Baked King Mackerel (and how to treat your catch as FOOD)

FinestKindFinestKind Posts: 170 Deckhand
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I know a lot of you guys don't enjoy Kings, but it could be because they weren't PREPPED RIGHT.
If you are gonna keep the fish, you need to treat em like FOOD from the minute they come off the hook.

If you throw em still alive into a fish box, and allow them to thrash about and suffocate in the air your end product will be oily, bloody and smelly with soft flabby flesh that falls apart. Maybe good enough for smoking but that's about it.

But if you TRY the following "IKE JIMI" procedure you might agree that Kings ARE delicious.

Right after that pic was taken, I stuck a spike in his brain, cut his gills, sliced into his tail bone, stuck a wire up along his spine, bled him out for 15 mins then put him in an ice/saltwater slurry.

Back at the dock, filleted, skinned and removed lateral line. Cut into serving sized chunks. No fresh water touched the meat (that will ruin it). Big fish yielded so much I gave away 18 servings and kept 2 for me an wifey.

Back home, I blotted moisture off the fillets and wrapped in clean paper towels. Wrapped paper towel packages in foil and aged the fish in the fridge 24 hours so it would develop umami.

Next day in the kitchen, removed paper towels, placed in dish and seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, oregano and olive oil. Allowed fish to marinate in that mix for a half hour while the oven preheated to 425.
Placed fish in baking pan, coated with thin layer of bread crumbs and popped in oven.
Baked for 8 mins, then squeezed juice of half lemon and a drizzle of EVOO over fish. Turned oven up to broil and put fish back in for a minute until bread crumbs browned a bit.

That's it! Served with tomato salad, French fries some crispy bread and Chianti.....GOOD EATS!

Len
Finest Kind
Len
Finest Kind

Replies

  • will's dadwill's dad Posts: 102 Deckhand
    Looks good, thanks for sharing!
  • jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,268 Moderator
    I'm with you, I enjoy every kingfish that I bring home (and no, I do not smoke them).
    Mackerel too, but I can understand why some people draw the line there...
    Hobie Kayak angler for life!
  • trousertroutmantrousertroutman Posts: 1,332 Officer
    Looks great Len, just a curiousity question. I understood when fish is emmersed into salty ice slush while it is stil alive the blood will leave the meat and go to its vital organs as a survival reaction, and that way the fillets are clean. I was wondering if that is more effective than bleeding as is sure to get the blood out of the meat where if bled, there may still be some left in the meat near the wounds as result of the flow, or areas that the blood could not be pumped out of the body due to distance form the wound once the heart stops? Any help would be great,
    Make the forum great again.....consolidate general fishing with for sale or business but keep reports separate!
  • FinestKindFinestKind Posts: 170 Deckhand
    Looks great Len, just a curiousity question. I understood when fish is emmersed into salty ice slush while it is stil alive the blood will leave the meat and go to its vital organs as a survival reaction, and that way the fillets are clean. I was wondering if that is more effective than bleeding as is sure to get the blood out of the meat where if bled, there may still be some left in the meat near the wounds as result of the flow, or areas that the blood could not be pumped out of the body due to distance form the wound once the heart stops? Any help would be great,

    I believe it is essential to bleed the fish and don't think the quality of the flesh will be anywhere near as good if it is not bled.
    My "fish for the table" prep steps are based on the traditional Japanese "Iki Jimi" procedure. Iki Jimi has been practiced in Japan for over 400 years. Recent university studies support those Iki Jimi traditional methods based on scientific fact.

    Basic steps:
    1) Need to kill the fish quickly, don't allow it to suffocate in the air or die slowly in a slurry. When it dies a panicked, slow death enzymes and lactic acid are produced which enter and ruin the flesh.

    2) Get the blood out. Blood harbors bacteria.

    3) destroy the spinal column and nervous system. Rigor mortis will be delayed.

