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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ive always been a little hesitant to throw away a nice salmon carcass with an inch thick slab of flesh along the backbone, but Ive never really thought of what to do with it.

I cut the heads off and froze 'em for crab-bait (actual bait, not for the member of the same name) and took the remainder of the skeletal lookin things to the smokehouse.

Now I can see this isnt exactly a huge amount of fish to be so concerned about, but let me tell you folks it was good, and would have been thrown away or used for crab otherwise. They take the whole thing, throw it in the smoker and give it back to you whole, which is a lot easier to handle, pick the chunks of meat off the bones, which is easy to do, taste the same, and with all the fish getting bonked lately, it adds up quikly!
 

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I agree. After I fillet the salmon, I cut off and save the bellies, collars, and backbone for smoking. When I have enough, I smoke them and enjoy! Yes, it's GOOOOOOOOD :grin:
 

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The fillets are pretty, but I prefer salmon steaks mainly because you get all of that meat. The stuff above the backbone is usually what ends up tasting the best. You gotta deal with the bones a bit, but its worth it to me. Nothing better than fresh salmon steaks slathered with olive oil and covered with cajun seasoning, put on a hot a grill, sear one side, sear the other side and onto the plate.
 

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And don`t forget the cheeks!! LOL. Fishft. :grin:
 

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We cut off the head and tail, sprinkle Cajun blackening seasoning on both sides, place it on a sheet of buttered tinfoil, and BBQ until done. Finger food at its best, it's delicious and you don't waste any meat.
I was shown this by Chris Sessions while fishing the Kenai this summer. Thanks Chris!
 

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Cheeks! Don't forget that chinook have cheeks. Nuggets well worth the effort to cut out and eat.
 
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RvW,
You need to filet your fish more carefuly if you're leaving that much meat on the bone :depressed: You can see thrugh what I leave on the bones.

Smoke the back bones and eat the meat off of them.

gruman,
When you steak a salmon you are cutting the oil glands that run lengthwise under the skin, loosing flavor.

[ 09-25-2003, 04:17 PM: Message edited by: Keta ]
 

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Keta,

Seems like I learn something (more like a dozen somethings) new from this website every day. I wonder how much flavor you actually lose? Hmmm, this may call for a taste test. All I need is a fresh salmon to experiment on - wonder where I could get one of those???

-G16
 

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Keta is right, you just need to learn to fillet better. I leave more bone than meat, there isnt much of anything to smoke...Unless you like smoked fish heads :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Nobodys perfect with a filet knife, Im happy with my ability.. whatever amount of meat you leave on the bone is still meat worth eating. Salmon cakes, salmon dip, smoked.... grilled on the foil is a good idea too, will have to give it a go.


The most abundant flavor is the layer of fat between the skin and flesh. When you cook a steak, try cooking it with the skin to the coals rather than the flesh.. Roll the belly inside and stick a toothpick in it to hold it, with some herbs/spices together. OR, if you have a vertical rotiserie, skewer 2 or 3 steaks through the back, stacking them tightly so the back of the above steak fits into the cavity of the one below it. (Eat the bottom one!) Far more flavorful than a filet, especially a skinned one.

I took a steelhead and rather than slit the belly to clean it, I cut the head off after bleeding it and cleaned it through the cavity thus having a cavity to fill with.... spinach, garlic, black pepper, onion, seasoned bread crumbs and whatever else you can think of, wrapped it with broad leaf fresh spinach, and basil leaves...tin foil and soaked it in Rogue golden ale... into the BBQ it went...was the best fish Ive ever eaten!
 
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Nobodys perfect with a filet knife
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">Tell that to anyone that has seen Puffin do it.
1/4" is bad. Follow the bones and you can see through the "Waste".
 

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I agree with the carker, Keta. Practivce makes perfect and start with the right tools, i.e., at least one good knife (Forschner #40513, a great all around 6" knife or the #40613 8" for those big hogs). Learn to use a steel and keep a good edge on those knives.

