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bbeavers

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Reply with quote  #1 
Thought I'd share a couple of methods I use for taking care of the meat after the catch.

1.  Bleed the fish as soon as you catch it.  Hit it on the head with a club to knock it out, then with a pair of needle nose pliers, rip a few gills out of both sides from the inside.  It will start bleeding like crazy.  Turn the fish upside down in a 5 gallon bucket of water for 20-30 minutes and let it bleed out before putting on ice.  The water keeps the blood from coagulating and keeps it flowing.  It really does improve the taste of the meat.

2.  If you use the "rip it out" method of removing the blood line, simply dip the filet in some water immediately before pulling it out.  It just takes a quick dip, but it removes the slime and gives you an easy grip so you don't slip and pull some good meat off along with it.  I usually filet all of the fish(10 per trip lately), pile up the filets, then remove the blood lines, to keep from getting the filet knife all gooey.  I'll also use a two stage rinse afterwards - two sinks.  Drop them all in the first one, and the water turns ugly-colored pretty quick.  After a couple of minutes, transfer them to the second sink, and the water stays clear.

3.  When you get them home afterwards, rinse them with clean water, then place them in a large plastic container with a lid.  Line the bottom with paper towels, and lay the filets in a single layer on top.  Add a layer of paper towels on top and add another layer of filets until you have them all taken care of.  Cover and place in the fridge for 24-36 hours.  This takes a lot of the moisture out of the meat and makes vacuum sealing easy, with no water to suck up into your vacuum channel.

4.  Cook them however you like - I prefer a little olive oil in a skillet with a healthy dose of cajun seasoning and black pepper.
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slim jim

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Reply with quote  #2 
Great tips. I appreciate the part about drawing out some moisture. When I have kept striper filets beyond overnight, the texture deteriorated noticeably, seeming soggy. Your method is better.

I have been bleeding them in my livewell lately. When I plan to immediately cook my fresh stripers (usually), I do skin-on filets grilled on the propAne cooker. The red meat stays with the skin, and less meat is wasted. This works best with box fish. I think the thick filets from overs needs to be cut thinner to cook evenly, but that is not often a problem.
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bbeavers

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Reply with quote  #3 
I'll have to try scaling and skin on grilling.  That's how I always do red snapper, but have been scared of leaving the red line in striper.

You say the red line stays with the skin?  It doesn't flake out with the white meat?
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JoeSlab

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Reply with quote  #4 
Some of it stays on the skin. The rest I just flake it off with a fork. Striper on the half shell is my favorite way to eat it. I know some people soak their fillets in a bowl of water in the refrigerator overnight. Makes them soggy and tasteless to me. I just rinse them, pat dry with paper towels then vac seal and freeze immediately.
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slim jim

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Reply with quote  #5 
Agree on not soaking filets overnight. Mushy.

When I grill skin-on filets, I just eat around the red meat and leave it on the skin. The red meat turns gray, and it naturally separates (mostly) from the white. You know where to expect it, so it is easy to pick around. When I get a little clingy red meat, I don't notice any taste.

I don't bother scaling, so I sometimes get the odor of charred fish scales, but I only cook outdoors on the grill. Thin filets cook faster before the scales burn.

This may not be a dish fit for the queen, but it is a very efficient path from livewell to mouth.
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JimW

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Reply with quote  #6 
my favorite way. Scaling is not necessary. I prefer mine grilled over charcoal, add wood chips for extra smoke flavor. Try scoring the meat about 2 inches apart and drizzling melted butter or Italian salad dressing, Sprinkle with lemon pepper. Skin side down until done. Yum!
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tunamanb52

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Reply with quote  #7 
I leave the dark meat and give it to my dogs when cooked. The best way to freeze is with a couple of spoonfuls of water in a ziplock, the water makes a airtight seal around the fish. I also don't wash the fillets unless necessary. If you like mild flavored fish you can soak it in a strong powdered milk solution, it also makes the breading stick better. Peanut oil or crisco takes the heat the best. ol'Bay is easy. Mayo and paprika  under the broiler is great, fish chunks and frozen peas in canned clam chowder is a fast meal.
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fish4bass

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Reply with quote  #8 
I agree.... I trim out every spec of read meat.. Ziplock with a little water...... to the deep freeze. I got a vac sealer for Xmas once. Like beavers said... any moisture in the bag.. it won't seal. Out. Took it back. 
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retired_atc

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Reply with quote  #9 
I cut out all the red and rinse, pat down with a paper towel and seal-a-meal them. The trick with seal-a-meal is a paper towel. I place a paper towel in the bag with the filets. Put it across the top and when it vaccums the bag it will pull the moisture into the paper towel. You get a good seal that way. We thaw the filets out and soak them in buttermilk the day before. Shake them in Young's fish breading (from Sam's) and deep fat fry them. Absotivly, posilutely delicious!

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tunamanb52

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Reply with quote  #10 
That's a good system, but it's a workout. I' too lazy to get my vacuum out, or even cook. Try a can of sardines in olive oil on a bowel or rice, with pepper flakes, seaweed and soy.
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