Pike Filleting 101: Out With the Y Bones!Jun 01, 2021
Hi my name is Rob Olson I'm the managing director of the Manitoba Wildlife Federation and we're here today to learn how to fillet and clean my favorite fish this is a northern
pikea much maligned fish people call them slime ball solution arcs. doesn't get any respect in the fish world but this is an amazing fish and probably the most underrated fish to eat that we have in Manitoba right now so it's a great fish we're going to learn how to clean it right now and it's a Little complicated, but once you learn this special little trick, you will love to catch these fish and they will love to eat you.
The first thing I will say about Phil eating a
pikeand really any fish but especially a pike because they are so slimy is that you have one hand that you are going to hold the stuffing knife with and then you have the other hand that you are going to use to manipulate the fish you don't want the hand with the knife to get slimy well what we're going to do is we're going to cut this piece of meat on the side of the pike called the fillet and we're going to peel it right away from that pike carcass like this, okay , the first cut that we're going to make is just behind the head, right behind the gill plate here in the meat no the hard part is not the heart Gill just behind the gill plate and behind this fin you want to make a straight cut down and cut until you feel the bone and you'll feel it it's extremely obvious and I can feel it there now it's hard and when you hit that bone the first cut is done once we get to that bone, which is the spine, turn let's cut our knife sideways like this and follow that spine down to the fish keeping our knife parallel you know, not like this, not like that parallel with the fish essentially and bring it up to the tail so here's the second cut from the bone all the way up the spine turn the knife to the side and just cut slowly back and forth and you'll feel the bone easy you're going if you cut real hard c a cut through the spine okay well which will make that kind of sense, you'll ruin the steak if you cut it too much, it goes too shallow, you'll lose the meat and it's just about feeling, it's about getting a feel for the spine it just takes practice I can feel it there once you start a little bit and then you take your hand off of holding the head and start putting it on top of the fillet which gives you control it helps you feel - it helps you feel, feel the fish and feel the bone a little bit, it helps you have a little bit of control.
I wrap my thumb around it and grab it behind the knife, obviously, and you always cut away from your body, so if you slip or push a little hard, the knife goes over here where there's no way to cut or hurt you, so always you cut away from yourself at all times you just want to move the knife back and forth it helps you work the
bonesjust move back and forth sometimes when you get to these they both open backwards towards the tail of the pike Sometimes your knife wants to go under the fin. What you can do there is just make a little incision like this and cut a little bit like this. cut back just to get a little place for your knife to start there so you come up above that fin can you continue and you'll know you're in the right place if your knife is basically just above the fins if you were below the fins you know you're on the wrong side of the spine so keep cutting all the way to the tail be patient don't get impatient now and cut and miss this nice slow nice easy meat all the way to the tail and then go ahead and cut it like this and there's a great pike fillet we're going to cut this twist in the center because it just kind of gets in the way and it's got a little bit of gristle there you can see the gristle here it's kind of a round point just go ahead and push and our knife through make sure there's nothing on the other side when you push it in and just go ahead and cut through it you're just losing a little bit of belly meat there but that part is just on the f The way the first set of
bonesis, I'm going to take out there are two sets, the first sets are easy and the same for all fish, like
filletinga walleye, it's the st. may be the same is the ribcage and if you run the knife slowly along that ribcage you can feel the bonus and you can see them running so you can see the lines of Bones running we want to cut under them as close as possible as possible to not wasting meat and essentially think of it as taking out the ribcage so the first cut is right along the top edge, you want the upper back to face you and the belly to the opposite side of you and just go ahead and take your knife and start cutting very carefully along the top edge and any discolored meat or something make sure you get that together as well so start a cut like this so the top edge is now a little longer free there and so what I do is I get on top and you run the knife under and you just gently remove those bones your fingers are up to give you control the knife is under the blades and you can really provide amazing control that way and you go nice and slow nice car eful nice and easy and you can see the knife there it tells you how deep you are don't go too deep just keep moving the knife under those bones , some people prefer to cut this extra skin from this belly. this type of body cavity skin i don't mind it doesn't seem to taste strong or different to me but some people do you can cut it off if you want and there's the trimmed ribcage so the first step is to get rid of it those bones we have almost no bones so now that the ribcage is gone we now have bothersome and challenging lie bones they are called Y bones and it's an extra set of bones that the pike has that makes it a little bit unique and kinda frustrating for most people that's why i think a lot of people just let these things go and don't want to eat them now you can see them here on the tip of my knife you see these little white specks ok that's the end