doublegregg

shad season is almost here; how to bone them????

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i'd like to try shad fishing, but am very concerned about their infamous bones. i've heard the bones can somehow be dissolves, that they can't be dissolved, that boning one is an art lost in 1955 or something... i found the following instructions in "west coast seafood" by jay harlow. i think he started monterrey fish, a long standing specialty fish store in berkeley ca. i'm figuring a fish monger veteran would no how to do this... here they are from p 200 of his book:

 

fillet the fish if it hasn't already been done, leaving the skin on. lay one fillet skin side down on the board, and keep the remaining fillets in the refrigerator. using the bone diagram as your guide (there's a diagram of all the bones in the fillet, which i include) locate the various rows of bones by running a fingertip along the fillet toward the tail end. once you locate a row, make a shallow cut just to one side of the bones, feeling for bones with the tip of your knife as you go. when the bones spread out diagonally, let the knife slide over the bones, cutting at an angle and gently peeling the meat back as you go. when you get to the tips of the bones, stop cutting, leaving the eduge of the fillet attached to the skin. move to the other side of the row and do the same thing. this will expose a triangular strip of darker flesh and forked bones attached to the skin; slide the knife under one end of this strip to loosen it, then grasp and pull the bones away. continue hunting for strips of bones and repeat the process. you may think you're cutting away a lot of meat, but that's all right.

 

so is this a good way to bone a shad? and i think i will try to smoke them... disclosure: i've never shad fished and never smoked anything... except pot.

 

thank you fellow boning enthusiasts......................!

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That might well be the highest tee'd up thread title in the history of the site :eek:

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Posted (edited) · Report post

""FOOOUUUURRRR!"

 

I've been doing Shad Fillets for 47 years now & I recommend getting a good breaking knife. I've been using the Teflon coated Dexter Russell and I really like it. 

 

Learning to deal with the Shad's rib cage is the key. Here is a great video link on every little detail which I have to say is quite accurate: Shad require skilled deboning. I've seen people fillet them like normal fish and then try to go at them with pliers and I'm telling you it's a disaster when that happens. Follow the technique in this video and learn to use your breaking knife & your finger pressure.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by CaryGreene

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5 hours ago, CaryGreene said:

""FOOOUUUURRRR!"

 

I've been doing Shad Fillets for 47 years now & I recommend getting a good breaking knife. I've been using the Teflon coated Dexter Russell and I really like it. 

 

Learning to deal with the Shad's rib cage is the key. Here is a great video link on every little detail which I have to say is quite accurate: Shad require skilled deboning. I've seen people fillet them like normal fish and then try to go at them with pliers and I'm telling you it's a disaster when that happens. Follow the technique in this video and learn to use your breaking knife & your finger pressure.

 

 

 

 

 

thanks so much, cary... wow................... amazing...

 

so - i have a rapala 6" filet knife... i assume the breaking knife is needed to cut through all the bones, though they're kind of small.  is one of the dexter russell 8" carbon knives a good size and type? it's a little confusing - they make a few that seem almost identical... any one in particular you or anyone would recommend? when chef russo uses a small filet knife on the shad, would my rapala be fine?

 

i am not into teflon, myself. i prefer old fashioned carbon. i'm not a knife expert, but i don't like stainless, which i've found hard to sharpen, and not that wonderful at staying sharp. but i'm not an expert, as i said..... cool song.

 

Edited by doublegregg

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I've boned Shad before and I'm proud of it. 25 years ago folks would come from New York and Connecticut with their campers and spend a week of nighttime Shad fishing. I don't know where the people went but the fish are still here. It's not quite like it used to be but it's still a good run most years. The best part about it is standing in the river with a lantern hanging near by hearing but not seeing people yelling "fish on". I always wait until the Shadbush flowers b4 breaking out the darts from Billy at the old North River Bait&Tackle. If your going to eat them stick to the bucks BUT if you want a real treat, dust a pair of roe sacks in flour and gently fry in butter. I haven't seen shad roe for sale in 40 years. There are not many fisheries that let you have a nice dinner b4 hitting the water when it gets dark.

