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

OR you can get them right now with a special bonus! just go here!


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51 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!

  21. Carol Schmitt says:

    Love conch and would like to hav the recipes!

  22. conchy joe says:

    Hi Carol! you can sign up on the email list to have access to the recipes one at a time OR you can get them all at once with a special bonus, conch shell coloring pages. I sell these in my Etsy store but I created a nice package so you can enjoy both. Here is the link

  23. Carol Schmitt says:

    Thanks for the tips!

  24. Thank you for sharing. These are great

  25. conchy joe says:

    share a link to your site and I will let you know 🙂 Jean

  26. thanks for the info and sharing…

  27. Shahama Ibrahim says:

    Very helpful thanks.

  28. T.Collins says:

    I am in jacksonville Florida there is no restaurant here that sells stewed conch.How can i order it already stewed?

  29. susan says:

    I mix papaya and lime juice, after pounding the conch, I spread mixture all over conch, for several hours to over night, then scrape as much of the mixture off as possible, simply flour and fry! I learned this while living in the KEYS

  30. Tanya Edwards says:

    I want to learn how to cook conch. My husband is a native Jamaican and this is the only delicacy I have not tried to cook.

  31. Harold Richard says:

    I am interested in having fried Conch.

  32. conchy joe says:

    Hi Harold, You will have to find a restaurant near you, or take a trip to a coastal community in South Florida or the Keys. It is not very common outside of those areas. Or you can try it yourself using our tips. We are able to get frozen conch at our local fresh fish outlet.

  33. conchy joe says:

    yep! I believe dried papaya is the main ingredient in meat tenderizer so that makes sense! CJ

  34. conchy joe says:

    I don’t know of anyone who ships conch stew. sorry about that! CJ

  35. Kathy says:

    How much meat lbs is usually in 1 shell!

  36. Rachel says:

    Awwww I wish I had looked at this before I made fried conch and conch fritters this weekend 🙁 none of the recipes said to do this! Next time…..

  37. conchy joe says:

    bummer! Conch is one tough – literally – meat to prepare. We are working on an expanded recipe collection. In the meantime, you should get on the mailing list for the free ones!


  38. conchy joe says:

    that depends, the average is about a pound or smaller. Lots of variables


  39. Ricky Thomas says:

    This is great information regarding the preparation of conch. For those of us who have never prepared a conch meal, you certainly have truly assisted us in the prep area.

  40. conchy joe says:

    Thanks Ricky, I hope it helps 🙂

  41. Anonymous says:

    Can you get conch in the USA? How good is it for men?

  42. Faye Johnson says:

    I’m so excited to have found this site. I just bought conch, and now, thanks to you, I’ll know how. To prepare it

  43. conchy joe says:

    Yes, it is available in the U.S. It will be frozen, which is fine. There are canned versions called baby conch etc. but it isn’t the same.
    As far as for the guys, the “claim” is yes it is good for men 🙂

  44. conchy joe says:

    Glad we could be of help. It’s always fun to learn new recipes, you can go here to get the recipes!
    Good luck!

  45. says:

    Can you use lemon or lime juice instead of vinegar?

  46. conchy joe says:

    I would have to advise against that only because that combination will surely curdle. Plain milk may work if you leave it to soak a little longer. You always want to have vinegar on hand no matter what type of cooking you are doing 🙂

  47. Dennis says:

    20+ Years ago I was in the keys and experienced a killer smoked conch (shaved almost paper thin) appetizer. Do you have ant tips (i.e. time and temp) on how to smoke conch??? BTW tenderized gator tail marinated overnight in milk and low salt cajun seasoning then fried is awesome !!!

  48. conchy joe says:

    Sounds great! They probably used a combination of the drying/smoking process. We saw dried conch all over Nassau but we never prepared it that way. Sounds like a nice preparation to research.

  49. Ann Lawley says:

    Can’t wait to get the recipes

  50. conchy joe says:

    Great! Let us know if you have any questions. 🙂

  51. Archie Boyd says:

    Love the different ideas,love conch but it’s not cheap so a good recipe tried, is nice.

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