How to Make Initial Cuts to Fillet Catfish

Learn how to make your initial cuts to fillet catfish in the second video of a 4-part Howcast series with Chef Brendan McDermott.


So what we're going to do today is we're actually going to fillet catfish.

There's a couple of different ways to do this. Some people like to get into skinning, which mean that you would cut a line right around the head, then use pliers to kind of just pull the skin down, almost like a sock, and you take the whole thing off as a tube. It's a little bit of a time consuming process, and kind of a cool technique.

What we're going to do is break this down so it's a little bit easier, so for those of you who have never really done this before, or haven't dealt with fish, this is a little nicer, a little bit more feasible, and less aggressive.

So what we're going to do is take our boning knife, our fillet knife. Something that's small, light, thin, and flexible. We're going to take it and draw a line right around the back of its head. There's meat coming down this whole entire part of the fish, and we just want to be able to kind of release some of that meat. We don't want to waste a lot.

Now, they have a bit of a ribcage, which is right about here, and then down into the gut here. And you can actually see that When I run my finger along, you can kind of see the bones moving. They have a ribcage that's a little bit like ours. Kind of an odd little thing. But what we're going to do is come up right around there, and up into the head.

So, I'm going to take my knife, and follow the ribcage first. Let's start with the ribcage, right about there. So, I'm just going to take my knife, and come around. If you need to hold it, you can always hold it by its eyes, to help kind of get a little bit of leverage.

They have a tough skin. They have a nice little firm skin on them, so it might take a little bit to get into, but doable.

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