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Thread: Skinning A Salmon Fillet

  1. #1

    Default Skinning A Salmon Fillet

    I showed a few guys on a fishing trip how I skin a well filleted salmon. They were impressed. It only takes seconds and, IMHO, is much easier than taking a blade to the skin. So here it goes. Maybe this summer I will get some video.

    Take the fillet by the hand with the area closest to the head pointing towards you. You will need a good pair of needle nose pliers, I tend to use my gerber multi pliers which work great. Gently work the pliers between the skin and the meat right in the middle where the dark meat triangles up. Once the pliers are half way in work the meat from the skin with your thumb that is not holding the pliers. Work the meat from the skin until about an inch of skin has been peeled from the meat deep and completely horizontal. Then grab as much skin as you can. Now, this is where it can get tricky. If you have a good fillet with no fins attached this will be easy. The hand holding the pilers will pull towards you and the hand holding the skin will push away. Make it one motion and the skin will peel right off slip snot slidding down a flag pole.

    I use this technique on all of my fish I put in the smoker. I smoke my fish without skin so the taste of the brine will soak into the meat from all directions. Hopefully someone finds this techinique useful. It is tought to describe but if you see someone do this once it is easy to duplicate. I am also interested if anyone else has used this method. My father taught me how to skin salmon this way after he watched a bear do the very same thing on an outdoor life television show. I have never heard of anyone else skinning a salmon fillet this way.

  2. #2
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Wasilla, Alaska, United States


    I usually leave the skin on salmon for grilling, but we do something similar with halibut.

    Take the tip of your fillet knife and slit the skin around the outer edge of the fish stopping only at the tail (leave connected). Then grab the skin with pliers near the head and work it back. Once you get the roll of skin past the rearmost part of the gills, you can usually give it a good hard pull and the skin will come completely off to the tail in one fell swoop. After the skin is off, filleting is a cakewalk and makes for a beautiful fillet.

    The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  3. #3
    Charterboat Operator
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Anchorage AK.


    I prefer a 14" flat bread knife that is not very sharp. leaves a much cleaner looking filet than one that has had the skin ripped off of it. JMO
    w/ practice a salmon or butt filet takes about 4-5 seconds to do.

  4. #4
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Eagle River/ Juneau


    cook the fish, the skin comes right off
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  5. #5


    I smoke most of my fish and do not like to smoke it with the skin on. Some Pam on the racks and the meat will peel right off when done. Pretty much the only fish I do not smoke are Copper River reds, then I will leave the skin on so I can put them on the grill. Otherwise the way I skin them leaves absolutely no meat on the left over skin.


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