    4) ice it down. Gut and/or fillet back at the dock. DO NOT let fresh water touch the flesh once the fish is cut open. Bring back a bucket of sea water to rinse off your fillets. DRY the fillets and wrap in clean paper towels before you store them in the fridge.

    5) AGE the fish for a day or more so that it's flavors and texture develops.

    Fascinating articles by a Japanese angler about these steps here:
    http://www.anglers-secrets.com/how-to-keep-fish-fresh/
    and
    http://www.anglers-secrets.com/what-closing-does-to-the-fish/
    Len
    Finest Kind
  • trousertroutmantrousertroutman Posts: 1,332 Officer
    thansk for the reply. i have heard the minerals in fresh water cause the flesh to get mushy, but never actually brought home salt water to rinse very cool idea. last question, do the paper towels not stick to the fillets? i have had problems just when padding them dry that the wet paper sticks to the fish. thanks again, TGIF!
    Make the forum great again.....consolidate general fishing with for sale or business but keep reports separate!
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,548 Moderator
    Interesting. Commercials chill kill the catch then gut and stack belly down in ice after rinsing in saltwater.
    Guess it keeps freshwater out of the cavity that way ?
    "You'll get your weather"
  • FinestKindFinestKind Posts: 170 Deckhand
    The ice commercial fishermen use is usually produced on board from salt water and/or the ice is mixed with seawater to form a slurry.
    Len
    Finest Kind
  • FinestKindFinestKind Posts: 170 Deckhand
    thansk for the reply. i have heard the minerals in fresh water cause the flesh to get mushy, but never actually brought home salt water to rinse very cool idea. last question, do the paper towels not stick to the fillets? i have had problems just when padding them dry that the wet paper sticks to the fish. thanks again, TGIF!

    If you rinse the fillets in salt water then pat them DRY with paper towels then wrap them in clean paper towels before wrapping in foil, the paper won't stick. You do need to change the paper every day if you plan to age the fish for several days however.
    Len
    Finest Kind
  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 3,900 Captain
    Great post. Looks very good.

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • trousertroutmantrousertroutman Posts: 1,332 Officer
    Awesome I am looking forward to trying this out, the salt water rinse bucket is a great idea, as I also noticed the the minerals in tap water makes the meat mushy but never thought about that. very cool!
    Make the forum great again.....consolidate general fishing with for sale or business but keep reports separate!
  • trousertroutmantrousertroutman Posts: 1,332 Officer
    I tried to follow this advise and I patted the moisture off some redfish fillets and wrapped in parchment paper and put in the fridge over night. The next day the edges of the fillets were almost as hard as plastic, I cooked them and the hard edges fell off and were discarded. Is it possible I got them too dry?
    Make the forum great again.....consolidate general fishing with for sale or business but keep reports separate!
  • Slo Poke1Slo Poke1 Posts: 315 Deckhand
    I'm new to Kingfish, but caught some during the last run. They were bled, then placed in an saltwater ice bath. I smoked some and turned out great. For cooking, I simply patted them dry and pan-fried them in olive oil with salt, pepper, and a little lemon juice. Turned out great.
  • holymackerelholymackerel Posts: 232 Officer
    for sure,bleed out and ice quickly.I steak mine remove any trace of blood,medallions,marinade,grill.
  • FinestKindFinestKind Posts: 170 Deckhand
    I tried to follow this advise and I patted the moisture off some redfish fillets and wrapped in parchment paper and put in the fridge over night. The next day the edges of the fillets were almost as hard as plastic, I cooked them and the hard edges fell off and were discarded. Is it possible I got them too dry?

    Yeah, I think the maybe edges got "fridge-burned" because the parchment paper didn't seal it well.

