How to Fillet & Process Silver and Bighead Asian Carp – Fast & Easy!

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Video asian carp fillet

As I’ve shared in past videos, unbeknownst to most Americans, the troublesome, invasive Asian carp is one of the most nutritious and delicious fish in the world. But along with the unique challenges of catching the silver and bighead Asian carp, the next big task is processing them. This is also perhaps the number one deterrent that keeps people from utilizing these fish more frequently. Now, if you don’t mind eating fish in a manner that requires picking out or around the bones after cooking it, such as eating whole rainbow trout or other fish with small delicate bones, then there’s no issue whatsoever, just cook the Asian carp any which way you want and eat and pick away. The bones can be removed quite easily after cooking. However, if you desire a boneless filet, as many Americans are accustomed to, then you’ll have a little more work to do.

The silver and bighead Asian carp have two rows of intricate Y bone structures which require a special technique to get a completely boneless fillet from them. There are lots of great videos out there on this on this topic, and I’ll be making one myself here in the future, so stay tuned for that. But the process that I’m going to be sharing here requires a meat grinder and is very simple. And if you’re a deer hunter who makes a variety of products from your own ground venison, then all this will be very familiar to you.

No matter what method you use for harvesting Asian carp, a vitally important part of processing and eating them, or any fish for that matter, is to bleed the fish out immediately after it’s caught. I did a past video on this if you’d like to learn more. Filleting an Asian carp is initially the same as most any other fish, and it’s very common to filleting cod. There are lots of different ways that you can do this, but this is the method that I find easiest. I make my first initial cut at the dorsal fin and cut right down the backbone to the tail area. Next, I cut around the head about halfway down the rib cage and then meet up with my first cut to finish off the filet. I then wash my fillets off, put them in a cooler, and when I get home, I soak the fillets in salt water for a few hours or overnight to draw out any remaining blood in the filet. After soaking in some saltwater, I remove the skin from the fillet as you can see here.

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process ac carp video.00 01 54 25.Still001 e1674849637832 How to Fillet & Process Silver and Bighead Asian Carp – Fast & Easy!

After skinning, I then trim away the dark meat on the other side which is the slow-twitch muscle fibers of the fish that are used for long-distance swimming. This dark meat tends to have a strong flavor, so it’s good to remove as much of it as you can. To easily do this, I fold the fillet in half and slice the dark meat right off. Again, for this method, you’ll be using a meat grinder, which is a super easy way of processing the Asian carp to turn it into fish patties, fish tacos, fish burgers, fish sticks, fish nuggets, fish cakes, and all kinds of other delicious recipes. To do this, simply run your whole skinned and trimmed fillets through a meat grinder with a small or fine grinding plate. I recommend running the fish through twice for optimal breakdown and blending of the bones, which also adds extra calcium to the finished product, making it even more nutritious. After grinding the filets thoroughly, simply season and shape the ground fish however you desire and start cooking. If you’d like to learn more about the Asian carp, check out the book Eat the Enemy, which is a complete guide to catching and cooking the Asian carp. Check out the video below to see more…

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Carp illustration images used under managed rights from © Joseph R. Tomelleri.

Asian carp video footage courtesy of Great Lakes Fishery Commission

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>