Conch Meat Prep for Recipes

Alright, well now you have some conch, out of the conch shell.

What is the next step?

That depends on which dish you are going to prepare.

Here are the basic steps for cleaning conch meat in preperation for your recipes.

I am sharing the steps for cleaning conch but you are better off paying for conch that is already cleaned.

It is not an easy task and the locals make it look real easy!


conch removed from shell

You may want to  leave the hook on for a handle this makes it easier to grab

raw conch ready for cleaning

  • Place the conch body with the eyes face up and cut off the projection above the eyes and the proboscis.

  • Cut out the esophagus that lays under the skin from the proboscis to the ragged edge of the muscle.

  • Find the intestine, which is a dark vein on the underside of the white muscle, and cut it out.

Slice through the skin from the bottom of the conch meat to the claw and use your thumb or knife to pull the tough skin off. Then remove the claw.

 Wash the conch

cleaning conch


 a face only a mother could love!

conch face


after cleaning conch cut tail off

 The orange tails are cut off and only used primarily for Conch salad, ceviche or fritters

where the conch meat will be put through the food processor.

clean conch

Here is the conch meat cleaned and ready.

 Let’s face it, cleaning your own conch is probably not an option,

unless you do it ALL the time it is worth the investment to get it already cleaned by a pro.




Now let’s get on to preparing it for your recipes!

First off there are steps that you are ALWAYS going to use

1. Fritters – beaten, cut up and processed fine

2. Salad or ceviche – beaten cut up and processed fine

3. Stew or Chowder – Beaten, cut up processed medium and boiled

4. Cracked (fried) Conch – Beaten, cut to desired size and Soaked in milk and vinegar

Now keep reading to get the details on each tenderizing process



1. Tenderize with a beater

No matter what recipe you are using you will need to use a tenderizer such as this beater pictured below.  A nice heavy Beater is necessary for the best results. The pros use a crank type machine and run it through a few times. Below is a picture of conch being prepared to fry and make cracked conch. It will then get soaked in milk and vinegar to complete the process. That is pictured below and is NOT required for all recipes, only the fried version.

beaten conch with beater

Heavy Beater




2. Cut up into chunks before adding to a food processor

If you are preparing conch for a salad – ceviche, stew, fritters or any other chopped version you will need to cut the conch into smaller pieces before adding it to the recipe. The processor CAN replace beating. The key is to break up the structure of the meat and the smaller you process it to then the less likely you will need to beat it first. Below is conch that has NOT been beaten, it is getting prepared to go into the processor.

cutting up conch for processing

Cutting up to add to processor

conch cut up for conch souse

Larger chunks processed medium to be boiled and used in stew or chowder

Processed Conch and veggies

The conch pictured above is going to be used for conch salad / ceviche and fritters. It has been run through the processor until chopped fine. The bright orange bits are the tails pictured above. When you process this fine you can use the tougher portions and not waste any meat.




3.Boiling the conch for about a half hour is necessary when using the conch in a stew or chowder.

It is boiled while the other ingredients are prepared.

boiling conch

boiling conch

One word of CAUTION!

When boiling conch it WILL FOAM UP a couple of times.

you must be right there at the beginning of the process to scoop out the foam.

spooning off conch foam

Be ready with a large spoon and bowl to collect the foam as it is formed.

That way you avoid an overflow onto your stove.

You will want to boil the conch for about a half an hour or so.



4. Soaking in milk / vinegar solution after beaten and before frying

conch soaking in milk and vinegar

Here we are soaking the beaten conch in a mixture of milk and vinegar.

You can just soak the conch in vinegar if you prefer.

At least for half an hour or while you are preparing the other ingredients. Some Bahamians soak overnight.

This conch is going to be used in fried conch.

If you are going to use it in a salad like a ceviche you would then run it thru a food processor

until the bits are the size you want.

So here are the different recipes and the process required

I am adding beating to each of these recipes because you will NEVER

wish you didn’t do that step!

1. Fritters – beaten, cut up and processed fine

2. Salad or ceviche – beaten cut up and processed fine

3. Stew or Chowder – Beaten, cut up processed medium and boiled

4. Cracked (fried) Conch – Beaten, cut to desired size and Soaked in milk and vinegar

In the Conchy Joe Collection of recipes you will be given the steps necessary for each one.

To get all 12 of Conchy Joe Cooks recipes get on the mailing list we will share them with you one at a time


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20 Responses to “Conch Meat Prep for Recipes”

  1. Best Recipes says:

    Wonderful, what a webpage it is! This blog provides useful data to
    us, keep it up.

  2. els says:

    How Long should the conch be boiled

  3. conchy joe says:

    The only time you boil conch is for a souse or stew recipe, like in the picture. I never really timed it but you would boil it for about half an hour to tenderize it. Pressure cookers work well but they’re scary! We don’t use them :-)

  4. Sophie says:

    So if you are grilling it do you not need to boil it first? Can you just tenderize it and season it to flavor then grill?

  5. conchy joe says:

    Sorry it took so long to get back. I personally have not cooked it that way but I have seen it scored fine with a sharp knife and cooked in foil with butter onions sweet pepper on the grill. There is no reason why mesmerizing and grilling wouldn’t work. Just don’t over cook it : -)

  6. Roland Burns says:

    How much vinegar should be used?

  7. conchy joe says:

    Hi Roland

    Half milk and half vinegar, enough to cover it. I don’t think it has to be an exact ratio.


  8. kay says:

    The vinegar and milk, is only used when making cracked couch?

  9. conchy joe says:

    We usually only use this method for the cracked conch because the pieces are larger than the other recipes. Beating and or processing are usually enough for them. Especially with the cracked conch you will want to make it as tender as possible. So I would combine beating it and soaking if you can. There is nothing worse than tough cracked conch! CJ

  10. m says:

    How long do you soak the conch in milk and vinegar?

  11. m says:

    How long should you soak the conch in vinegar and milk?

  12. conchy joe says:

    We soak it anywhere between 20 to 30 minutes. Usually we set it up to soak while prepping the other ingredients.


  13. Jacquelyn graham says:

    I want to dry the conch how do I start. What is the steps. Soak in vinegar first please tell me.

  14. Jacquelyn graham says:

    I want to fry it

  15. john lima says:

    hi i am looking for a good white chowder tender conch recepie can you help me out thanks john

  16. conchy joe says:

    Hi John, I don’t have one but I’ll ask around :-) CJ

  17. conchy joe says:

    That would be the cracked conch recipe. We have that one included in our recipes when you sign up for the emails :-) CJ

  18. conchy joe says:

    I have seen conch out to dry many times but I never did it myself. I can ask around and find out any tips if you like :-) CJ

  19. Christine Contilli says:

    Can I get the recipe for Conch Fritters pleaae?

  20. conchy joe says:

    To get all 10 of CJ’s recipes all you have to do is sign up for the email series! If you are in a hurry we are putting together the recipes and photos in an ebook for easy access. In the meantime here is the link to the conch fritter recipe,

    the password for that one is CJcooks

    :-) if you want all of the other recipes get on the list!

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