    Next time wrap the fillets in regular paper towels to absorb the moisture, then wrap those paper towel packages in plastic wrap before putting them back in the fridge.
    Open the packages and change-out the wet paper towels and re-wrap every day. You can store and age most fish to develop maximum Umami for several days this way.
    Len
    Finest Kind
  • trousertroutmantrousertroutman Posts: 1,332 Officer
    thanks Len; the paper towels dont stick to the fillets when you try to remove?
    Make the forum great again.....consolidate general fishing with for sale or business but keep reports separate!
  • FinestKindFinestKind Posts: 170 Deckhand
    thanks Len; the paper towels dont stick to the fillets when you try to remove?

    If you rinse off the fillets in clean sea-water, then pat them dry with paper towels before wrapping in a clean paper towel sheet, then wrap those paper towel packets in plastic wrap or foil before storing in the fridge, there will be nothing sticky on the surface of the meat.

    The paper will get damp however from moisture leaching out of the flesh, which is why you want to unwrap the packages and change the paper wrapping every day (it will peel right off) if you are going to store fresh fillets for several days.
    Len
    Finest Kind
  • trousertroutmantrousertroutman Posts: 1,332 Officer
    ok great, and with the wire thing....looks very strange....do you feel it really improves the quality of the meat, it is supposed to kill the nerves and make the flesh more relaxed apposed to rigor mortis?
    Make the forum great again.....consolidate general fishing with for sale or business but keep reports separate!
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 629 Officer
    We used to catch a lot of Kingfish before the regs set in, and occasionally one would get it's tail removed by a Cuda. That's the one we would take home. The flesh would be snow white. We used a brine slurry (still do) and all of our fish would be pristine. I fish mainly for reef fish now, and when filleting them place the fillets in a brine slurry (mostly brine - seawater). They come out chilled and looking like what a picture of a perfectly preserved fillet should be. Been doing this for 40 years and people we feed can't believe how good the fish taste. Worth trying.
  • fish_stixfish_stix Posts: 1,263 Officer
    I was raised in a commercial fishing family and I'll tell right now the first thing you want to do as soon as possible is bleed and gut them. Then submerge them in a salt slush; pour a bucket of saltwater in the box along with the ice or pour in a box of Kosher salt on the ice. Before filleting them scrape all the slime and small scales off with your knife held perpendicular to the skin. The slime is not conducive to good taste in any fish! Then fillet and remove the dark red lateral line; this is crucial! The red meat is strong and nasty tasting; get it all out so you're left with only white meat. At that point I just smoke them; there are myriads of better tasting fish in the ocean. BTW, if you decide to freeze some then use it within 2-3 weeks or plan on using it for cut bait; oily fish like kings and mackeral don't freeze well
  • Australian anglerAustralian angler Posts: 1 Greenhorn
    Nothing wrong with the old mackerel, we catch a fair few down here is Australia, great sport and great eating.
  • TerribleTedTerribleTed Posts: 111 Deckhand
    To me there great. I generally only steak then about 2 inches thick. Roll them in olive oil drenched in it and lemon herb and Cajun seasoning and grill till they start to almost crumble. can also debone that steak and place hot on salad really good. otherwise garlic bread and coleslaw.
  • jaymjaym Posts: 104 Deckhand
    FinestKind,

    What a great read. Do you cut between the 3rd and 4th gill or do you cut the throat?
  • grey2112grey2112 Posts: 139 Deckhand
    I have been getting into the habit of bleeding/gilling/gutting my fish now as soon as they come up.  Most of the time, especially the larger fish, are already dead since I spearfish mostly and I like to put a knife in their brain/spine while underwater.  I have noticed a definite change in the flavor.  Looking forward to trying this with AJ and Cobia, as I found them stronger than what I care for.
  • TerribleTedTerribleTed Posts: 111 Deckhand
    edited November 8 #25

    I love king fish.

    Dont remove the skin . Steak 1.5 to 2 inch thick soak in olive oil. Season with lemon herb and cajun. place on grill and slow- medium cook. When you flipp roll in oil again. Meat willo be firm white and flake apart.  king must be fresh.

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