Step 1: Tools

In these pictures, you will see several ulu knives, a fillet knife, a steel and a wrapped half salmon. An ulu is an Eskimo knife that is the perfect tool for the job. These knives, made by Chase Hensel, are Yup'ik-style, from Western Alaska, where salmon is the staple food (an ulu also does a bang up job cutting frozen meats and fish but these instructions are for a fresh or fully thawed salmon). These ulu blades are made from segments of a thick old cross cut saw blade, which is especially good for this purpose. The handles are ivory and wood. Choose the size of your ulu in proportion to the size of your fish. While we prefer to use an ulu, people also use fillet knives. In either case, you will need a sharp and rust-free blade. Use the steel frequently to keep your edge uniform.
Next time you have a nice sized one cleaned and filleted you can remove the skin with your hand if you get the tail started with a knife. I've been a chef for 15+ years and have had so many employees struggle with not keeping their blade tilted right. Most of the time they either hack off lots of good meat, or end up cutting through the skin. I found this the easiest method, if you get it started from the tail end with your knife about an inch, skin side down grab the skin flap you made with a towel (more grip) and run your hand down the length of the fish. The skin easily pulls right away. I have had great chefs wow at how easy and quick it is, hope I explained that ok. It is a lot easier than it sounds.
filletting a salmon has been burning question #2 for some time now
Two quickies: 1) I've had fresh salmon from British Columbia. Until that time I never knew that fish could be glorious. 2) Using a honing steel on a knife blade doesn't sharpen it, it hones it. The difference is sharpening (with a stone) removes metal and restores the edge whereas honing just straightens back up an already sharp edge. Sorry, I can be picky. It's my mother's fault.
Looks good. Can I come to your house for dinner? I'll bring a nice Inniskilin Reisling :)
Oh yeah, that looks <em>easy</em>! ;-)<br/><br/>Beautiful photographs but then you had a beautiful model - damn that fish looks good!<br/>
No red dye here, my friends. This is an Alaskan wild caught king salmon. Support healthy fish stocks!
Yummy! Looks good, great pictures too!
mmm, look at that lovely red 40 lake flesh!
<em>An ulu is an Eskimo knife that is the perfect tool for the job. These knives, made by Chase Hensel</em><br/><br/>a relation? :-) <br/><br/>-nice instructable.<br/>
(my father)
Nicely done, and nicely photographed!
Way to go Mom!

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Bio: Perhaps I am the heretical harbinger of the New Archaic, perhaps I just like wood.
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