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Thread: Doc's Fillet Method

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    Default Doc's Fillet Method

    Just thought I would share some pics from this winter and remind everyone about a great way to fillet big kings. This was a 25-30 lbs fish and all I had to fillet it with was a leatherman and a dull serrated kitchen knife. Using Doc's method was super easy and resulted in the greatest potential yield of meat from the fish even with inferior cutting tools.

    It kills me to see big king carcasses with 20-25% of the meat left on just because someone was too lazy or didn't know how to effectively fillet.

    Just something to keep in mind for those of you lucky enough to land a big Parks or Kenai King.

    Fish on the table 10 mintues from the water!


    Perpendicular and parallel cuts to establish your steak sizes.

    One side done after stripping off the steaks.

    Not quite as clean as docs but I'm working on it. The cheeks on these big fish can be quite good.

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    Do you gut it first? I was watching a youtube video of a guy who left the guts in to leave pressure under the ribs. (I've never cleaned a fish.)

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    Member c6 batmobile's Avatar
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    I gut mine and fillet it the old fashion way. It works pretty good. I suppose this would be a good way to clean it out at the camp site if you didnt have a good surface to cut on or a good tool to cut with.

    And from the pictures its not gutted. You can see some of the innards on that bottom picture.

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    I like this...I'll try it out this fall on those huge Valdez silvers. I don't think there are any kings in my immediate future to experiment with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ePatrick View Post
    Do you gut it first? I was watching a youtube video of a guy who left the guts in to leave pressure under the ribs. (I've never cleaned a fish.)
    It can be done guts in or guts out.

    The web tutorial is done on a gutted fish.

    http://www.ifish.net/board/showpost....9&postcount=85

    Here's a couple pics of a slightly modified technique for a whole fish.
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    This is a much better way to fillet large fish. I always used to take each side off as a whole slab a (but never froze it as one piece anyway). It's a great way to maximize meat recovery.

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    I have never seen this technique before, have seen other ways. Looks like some great salmon steaks ready to go.
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    Does this method make the fillets boneless?
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    Without a doubt the best method I've ever used on a big king. Yes, it is boneless. Thanks Doc.

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    You left the collars on though. I can't believe Doc didn't comment on that, he loves that part.

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    I have not tried it this way but it seems to be a good way to get as close to the bone as possible. I was wondering, once you make the cuts for the fillet sections, do you start from the backbone/dorsal side or belly side and remove them from the body? does it make much of a difference? I will try it out when i catch a fish large enough (king or large silver). Thanks for the info!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich.Mck View Post
    once you make the cuts for the fillet sections, do you start from the backbone/dorsal side or belly side and remove them from the body?
    To make this as ergonomic as possible, put the tail end of the fish on the same side as your dominant hand. Pieces are removed by placing the knife edge deep in the long lateral line cut (tight to the vertebrae), and then sweeping the knife from the spine toward either the back (dorsally) or the belly (ventally) keeping the knife edge tight to the bones. Always sweep the knife in one direction.... DO NOT SAW!

    Start at the tail end and work your way up to the head end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Builder View Post
    You left the collars on though. I can't believe Doc didn't comment on that, he loves that part.

    Well.... now that you mention it. Yes.... it is definitely my favorite piece on the entire salmon. The vast majority of folks I know simply discard them still attached to the carcass.

    Speaking of collars, I scored some dandy ones a few weeks back.... so HUGE they actually touched three out of four sides of the surgical tray that I use to collect and stack chunks of fish as I am filleting.

    What a feast!

    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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  14. #14

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    Good point on the collars. I've never tried them before but would like to if I get another king this year. Any recipes of ways of cooking that people like for this part?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    It can be done guts in or guts out.

    The web tutorial is done on a gutted fish.

    http://www.ifish.net/board/showpost....9&postcount=85

    Here's a couple pics of a slightly modified technique for a whole fish.
    I like how that salmon is filleted. However, I got one question after viewing that second picture. The fillet on the bottom row on the far left is really thick. Do you cut that fillet in half again or just cook it that way? If so, what is your method?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    I like how that salmon is filleted. However, I got one question after viewing that second picture. The fillet on the bottom row on the far left is really thick. Do you cut that fillet in half again or just cook it that way? If so, what is your method?
    Cross cut into 1.5 inch triangular medallions. Each piece is now uniform thickness for the same cooking method... seared/broiled/grilled/steamed... you name it.
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    The Collars and Bellys are the best parts if you ask me. Hard to beat fresh King Salmon. My son brought some home today!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Armo_Ak View Post
    Good point on the collars. I've never tried them before but would like to if I get another king this year. Any recipes of ways of cooking that people like for this part?
    Cook it like you would any other part of the fish.

    Here's a couple of suggestions:

    Suggestion 1:
    Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
    Marinate in 1/2 cup Italian dressing for an hour.
    Grill.

    Suggestion 2:
    Marinate in Yoshida's overnight.
    Grill.

    Suggestion 3 (for you real cooks)

    Lightly salt and pepper about 2-3 pounds of salmon fillets cut 1.25 to 1.5 inches thick (cross-cut back pieces are great... so are belly slabs off a 15-20# king) and let sit while you prepare the marinade. Yes I do collars like this, too.

    Get a gallon size ziplock bag and dump in the following ingredients:

    3 Tbsp soy sauce

    2 Tbsp sesame oil

    2-3 cloves garlic (more if you like) finely minced

    1 small nubbin' of fresh ginger (like the end of a finger/thumb), finely slivered
    (optional, you can also substitute a couple dashes of powdered ginger)

    1.5 Tbsp packed brown sugar

    1/2 tsp MSG (optional, leave out if you are sensitive)

    Several generous shakes crushed red pepper (more if you like it really spicy).

    Massage ingredients in the ziplock until well blended and sugar granules start to dissolve.

    Dump fish into the bag. Massage until all pieces are coated.

    Marinate several hours or leave overnight for max flavor, massaging the bag several times over the duration. Pretend you are curing salmon eggs!

    Grill over high heat about 5 minutes a side tops. Enjoy!
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Armo_Ak View Post
    Just thought I would share some pics from this winter and remind everyone about a great way to fillet big kings. This was a 25-30 lbs fish and all I had to fillet it with was a leatherman and a dull serrated kitchen knife. Using Doc's method was super easy and resulted in the greatest potential yield of meat from the fish even with inferior cutting tools.

    It kills me to see big king carcasses with 20-25% of the meat left on just because someone was too lazy or didn't know how to effectively fillet.

    Just something to keep in mind for those of you lucky enough to land a big Parks or Kenai King.

    Fish on the table 10 mintues from the water!
    Ummmmm.......WOW!!!

    Never have seen it done this way but what a BEAUTIFUL job!!!

    Nicely done.

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  20. #20

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    Slick method and so much easier for those who aren't so great with a knife. Each small piece is "practice" to get dialed in on the technique. I make more work out of it than most but I enjoy the results. I gut the fish including the "mud vein" and proceed as demonstrated in the pics but will intentionally leave 1/4" or more meat on the bone. Then, with kitchen shears, cut the bare part of the rib bones off. Those chunks of carcass with a uniform meat on both sides takes my spicey brine almost instantly and smoke up quickly as well. Sweetest smoked anything you'll ever have! Made the mistake of passing some around at work...after that, I had to do my munching on the sly. Butchering fish should be a lot like butchering a hog...only part you don't use is the squeal.

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