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7 steps to fillet a fish for beginners

7 steps to fillet a fish for beginners

From fresh out of the water to fresh on the grill.

The saying goes, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.


They don’t say anything, though, about teaching a man how to properly prepare a fish once he’s caught it.


At Meatme, all our fish are all caught in the wild and caught sustainably, so you can be confident in what you’re eating. However, you might not be as confident with your filleting skills -- at least, not yet.


Filleting a fish is a simple (albeit messy) process, so make sure to prepare a designated workspace where you can get your hands dirty. You’ll also want to use a long, sharp knife -- not a serrated knife -- because it will help you produce the best cuts.


These seven simple steps will help you prepare beautiful fillets every time. The only tricky part will be deciding whether to poach, grill, fry, steam, or bake them after!


  1. To remove the head, position your knife behind the gills and cut through the fish.
  2. Place your knife perpendicular to the spine and cut into the fish until you reach the backbone. Turn your knife parallel and cut towards the tail, stopping just about halfway along the fish.
  3. Cut cleanly through the entire fish, coming through the belly. Finish cutting towards the tail with one smooth movement.
  4. Return to your first cut and gently remove the rest of the fillet, moving your knife towards the belly. Use the middle of the knife and let the rib cage guide you to avoid sawing through any bones.
  5. Turn the fish over and repeat the process for the other side, slicing smoothly from head to tail. The second side may be more challenging to cut because you’ll have less to grasp onto.
  6. To tidy your newly-removed fillets, trim the tail and belly fat. The belly is tough, so consider using the sharpest part of your knife.
  7. Use pliers to de-bone the fillets.


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