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1 min ago, planter said:

I've boned Shad before and I'm proud of it. 25 years ago folks would come from New York and Connecticut with their campers and spend a week of nighttime Shad fishing. I don't know where the people went but the fish are still here. It's not quite like it used to be but it's still a good run most years. The best part about it is standing in the river with a lantern hanging near by hearing but not seeing people yelling "fish on". I always wait until the Shadbush flowers b4 breaking out the darts from Billy at the old North River Bait&Tackle. If your going to eat them stick to the bucks BUT if you want a real treat, dust a pair of roe sacks in flour and gently fry in butter. I haven't seen shad roe for sale in 40 years. There are not many fisheries that let you have a nice dinner b4 hitting the water when it gets dark.

how do you cook the fellas? i've only had shad smoked, and i was probably about 10 years old. i'm 65 now. even as a kid, wow---- the smoked shad was terrific. that is literally all i no about shad! other than it's oily, and i assume like mackeral or sardine.... 

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The best way in my book is to tack them to a cedar plank and hot smoke them over Alder or you can just stand the planks up in front of a bed of hardwood coals. Forget what they say about eating the plank and throwing out the fish. It's just not true. 

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k........ apparently shad have quite the reputation? for delicious fish?? i'd imagined them to be like gigantic sardines ---- um, sardines are okay, but not what i'd consider yanking 300 bones out of to be able to eat them................. i want to smoke the shad, at some point, but probably will have to just use other recipes to start.

 

James Beard described baked shad as ‘pure eating joy,’  and that guy new his food.

Edited by doublegregg

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18 hours ago, doublegregg said:

thanks so much, cary... wow................... amazing...

 

so - i have a rapala 6" filet knife... i assume the breaking knife is needed to cut through all the bones, though they're kind of small.  is one of the dexter russell 8" carbon knives a good size and type? it's a little confusing - they make a few that seem almost identical... any one in particular you or anyone would recommend? when chef russo uses a small filet knife on the shad, would my rapala be fine?

 

i am not into teflon, myself. i prefer old fashioned carbon. i'm not a knife expert, but i don't like stainless, which i've found hard to sharpen, and not that wonderful at staying sharp. but i'm not an expert, as i said..... cool song.

 

Hi Double G,

 

That's what many of us are all about here on SOL. Someone puts up a genuine request for help and those who can help are supposed to try to do so. In this way we all get along & we form a brotherhood instead of just another internet board filled with toxic BS.

 

Breaking knives have more of a curve and they're of a slightly heavier blade. They're designed to cut the head off a fish and also perform the type of filet that a filet knife really doesn't excel at. When you want a curved blade, you go with a breaking knife. 

 

Breaking knives of course were never originally coated with Teflon. What's nice about Teflon anything, if you don't superheat it, is that the blades are non-stick on steroids.

 

Most fillet knives are carbon but there are tremendous variations I've written a number of posts on this subject somewhere on the site. I'll be doggone if I could identify the best threads.

 

Broad swords are actually hard to keep sharpened. They're made of a much softer steel which is great for hacking away and never splintering or breaking.

 

Kitchen knives on the other hand tend to be a much harder steel in general and I'd be hard pressed to find any of these days on the market that aren't of the carbon variety.

 

Knives are actually pretty easy to sharpen. You just need to know what angle you want to sharpen it and then you get yourself a nice edge sharpening system.

 

Once a month you go and sharpen your knives it takes about 10 minutes and you are good to go.

 

If you prefer a non-coated blade that's no problem. The guy in the video is using non-coated carbon steel. He's actually using a shorter breaking knife than what I use also.

 

He's using a 7-in model and it looks like he's got a wood handled version. I like the Dexter knives because of the Teflon coating but I also like them because they have a non-slip grip.

 

When I fillet finish I'm often entertaining and there's often more than one cadaver to butcher up. LOL. The non-stick knife makes it easy to rifle through the fillets and like the guy in the video said, once you do it a few times correctly it becomes easy to repeat. I imagine like when the other things. (evil grin)

 

I wasn't sold on any particular brand of knife until I tried them out and I have really found the Dexter Russells to be the workhorse knives. They're inexpensive and they're packed with features that actually keep everything hygienic and they're just really damn easy to use. 

 

Blade length for shad fillets should be probably 7 to 8 in 9 in maybe at the top end of the spectrum. I prefer the longest possible knife because I'll use that same breaking knife for 75% of my filets. 

 

One last thought, don't forget the Teflon coated knives are actually made of carbon steel. From reading your reply it looks like you prefer non-coated Carbon blades.

