Monday, October 26, 2009

Filleting a Sturgeon

Since we got a keeper sturgeon, we figured we'd post pictures of filleting it while we taught the boys.

I haven't had to cut-up a trout in years, and soon they'll be taking care of the salmon for me, too. Might as well have them take care of cutting up the 'gators, too.

Here you can see the slit we make in the tale to bleed the fish. We also cut the gills, too, while it is hanging on a rope in the water to bleed it out well. Careful - don't cut through too far and cut the tail OFF! There aren't any bones in there to stop the knife!

The first cut, start at the base of the last dorsal fin and cut all the way up the back - just under the top row of spines.

The skin is very rough and will dull the knife quickly, so be sure to sharpen it frequently.

Now, with the top spines removed, fillet on each side of the backbone downward to the ribs... and then outward along the ribs.

CAREFUL - DON'T cut into the guts! Smelly!

Here you can see the meat separated from the backbone in the middle...

Now, simply continue downward on each side until the fillets are separated from the carcass. Larger fish are easier to fillet, but the larger slabs are more difficult to handle.

Just make sure to stay away from the guts! ESPECIALLY if the fish came out of the Willamette! ;-)

Now, with the fillets off the body, run the knife along the inside of the skin to separate the meat from the skin.

As you can see here - there is a dark meat inside of the skin that we want to trim off once the skin is completely removed. The dark meat is strong tasting.

Also, if there is any yellow or orange fat, trim ALL of it off. Especially on a Willamette fish! Ha!

Here are the final fillets - ready to cube up, batter, and deep fry!

We get about 2 meals from these smaller keepers... but a large, 50" fish usually gives the troops about 7 meals!

Sturgeon is FANTASTIC - definitely one of our favorite. Firm sweet meat that is not fishy-tasting at all (if you trim it well!).