Instructables

How to Fillet Salmon

Featured
Picture of How to Fillet Salmon
P1014684.JPG
P1014680.JPG
P1014685.JPG
P1014689.JPG
P1014690.JPG
P1014691.jpg
P1014693.JPG
P1014694.JPG
P1014695.JPG
P1014696.JPG
P1014697.JPG
P1014698.JPG
P1014699.JPG
P1014700.JPG
P1014701.JPG
P1014703.JPG
P1014704.JPG
P1014705.JPG
P1014707.JPG
P1014708.JPG
P1014709.JPG
P1014711.JPG
P1014713.JPG
P1014716.JPG
P1014717.JPG
P1014720.JPG
P1014725.JPG
P1014727.JPG
P1014728.JPG
P1014729.JPG
P1014731.JPG
P1014732.JPG
P1014733.JPG
P1014735.JPG
P1014736.JPG
P1014737.JPG
P1014739.JPG
P1014740.JPG
P1014744.JPG
How to make a nice salmon fillet.
 
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Tools

Picture of Tools
P1014680.JPG
P1014685.JPG
P1014689.JPG
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.

Step 2: Wash the fish

Picture of Wash the fish
P1014694.JPG
P1014695.JPG
Rinse off any blood or slime on your fish. Clean the body cavity under running water. Pat the fish dry, inside and out, with paper towels (or you can use a clean rag or cotton dish towel, if you don't mind getting it fishy).

Step 3: Cut out the fins

Picture of Cut out the fins
P1014699.JPG
P1014701.JPG
P1014703.JPG
With the tip of your knife, or edge of the ulu, cut out the dorsal and/or ventral fins, depending on whether you have a whole salmon or a half. Angle the blade slightly down and cut along the base of the fin, just far enough in to where the bones of the fin extend. Do this on one side of the fish. Then flip it over and cut out the other side in the same way.
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.
icedog5155 years ago
filletting a salmon has been burning question #2 for some time now
ludovicus6 years ago
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.
tercero6 years ago
Looks good. Can I come to your house for dinner? I'll bring a nice Inniskilin Reisling :)
Patrik6 years ago
Oh yeah, that looks easy! ;-)

Beautiful photographs but then you had a beautiful model - damn that fish looks good!
No red dye here, my friends. This is an Alaskan wild caught king salmon. Support healthy fish stocks!
Yummy! Looks good, great pictures too!
camp6ell6 years ago
mmm, look at that lovely red 40 lake flesh!
ll.136 years ago
An ulu is an Eskimo knife that is the perfect tool for the job. These knives, made by Chase Hensel

a relation? :-)

-nice instructable.
jesse.hensel (author)  ll.136 years ago
(my father)
westfw6 years ago
Nicely done, and nicely photographed!
jesse.hensel (author) 6 years ago
Way to go Mom!
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!