 

Remember if you don't super heat Teflon it's 100% harmless. That means you can cook with Teflon coated frying pans and do most work other than broiling. 

 

That said my recommendation is use what you like. We're only here once in this earth. No one's going to care if you fillet a Shad with whatever knife!

 

Main thing is to Not be scared of doing it and catch more than one in case you goof up. LOL. (After about 30 years of doing fillets, then the challenge is doing it with your eyes closed.)

 

Enjoy & know that you are doing something that 99.9% of all fishermen do not know how to do. The reward is a perfectly harvested Shad Roe. Just for the record, Shad fillets aren't going to blow anybody away. It's a lot of work for a so-so tasting slab of anadromous fish. 

 

Back in the day, the only reason to catch a Shad was to harvest the Roe. The fillets themselves were thought of as poor man's Salmon. 

 

At supper-clubs all over New England, the Roe was a "side" & very much in demand and restaurants backed off on ordering too many fillets from their local zones. Typically, the roe is poached in a cream broth & the fillet is broiled or grilled (cook it just like salmon and if you poach it in tin foil on the grill or under the broiler on low, with a little butter and a small amount of garlic It will taste just fine).

 

Personally I'm damn skippy square with a poor man's anything so I actually fancy the taste of a Shad fillet. I'm also not a moron. If I get a few Sockeye Salmon from the copper River, or even kings for that matter which you have a more white looking for a opposed to the bright pink of the Sockeyes, then obviously that's a dinner as good as any dinner on the planet Earth.

 

IMO, Shad comes in just fine in second place. In some bands, second fiddle is a pretty prestigious rank after all.

 

When something is good. It's good!

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by CaryGreene

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19 hours ago, planter said:

The best way in my book is to tack them to a cedar plank and hot smoke them over Alder or you can just stand the planks up in front of a bed of hardwood coals. Forget what they say about eating the plank and throwing out the fish. It's just not true. 

That’s a very old method

 

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

They’re here I caught 3 yesterday pretty quickly!

using a tandem jig setup. They’re protected on the river I fish for them looks like the striped bass are crashing again lots of Shad last year no bass fisherman where I fish  this year at all usually guys come and go looking for them .

C9BB52D1-4A96-4E05-BEC3-97DE37C3D278.png

Edited by mkus

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4 hours ago, CaryGreene said:

Hi Double G,

 

That's what many of us are all about here on SOL. Someone puts up a genuine request for help and those who can help are supposed to try to do so. In this way we all get along & we form a brotherhood instead of just another internet board filled with toxic BS.

 

Breaking knives have more of a curve and they're of a slightly heavier blade. They're designed to cut the head off a fish and also perform the type of filet that a filet knife really doesn't excel at. When you want a curved blade, you go with a breaking knife. 

 

Breaking knives of course were never originally coated with Teflon. What's nice about Teflon anything, if you don't superheat it, is that the blades are non-stick on steroids.

 

Most fillet knives are carbon but there are tremendous variations I've written a number of posts on this subject somewhere on the site. I'll be doggone if I could identify the best threads.

 

Broad swords are actually hard to keep sharpened. They're made of a much softer steel which is great for hacking away and never splintering or breaking.

 

Kitchen knives on the other hand tend to be a much harder steel in general and I'd be hard pressed to find any of these days on the market that aren't of the carbon variety.

 

Knives are actually pretty easy to sharpen. You just need to know what angle you want to sharpen it and then you get yourself a nice edge sharpening system.

 

Once a month you go and sharpen your knives it takes about 10 minutes and you are good to go.

 

If you prefer a non-coated blade that's no problem. The guy in the video is using non-coated carbon steel. He's actually using a shorter breaking knife than what I use also.

 

He's using a 7-in model and it looks like he's got a wood handled version. I like the Dexter knives because of the Teflon coating but I also like them because they have a non-slip grip.

 

When I fillet finish I'm often entertaining and there's often more than one cadaver to butcher up. LOL. The non-stick knife makes it easy to rifle through the fillets and like the guy in the video said, once you do it a few times correctly it becomes easy to repeat. I imagine like when the other things. (evil grin)

 

I wasn't sold on any particular brand of knife until I tried them out and I have really found the Dexter Russells to be the workhorse knives. They're inexpensive and they're packed with features that actually keep everything hygienic and they're just really damn easy to use. 