After cleaning the body cavity, I make my first cut around the pectoral fin then up to the back of the head just behind the armor plating angling forward so you get the meat that is under the plating. Continue all the way to the spine, then turn the blade so you are cutting lengthwise toward the tail. Only cut as deep as the backbone and stay on center. Use the tip of the knife to fel the backbone and don't "saw", just a long smooth cut with the sharp knife.

After this initial cut, I return to the front of the fish and gently lift the cut open and insert the blade past the spine and along the ribs. Again, feel the ribs with the blade. The depth of this cut is determined by the size of the fish. You want to reach the end of the ribs. Continue this cut smoothly to the anal fin.

Trim off the fin. Now lift the open cut again and reinsert the blade along the spine from the top angling to the center of the underside of the fish and cut all the way through to the tail. With a little pressure, the blade will flex and you will leave very little meat on the off side of the spine.

Now the fillet is only held on by the belly meat where you have cut to the end of the ribs. You can either slice through into the cavity leaving the belly attached to the fillet or cut through the skin from the inside beyong the rib ends separating the belly meat from the rest of the fillet. Either way works and I always take the belly meat off either way because it is too thin to cook at the same rate as the fillet.

Touch up your blade as you go. It should easily cut through a fillet and skin on a single pass or it is too dull. Nothing will make and easy job hard and mess up a fish faster than a dull knife.

Good luck.

[ 09-25-2003, 11:21 PM: Message edited by: crabbait ]
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
1/4" is bad
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">If I'm smokin it and eating it who cares? Ive never been critisized for my fillet jobs from the people who have actually seen them. (couldnt fillet a sea bass if my life depended on it though, little interest)
"an inch" is an exageration, but Ive often been quite tired when I get home with fish. A swipe on one side and a swipe down the other is the best they get with a good sharp Henkles... center of the blade just above the tail slice through to the spine, angle the knife edge towards the head and push..viola fish fillet with rib-bones intact, they are so much easier to remove after the fish is cooked! grab one and the all come off.. If theres an inch down the back bone on a 25+ lb fish, I'm not losiing sleep over it. It goes in the dip, the salmon cakes, or most recently, the whole kit-n-kaboodle into the smoker.

If theres others here who dont quite live up to the IFish fillet standards, my original post is intended to give you an idea of what to do with the sliver of flesh down the backbone...smoke what you miss while your being schooled here. Its effortless and tasty.

Crabbait, while I attended culinary arts academy (non career oriented), your post was the standard practice (more or less) but with a 7 inch Forschner #40311 mandatory for each student. Great knives.
 

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Thank you, RvW. My fillets are not always perfect, either. With a good knife it takes just a second to go back and clean the area around the spine.

A little cornmeal and a skillet and you have a great breakfast with eggs on the side.
 

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By the time I'm done cleaning a fish, All that's left is head, fins and bone. Head go'es for crab bait. As for the cheeks, I'm related to finns :grin: and nothing go'es to waste.
Crabbait, I like to melt butter with garlic and just warm the fish till it turns color and cook eggs over easy myself.

[ 09-26-2003, 04:14 AM: Message edited by: Claybear ]
 

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I think the main point that RvW is making is waste not want not. If I can't get everything in the fillet, I will carve that carcass until I get everything off of it and freeze it for later.
I can produce a mean fillet in pretty short order. I am used to filleting walleyes and large perch, (yea, I know, fresh water fish) so I can work with the small scale well and it has helped me to work on the bigger fish easily. Hey, even a 2 pound walleye has cheeks!! Tasty too.

Don't critisize because someone can't do as good of a cleaning as you may be able to. Applaud them for coming up with a creative use for what was missed.

Paul B.
 

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Wrap in foil and bake for 20 minutes - pick the meat off the bones and there's the start of salmon melts, salmon loaf, salmon chowder ...
 

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Mentioned it once before..But here you go again...

Scrape that remainder of meat off and toss it into a stir fry...or freeze it in a small Glad container and use it later...makes a great treat.

Mark
 
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