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Old 05-09-2002, 06:39 AM   #1
Troller
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Default Cleaning a Halibut

I have a ? for you all. I am planning on going out halibut fishing up here in washington for the first time. I have a pretty good idea where to go and what to use. But have no idea what so ever how to clean one if manage to catch one. I am quessing that you fillet the meat off of the fish and dont gut the thing. I also know there are cheeks on the fish that you need to cut out but no exactly clear where on the head they are. Any tricks or help would be appreciated. Maybe a website that show how to.

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Old 05-09-2002, 07:32 AM   #2
Myles
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Default Re: Cleaning a Halibut

Troller take me with you!
The cheeks are just what it sounds like, the area on "the gill flaps", part of the head/face. Go to www.halibut.net and look around, just hold on to your wallet, I didn't see any fillet how to's, but some useful info and links. There's a book there "How to catch trophy halibut", it tells how to fillet a halibut, cutting out the cheeks and lots of other fairly useful info. If you don't find what you need e-mail me.

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Old 05-09-2002, 08:06 AM   #3
rcl187
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Default Re: Cleaning a Halibut

On halibut (as with all fish) there are lines on either side of the fish that run from head to tail and follow the path or the spinal cord pretty closely. These "lateral" lines are your best indicator of where to start. For your first time I suggest beggining on the white side of the fish since the lateral line is a little easier to see.
If the fish is small sit down behind it - head facing away and insert the knife at the most anterior point (where it meets the head) untill it hits the backbone. Now slowly draw the knife towards you following the lateral line until it ends at the tail keeping the knife tip running along the backbone the whole time.
Now you are ready to remove the first fillet from the body. At this point the two fillets will seperate somewhat from each other. Pick one of them and starting at the tail slowly run the knife along the rib bones toward the outside of the fish keeping the knife flat and cutting as closely to the ribs as possible (it should be scraping the bones the whole time).
When you reach the edge of the fish you will have a "hande" to grab onto ~ the meat portion about the thickness of your wrist. Now slowly work the up the fish slicing along the rib bones and seperating the meat from the body. Eventually you will end up with a nice big fillet that looks like that of a big ling cod or something. Simply skin it (the same as you do with any other fish) and move on to the next fillet on the halibut. Then flip over and do the next side.
When you are finished with the halibut you will end up with 4 nice fillets ~ 2 from each side of the fish.
To remove the cheeks feel around the face of the halibut for where bone meets soft flesh - this will be a slightly oval patch of meat. Insert the knife on the edge and slowly make a circle - do not connect the ends, leave a chunk of skin attached to the body of the halibut. Keep working the knife deeper continuing in a circular path. Eventually you will end up with a giant scallop shaped piece of meat.
Now's you need to remove the skin from the meat this is why you left a small patch of skin still attached to the body. Simply apply pressure and pull the skin from the cheek meat an it should peel off.
And that's cleaning a halibut. Make sure you have a sharp knife and a clean working station as to not get the fine white meat dirty.
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Old 05-09-2002, 08:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cleaning a Halibut

Okay, here is another question. I bought some fresh hali from costco last weekend. It was a roast like piece, from the the tail end I believe. I managed to filet it out pretty well, but I found a couple of small black worms, very thin, about one inch long. Later, as I was preparing to dunk in the batter and fry, I found a smaller, clear or white one. THese critters made me a little nervous, but I figured anything sitting in 375 degree oil for a couple minutes would be toast.

What where these little rascals?????

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Old 05-09-2002, 10:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cleaning a Halibut

RCL187, awesome description of cleaning a halibut. Thanks for instructive post. I would add only a few things.

Chill the fish before you clean it, lots of ice. You should do this to all of your fish anyway. Pack them in ice in the fishbox. Second thing is to spend a few minutes scraping the slime off before you cut into the fish. This will greatly improve the flavor. The slime is where the stink is. You don't want that stuff in the meat or it will smell bad.

As mentioned elsewhere, bleeding is very important to quality.

Just use the back of your knife and scrape head to tail and sling the snot off the knife. Do both sides and again on the side you are working right before you cut it. If you do this right you will get alot of slime and may have to scrape a few times to get it all.

Cheek meat is the best, it has the texture of chicken breast and the flavor is awesome.

Good luck and let's hope we all get to practice cutting up FB this weekend or next.

PeterMac, the worms you see are present in all bottom dwelling ocean fish. You should 'candle' the filets before cooking. Hold it up to the light and any dark spots are worms. Just cut them out. Best not to let the lucky diners see you do this, it will gross them out. The worms are harmless unless you are a halibut. The bigger butts are riddled with worms and all bottom fish are by late summer. This is a good reason to keep smaller fish. They are better quality table fare. All halibut will have worms in the liver and belly meat.
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Old 05-09-2002, 10:28 AM   #6
PeterMac
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Default Re: Cleaning a Halibut

Thanks Pilar, you should have seen me examining every piece before I dropped in the batter, not wanting the 4 people around me to catch on to what I was doing....

I seem to remberber someone telling me that if you soak the fish in something overnight, the worms will all come out??? Does this take away from the freshness of the fish?

Pete

BTW Pilar - I had a nice conversation with Puffin the other morning - he called me at 6:30 saturday am - I had been up 'til 2:00 am the previous night, and I wasn't reading a book if you know what I mean - he says "what the hell are you doing, the sun is up, so should you be!!!" Same ol' John :grin:

Thanks.....
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Old 05-10-2002, 01:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cleaning a Halibut

Thanks for the help I appreciate . That should get me started in the right direction. I have cleaned salmon, trout, perch, bass, cappie, catfish, bullfrogs, grouse, rabbits, and an elk but never a halibut. First I have to catch one.
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