 

Blade length for shad fillets should be probably 7 to 8 in 9 in maybe at the top end of the spectrum. I prefer the longest possible knife because I'll use that same breaking knife for 75% of my filets. 

 

One last thought, don't forget the Teflon coated knives are actually made of carbon steel. From reading your reply it looks like you prefer non-coated Carbon blades.

 

Remember if you don't super heat Teflon it's 100% harmless. That means you can cook with Teflon coated frying pans and do most work other than broiling. 

 

That said my recommendation is use what you like. We're only here once in this earth. No one's going to care if you fillet a Shad with whatever knife!

 

Main thing is to Not be scared of doing it and catch more than one in case you goof up. LOL. (After about 30 years of doing fillets, then the challenge is doing it with your eyes closed.)

 

Enjoy & know that you are doing something that 99.9% of all fishermen do not know how to do. The reward is a perfectly harvested Shad Roe. Just for the record, Shad fillets aren't going to blow anybody away. It's a lot of work for a so-so tasting slab of anadromous fish. 

 

Back in the day, the only reason to catch a Shad was to harvest the Roe. The fillets themselves were thought of as poor man's Salmon. 

 

At supper-clubs all over New England, the Roe was a "side" & very much in demand and restaurants backed off on ordering too many fillets from their local zones. Typically, the roe is poached in a cream broth & the fillet is broiled or grilled (cook it just like salmon and if you poach it in tin foil on the grill or under the broiler on low, with a little butter and a small amount of garlic It will taste just fine).

 

Personally I'm damn skippy square with a poor man's anything so I actually fancy the taste of a Shad fillet. I'm also not a moron. If I get a few Sockeye Salmon from the copper River, or even kings for that matter which you have a more white looking for a opposed to the bright pink of the Sockeyes, then obviously that's a dinner as good as any dinner on the planet Earth.

 

IMO, Shad comes in just fine in second place. In some bands, second fiddle is a pretty prestigious rank after all.

 

When something is good. It's good!

 

 

 

 

hi cary

yes, i've gotten a lot of great --- and detailed -- information here, and as a guy new to fishing, it's definitely appreciated.  this has been a very welcoming forum. thanks a lot guys --- and i guess gals. i haven't seen many gals here...

 

i ordered a dexter russell breaking knife, 8", carbon steel, uncoated. it'll be interesting using a type of knife i've never used before! i'm afraid i don't really understand the rockwell hardness scale - other than, maybe, ok, this is harder than that... personally, i've only noticed that i seem to really dislike stainless. but, i don't have a lot of experience with knives - i only own a few. a few opinels, which i like, various camping type knives, kitchen knives of varying quality.... i sharpen them with water stones.

 

i'm hoping - once i catch some shad, lol - that i'll like the taste of them --- well, a LOT. i mean, all dem bones! but i know i really liked smoked shad - at least, from what i recall 50 odd years ago. the videos of captain russo will help a lot in boning them.  thanks again for posting them. and agreed, second is not bad (except in chess, lol), so i'll probably enjoy the taste of shad. when i buy canned tuna, the 'lower quality' types are fine with me. they seem actually tastier, and maybe oilier. 

 

now, all i have to do is catch a few shad to filet. looking forward to that, soon.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

From my personal experience of filleting shad, myself and my fishing partner at the time all we did was before they even like any other fish skin them put them in sinful out with all the seasons we like a few onions and carrots and potatoes close the tin foil up and bake them for eight to 9 hours at 175 to 200° f.

After that all the bones are gone there's nothing left but beautiful meat and great flavor.

 

We  put them in this aluminum foil (heavy gauge)on a pan or cookie sheet whatever you want to call it and in the morning put them in the oven set it at like 175 200 f and after we got home after work we can call me I went over there and we ate every single fillet that was in there and we did six of them.

An old salt that  I knew growing up, God rest his soul, told me to do that and he was right every bone was gone.

Mind you, I really love fried fish deep fried fish but what we did was damn good.

We also added a small pot of white grits too.

Also I forgot, before we actually ate the fish, we opened the tin foil and hit the broiler at 500 degrees for about 5 minutes, that but a nice golden Haze on top of everything.

HH

Edited by Heavy Hooksetter

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On 4/12/2021 at 6:12 PM, Sudsy said:

That might well be the highest tee'd up thread title in the history of the site :eek:

:eek: now what made your mind wander in that direction ...  :laugh:

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