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How To Fillet A Salmon

How To Fillet A Salmon

So what does it mean to filet salmon? Filleting is the process of cutting salmon into fillets. These serve as individual portions and cook much faster than the whole fish. Salmon fillets are great for on-the-go meals and are easily stored in the freezer for whenever you might need them. You can buy delicious, sustainable, ocean-raised, ocean-loved salmon filets directly from us HERE. Filleting salmon is too convenient to pass! So today’s post is all about how to fillet a salmon. We are sharing our favorite tips to master the process of filleting.

Buying a whole salmon isn’t something people do often. Typically you go to the store or order your salmon from us, and it comes ready to go. But did you know that behind the scenes there is a lot going on in order to give you those perfect salmon filets you end up cooking and enjoying? If you’ve ever wondered how salmon is filleted, today will be a fun one! Or if you’re more adventurous, a fisherman, or just curious and want to learn how to filet salmon, this post will be quite informative. So get ready to learn how to filet salmon below! and keep reading!


How To Fillet Salmon:

Below you’ll find all of the items needed plus step-by-step instructions to filet salmon. If you have any questions, definitely don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Instagram!

What you will need:

A fresh whole salmon.

If the quality of the salmon just isn’t there, your fillets won’t turn out so great either. You should always know how to tell if salmon has gone bad and buy from a reliable supplier. Avoid dull-looking fish and steer clear of the salmon with sunken eyes. Those are two key telltale signs that the fish is not fresh. Because where your salmon comes from matters, we are transparent about the nature of our ocean-raised, ocean-loved fish. It’s also ideal to find a salmon that has been prepped a little bit. Ideally, any extra parts of the salmon that aren’t necessary including the head, intestines, etc. can be removed for you at the fishery or you’ll have to remove them yourself. It’s all a part of the process!

A fillet knife.

This one is a no-brainer. But you do need a sharp knife for filleting salmon! For this reason, a fillet knife is a perfect tool for cutting a salmon. It’s light and flexible, which will allow you to cut through the ribs of the fish without any inconveniences. Here’s a list of the best fish fillet knives of the year in case you have yet to buy one!

A sturdy cutting board.

A strong base is always necessary! You’ll need an easy to clean and trusty cutting board to fillet salmon. A plastic-laminated wooden board can be a great tool. Another option is high-density polyethylene boards. Both alternatives will make the filleting process easier!
Your favorite knife sharpener.

To get a sharp knife you need a sharpener. And what’s better than the one you rely on the most? It’s important to sharpen the fillet knife with this tool before filleting the salmon. Otherwise, you won’t be able to make clean cuts as easily.

Rubber gloves and cleaning wipes:

You’ll want to keep things as clean and organized as possible. Rubber gloves keep your hands free of any scales or blood, making the process more sanitary. As for the cleaning wipes, these are great to have at hand in case you need to clean the cutting board or your work surface in a hurry.

Needle-nosed pliers:

A needle nose plier is a right tool for the intricate parts of the fish. They are ideal for removing pin and rib bones from salmon and are good to maneuver the insides of the fish as well.

Step by Step Instructions To Filet Salmon:

Step 1: Prepare the salmon.

Make sure the salmon is absolutely clean before filleting. Rinse the fish in cold water and dry with paper towels prior to beginning the process. It should have the head, tail, and any intenses removed.

Step 2: Place the salmon on the cutting board.

Get your gloves on and cleaning wipes ready, because you’re about to start filleting! Lay the salmon on the cutting board. The top side of the fish should face you with the head-end pointing to your right.

Step 3: Cut the head-end of the fish.

This will be the first cut you make. Start by making a clean cut from the head-end, right on the left side of the spine. With the other hand, hold the belly flap so it doesn’t get in the way. Keep the knife tilted down while maintaining a sawing-like motion to make the cutting easier.

Step 4: Cut the tail-end of the fish.

When you’ve cut through the entirety of the belly cavity, move your supporting hand from the belly flap to the middle body of the salmon. So you are bracing the fish from behind the fillet knife. And keep a downwards tilt to the spine. This will ensure a clean cut and save the most meat. Now, keep cutting through the fish until you have the first fillet separated from the rest of the body.

Step 5: Repeat the process on the other side.

Now gently lift the fillet and turn the fish around so you are facing the belly. The head-end will be on your right side once again. Now, just repeat the previous steps to cut your second salmon fillet.

Step 6: Remove the rib bones and collar.

You have two salmon fillets! That’s great, but now it’s time to remove the rib bones and collar from the fish.

Let’s start with the collarbone. Cut a vertical line about half an inch from where the head was cut. Then, cut all the way to the backside of the fin bone. This will make removing the salmon’s ribcage a whole lot easier. To start with this next part, make an incision underneath the rib bones and tilt the blade towards them. Now use the bones as a guide to avoiding slicing the meat. Do short sweeps, careful not to cut yourself. Finally, at the end of the bones, press the ribcage flap up and slice it with a quick cut.

Step 7: Remove the pin bones with the needle-nosed pliers.

Told you the pliers would come in handy! Now it’s time to scan the salmon fillets for any pin bones left behind. If any, remove them with the needle-nosed pliers. Just be careful not to chop off any meat!

Step 8: Slice the salmon fillet into portions.

Now that you have two delicious and fresh salmon fillets ready, all you need is to slice them into individual portions. Make them as small or generous as you prefer! We recommend slicing the fish into individual fillets to make meal-prepping easier. Then, get ready to cook!

What are some of your best tips for how to fillet a salmon?

That’s all you need to know about filleting salmon! If you’re an avid fisherman or interested in learning to filet your own fish, we hope this post comes in handy. If you prefer to skip this whole prep step and have your salmon filets delivered straight to your door, our Oshēn salmon is a great option. Remember to check our blog for tons of salmon tips and info and our salmon recipe page for meal inspiration. Also, head over to our Pinterest and Instagram accounts to stay up-to-date with every one of our posts. Best of luck fileting your salmon!

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