of the bone stuck over there top sticking out like this kind of straight line through there they run down and curve and come out at the top of the back they're curved they have a weird shape that makes them a little tricky the first cut that goes What we're going to do is along the lateral line so if you look down the middle of the steak there's a clear white line here it's unmistakable and what we're going to do is we're going to put our knife in there and really a lot of it is just using the tip so just stun the knife up and use the tip and just go ahead and run your knife down the lateral line until you hit a boat to the anal vent ok right there ok because this tail piece is boneless , there are no bones AND nor any bones here, which makes for a beautiful piece of meat. but go ahead and cut right down the lateral line now you want to cut down to the skin and you'll feel your own knife feed the skin and then you can take your fingers and open that section up to see if you're down to the skin we're here no so that's the first cut, the second cut, we're going to do now is we're going to go around these bones And, so think about it, since we've got a cut on one side now we're going to make a cut on the other side and go around these bones and what it does is to start at the thick end of the steak use the tip and go ahead and cut maybe a quarter inch like you don't get right up against them you don't know you might get caught on them stay a quarter inch away and you I know you're deep enough because you're going to hit them because I bought it to fill it up a bit, they turn and come out here so the point of your knife will go right through it and you and you might feel If you can feel your knife tick against them, if you keep your finger on the page this way where it's blunt and safe and you run the point through there as you cut you'll feel the knife tick along the bones and you know you've hit them if you push too hard and cut hard you're going to go right through them , which you don't want to do because you're going to end up with bones then all the way back to the point where we said the bones ended up right there now you have a second cut down to the bones this is the hardest part this piece of meat right here along length of the upper back is a nice boned piece.
I call it the back strap of the pike and what you want to do is let those bones know what we're getting at now that they're running this way okay so what you can do turn your knife around and just use the tip and just follow them past your knife along those bones we are following them over there and you will feel them with the tip your knife is about to feel at this point we can cut this piece right away or you can leave it attached and have a whole steak my family prefers a whole steak , okay that's why I do it this way so I'll leave it but you could cut this piece right now it's a nice piece of meat but I'm not going to do that second cut we almost got rid of these disgusting bones And back to the sideline. if you open it up and take a look here you can see a little bit of a white line across here that's where the bones are starting essentially you want to basically cut in half whether you can see the line or not to the half go down that piece of meat start from the front and start cutting now what you want to do is look to the front here you can see the bones here there there and you can feel them you want the tip of your knife to go through and make sure you're under them and you can clearly see you're under those little white ossicles right there and just run the knife through if you feel like you're cutting through the bones. go down a little bit more all about feel all about practice and you'll get really fast and good at it just keep going and that then peels off and values your bone strip And so with that removed now this steak is officially a steak boneless pike with just that little bit of me missing what we have to do now is essentially skin this meat off the skin peel it off the skin and I call it scraping it's scraping as much as cutting so here are a few key ones: the fillet has the thin narrow tail type. kind of pointing towards you with a thicker end at the end of the fillet facing away from you, start with the knife, hold it down with your fingers, start with the knife in front and start cutting across not the key here is you don't want your knife to be like that flat because you'll tend to miss me ok you don't want to be straight up and down and cut into the skin you want to be a little bit angled but a 45 and just move it's almost scraping you can feel that the skin feels leathery, it's hard, it's hard to cut through, so it's pretty forgiving and just keep scraping and as you go, have your fingers follow behind the blade. the skin because you're holding the skin down wants to t or slide because it's sticky against the table so keep cutting like this and keep rolling your fingers forward keep cutting and rolling roll the steak forward it was a little short up there keep scraping have a little angle on your knife so just keep rolling the Flay forward and it widens out at the end so you can start to widen your strokes a little go up a little bit go down a little keep rolling up a little bit to the bottom because it's wide here and what we're going to do in Manitoba has to leave a little bit of skin attached so conservation officers can identify the fish, we have to leave a little bit, basically a square inch enough for them to tell what species you have, so I leave a little bit of skin attached and right at the end I go ahead and cut off a decent little piece of skin so they can tell when that fish is in the bag when I'm transporting it. or home this is a pike and here we go have a perfectly boneless pike fillet one of the best fish to eat in Manitoba especially out of cold water in winter spring they are excellent so instead of throwing all these fish away all the time, try pike
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