May Contain Nuts

I cook clean yell at kids work clean repeat & I AM ALL ABOUT EFFICIENCY

Gutting a Fresh Sockeye Salmon Like An Amateur

For the price of super fresh salmon, we had to filet and gut the fish.  Since this is the first time doing it, Patch had to look up ways to cut the fish.  If you wandered here looking for tips and instructions on how to clean, gut, and filet a fish, you’ve made a mistake.  I’m just documenting what we did and I can assure you that what we did is not correct!

First of all – You need a sharp knife. We had a filet knife but to be honest, we both did not know how to handle it.

I’ve heard that there’s a way to determine where the salmon was caught by feeling their bodies.  For example, if it’s lean and thin, it means that it’s near the end stage of their life epic swim.  It makes sense but I’m not so sure how accurate it is. 🙂

He started the first cut from the pee hole along the belly.  It’s better to start with a shallow cut so that you don’t accidentally poke or break the intestines and have all the crap and bacteria leaking onto the meat.  Hubs wore rubber gloves and got a better grip from holding on to the tail.

After the first cut and up along the head (under the gill), he lifted the top up to expose the salmon roe.  The salmon roe is like a sausage link, there is a membrane casing that holds it all together which made it easy for us to remove all the roe.

Turn the fish over and make a similar cut.

This is the kidney, it wasn’t too hard to remove it, you can use a knife to help remove the entire organ.

So we have the top half, bottom half and the middle half (where the bones are).  Removing the middle part requires a bit of patience and knife skills (basically, just maneuvering around the bones).  We immediately tossed the middle part in boiling water for something to munch on as late-night snack.

We cut up the fish into quarters for freezing (ie. sashimi requires 24 hours of deep freezing).  And then the last part took the longest.  First, a knife is no use for deboning unless you have the agility of a sushi chef.  And a sharp knife. Which we had none! We ended up using pliers to take out the bones.  We took extra care to get all the bones out especially when we are feeding it to our toddler.  But in the end, there were still some bones that wasn’t detected and luckily, our toddler managed to pick it out from his mouth.

This whole ordeal took us about 3 hours with picture taking breaks in between and figuring out what to do next.  At first we didn’t think it would be worth it for the price, but when we tasted the freshness of the fish (especially after making the salmon roe), it’s something that I wouldn’t mind doing it again. Or get the hubs to do it again, I mean. 🙂

Here’s an awesome recipe on how to prepare fresh roe (ikura).


4 comments on “Gutting a Fresh Sockeye Salmon Like An Amateur

  1. sybaritica
    October 26, 2013

    Good pictorial …. A good filleting knife REALLY helps though… AND you can get decent ones pretty cheap. It saves LOTS of time getting rid of bones in one sweep too 🙂

  2. Barbra & Jack Donachy
    October 26, 2013

    You did well! Eventually you’ll be able to fillet a salmon in a couple of minutes. Thanks for buying a sockeye and NOT buying one of those environmentally irresponsible farmed salmon! We don’t know about feeling a salmon to determine where it was caught, but by assessing the color it appears that this fish came from an estuary or river mouth: it’s not bright silver as an ocean fish would be, but it hasn’t colored up as an upriver fish would.
    Do you still have the roe? At $30 to $40 per pound, curing it as ikura could prove to be the biggest bargain of the fish. This is one of our most popular posts, and shows how to easily make your own gourmet quality ikura:

  3. Pingback: How Not to Butcher a Chicken | May Contain Nuts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on October 26, 2013 by in Recipes My Way - General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: