Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600582


Split small dressed fish down the back so that they lie
flat. Cut large fish into two fillets, removing the
backbone. Always remove gills but not the collarbone just
behind the gills. The collarbone supports the weight of the
fish and is especially useful when the brined fish is to be
smoked. Without it, the fish will fall off the smokehouse
hangers. Pieces should be small enough to lie flat in the
crock. For good salt penetration, score the flesh of the
thickest pieces lengthwise, about 1/2 inch deep and 1 to 2
inches apart. Do not pierce the skin. Soak the fish 1/2
hour in brine (1/2 cup salt to 1 gallon cold water) to draw
off blood. Then drain the pieces while you prepare the

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