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How to Fillet a Salmon

By on March 30, 2012
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Picking the Right Equipment

There are many different knives that will work well for filleting salmon. The type that I prefer have an 8″ long blade that’s narrow and fairly flexible. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a knife that will work well… in fact, most fillet knives that I buy cost under $20.

If you’d like to get specific, two of my favorite knives are the Dexter-Russell model S133-8, and the Forschner model 40613. Again, you should be able to find either of these knives for about $20 US.

The Dexter-Russell S133-8 fillet knife

The Dexter-Russell S133-8 fillet knife

Once you’ve got a good knife, you need to keep it sharp. I’ve tried lots of different sharpeners, and I think the easiest and most fool-proof sharpeners on the market today are the Edgemaker sharpeners. These sharpeners have three different sets of sharpening bars. Most of the time, if you’re using your knives under normal conditions, you will only use the finest (smoothest) set of bars, just to “touch up” the edges on your knives… it’s just like using a butchers’ steel. But, if you’ve lost the edge on a knife, or if you’ve somehow gotten a ding in an edge, then you’ll need to use the coarser grit bars until you get get a nice, consistent edge… then switch to the smoothest bars to put the finishing touches on it. There are instructions included with the sharpeners that tell you how to use them.

You need a flat surface to lay the fish on. Any piece of board or countertop that is big enough will do just fine, but you’ll keep a bit more peace in the household if you make sure you do your filleting outside, especially if you’ve got any slimy, smelly fish. I use a scrap piece of butcher block countertop, it’s a bit fancy, but it works just fine.

One thing that I look for is to make sure that whatever board I use, I want to be able to use it right to the edge… in other words, I want to be able to have the fish right at the edge of the board and my knife hand working just off the edge of the board. More on this later.

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Picking the Right Equipment

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