright chum salmon or “keta” was very popular. Many noted that it was flavourful but milder than sockeye, dense, firm, moist and meaty. It’s colour was noted by many to be less red than the sockeye.
  • sockeye salmon was observed by everyone to be the most visually impressive and to have the strongest “salmon” flavour. It was firm, rich, and meaty as well.
  • chinook salmon was well liked, too — called “buttery” by some, these thick, rich, flavourful pieces of salmon acquired the smoke flavour well.
  • the coho salmon was a nice colour, slightly softer than most others, but a unique and delicious flavour that made it a favourite for many.
  • everyone commented on how much they loved the pink salmon and many confused the coho and the pink (made even more confusing because I mixed them up on the cedar planks at one point! ahem.) Nevertheless, the pink salmon were noted to be a delicious, mild salmon with a tender texture and pale colour.

And the winners were . . .? Well, everything was delicious! And the differences between the 4 types of prawns/ shrimp and the 5 types of salmon were subtle. Choosing a favourite was very difficult and there really was no clear “winner” in either category! The important thing in all cases is to be careful not to overcook your seafood. Overcooked salmon becomes dry while overcooked prawns and shrimp become tough and rubbery. So often we hear people say they prefer one type of salmon or shrimp because another was dry or rubbery — this is almost always due to overcooking and has nothing to do with the species of seafood. The blind side-by-side taste test proves this time and time again!


The bottom line: you really can’t go wrong with wild, sustainable BC seafood! Why not try your own side-by-side taste tests to truly know your family’s favourites and then stock up on them while we have a huge selection of yummy seafood available!

Some of the team received “awards” made by our 9-year-old son, Oliver, who also entertained the staff with his breakdancing skills before the night was over!

Sonia - August 14, 2017

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Side-by-side Taste Test BBQ, 2017

Sonia - August 14, 2017

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