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Thread: Salmon Steaks or Fillets

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    Default Salmon Steaks or Fillets

    In my quest for knowledge to assist me in my trip to Alaska this summer, I began by asking where to fish, then how, then about the bears, and now I am assuming that I will be able to catch a few fish, so my next question is.....How do you like to clean your catch? I am famillir with filleting big red fish from the bayous as well as speckled trout and flounder, so I don't need a lesson, but I was wondering if anyone prefers steaks over fillets. Perhaps you have a prefered method for certain kinds of salmon? I will be pursuing sockeye and silvers. Thanks for everyone's help. This forum is a great resource!

  2. #2

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    We do both, mostly based on the size of the fish. There's an ideal size for steaks to come out single-serving and about an inch thick. That's a fish somewhere between a low of about 5 pounds and a high of about 8 pounds. Smaller than that we fillet, and larger than that we fillet. Just nice to have both in the freezer for different preps.

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    I like salmon either way, but the most important thing I learned (& loved) was to keep the belly meat intact. Makes great smoking.

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    Member FishGod's Avatar
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    I do both depending on how I plan on processing my fish. One trick I learned is to use a big spoon and after I fillet my fish, use the spoon to scrape any remaining meat off the skeleton. Even if you do a perfect fillet job, you can still scoop up enough of meat to make 1-2 salmon patties.
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    Quote Originally Posted by T. Chris View Post
    This forum is a great resource!
    Yeah it takes the adventure right out of the quotient. May as well go buy the Alaskan adventure fishing video in the forum online store and go to Costco for your sockeye fillets. Save your money for that Europe trip.





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    Someone having a bad day?
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Typical day for the sales pitch.

    On occasion - we will cook up the carcass on the BBQ - specially kings - thems tasty.

    I haven't steaked anything this year - wife likes em - so do I, but they tend to poke holes in the vaccum packing on occasion.

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    For silvers I like to just head and gut the fish, then vacuum pack and freeze the fish whole. I've never been able to keep silvers from getting freezer burn after about three months, no matter what I do. I've done the whole "Coat the steaks with a mixture of Karo syrup and water and freeze, then recoat etc., then wrap in Saran wrap and vacuum pack" routine, and still the flesh gets freezer burn. I recently took out a pair of silvers I caught last year and froze whole, thawed 'em out and filleted them, and they were perfect. Just means you're going to have to eat the whole fish in a couple of days, but that's never been a problem. With reds and kings we either steak or fillet, wrap in Saran Wrap then vacuum pack, and there's a lot less tendency to burn, probably because they have a higher oil content. Good luck!

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    I fillet everything, just easier for me to deal with. Fine baked, way easier to grill and fit nicely in vaccum seal bags. We have had an issue with the lateral line bones poking holes in the bags so it helps to put the fillets in the bag facing each other, both skin side out to help protect the bag.

    I doubt you'll be canning any but for others: I take my knife and trim up the carcasses i've fillet and fill cans (or jars) with the trimmings. From a couple limits of reds, I can easily fill 1 or 2 jars with those trimmings and I think i'm pretty good at not leaving meat on a carcass.

    Another note: As a previous poster pointed out, don't throw away the belly meat. It is by far the best part of the fish and way too often thrown out with the bones! After you fillet a fish, take your knife and cut the belly just ahead of the anus (don't go through the colon!) and then pull the belly toward the head, cut the bellly off at the head. Take that whole piece and add some garlic salt and throw it on the grill. By far the best salmon i've ever eaten!

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    If you plan on taking fish back on the plane in a cooler, we always fillet to reduce weight (50lbs checked weight) and maximize the meat amounts that we take home. We vacuum seal the fillets and freeze them for the trip back. On another note to get maximum amount of fish if you steak them out, you will get more fish but greater weight. I too second keeping the bellies. All salmon IMHO, should be skinned for better taste for long term storage in the freezer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZ View Post
    All salmon IMHO, should be skinned for better taste for long term storage in the freezer.
    I've never skinned a salmon, might have to try! How do you cook them if there skinned?

  12. #12

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    Steaks or fillets? It all depends. If I'm eating it fresh or frozen, it all gets steaked. Each piece is a consistant thickness for cooking and there is no waste. If I'm going to smoke it, the fish gets filleted. That way each piece has a skin side.

    Good luck on your trip!

    Eel

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    Default Steaked fillets . .

    Fillet your fish and pull all the pin bones. Then, for 1" thick steaks, come down the fillet 2" and cut off a chunk perpendicular to the length of the fillet. Next, cut down to but not through the skin at the middle of the cut-off piece of meat . . fold skin to skin for a perfect, boneless steak.

    Problem with fillets is that by the time the shoulder meat is done, the belly/rib/tail sections are jerky. Problem with a fish carcass steaked is the nasty pieces of pin bones left in.

    Done as above—filleted and butterfly-ed—one ends up with a piece of steaked fillet, all the same thickness, and perfectly boneless.

    Only way to do it . .

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    Default Illustration . .

    Your finished product should look like this:

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    I cut moose loin like that, never thought of doing a fish that way... thanks for tip...

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    Quote Originally Posted by AkTrouter View Post
    I cut moose loin like that, never thought of doing a fish that way... thanks for tip...
    Yes, I think we've all butterfly-ed a chunk of red meat some time or other. Do try it on the fish . . I can't overstate the superiority of the method . . the "same thickness/even cooking" of a steak and the "boneless-ness" of a fillet.

    Simply can't be beat . . .

    For any who don't know how to remove pin bones, try here:
    http://www.salmonuniversity.com/ol_htfs_pinbones1.html

    And for more on butterfly-ing a salmon steak, try here:
    http://www.dlc.fi/~marianna/gourmet/summer3.htm

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    Great description of the how and the why for that method, Marcus. My brother has a friend from Southeast that sends up some troll caught white kings a couple times a year, and just the other night my father and I were investigating the steaked fillets to figure out how it was done. I've never cut one that way myself, but given the quality of the meat (and the presentation), I think that is going to become my go-to method. I've got some fillets from the past two days to seal up today, so I think I'm going to give it a go. Thanks again!

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    Thanks Marcus. I think I will give that a try as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Your finished product should look like this:
    Very cool, thanks for sharing, i'm hungry now!

    One way I keep (fairly) even thickness fillets is to slice the fillet from one end to the other removing the thickest part and throwing the skinless part in jars for longer term storage. I usually only do that when I have a bag batch of fish that i'm working otherwise you end up with just a couple jars.

  20. #20

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    Thanks Marcus. Excellent idea! I got a 20lb. King yesterday that I filleted. I can't wait to try it!

    Eel

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