Filleting fish is not an easy task. However, this activity could be faster and easier if you use a good fillet knife. Cutting salmon, for example, is a demanding task; so, you need to get the best fillet knife for salmon.
In this article, I will be talking about the features, and things to take into account when choosing a reliable fillet knife for salmon. This is a luxurious fish, but very delicious to make it part of your kitchen.
Take into consideration that a good fillet knife has to help to separate the highest amount of meat from the bone, and make great skinning.
Buyer’s Guide: Things to consider before buying the best Fillet Knife for Salmon
The first thing to look at when choosing the best fillet knife for salmon is its material. A high-quality fillet knife has to have a blade from stainless steel. This material makes the knife resistant to corrosion since it is frequently wet. Steel material could be included with carbon. Carbon steel helps for precision in cutting and maintains the sharpest fillet knife.
A carbon steel knife has a better edge, although it needs to be oiled and cleaned more carefully. On the other hand, a stainless-steel knife without carbon is more flexible.
The blade of your fillet knife has to be hard, but flexible. Stainless steel is a hard material that provides such flexibility you need to get closer to the bones and cut around the ribs.
Salmon tends to be big, so it is better to use a big knife. The smallest blades on a fillet knife have 4 inches and the longest ones have up to 9 inches. I consider 8 inches is just perfect.
Also, take into consideration the shape of the blade. A very curved-tip blade makes it harder to get a clean fillet. Choose a knife with a steady slight curve on the tip for longer cuts, and for maintaining the shape when there is a pressure on the knife.
Grip / Handle
First, the handle of your fillet knife must provide comfort in your hands; this way it is safer and easier to usage. You need to have a secure grip so that your hands don’t slip when the handle is wet.
Moreover, the handle of your salmon filleting knife needs to combine a good design with a resistant material. Please, don’t choose a handle with finger molds; you could have a bad grip when filleting your salmon.
The materials you will mostly find are wood, plastic, and rubber. However, wood and plastic could make your hands slip, and the handle can take the fish smell as time goes by. That is the reason I strongly recommend buying a rubber-handle fillet knife; rubber provides a non-slip grip, and an easier clean-up.
As I said previously, the length of fillet knife blades commonly varies from 4 to 9 inches; that’s the detail you have to look at. The extra length for the handle is 4 inches, so a perfect knife for filleting salmon should have a size of 11 or 12 inches.
Don’t forget that salmon is a big fish and you will need a big fillet knife but not so big. A long 8-inch knife blade is the one I recommend for good work with less effort.
In brief, the best fillet knife for salmon must have a stainless-steel material, a flexible blade with around 8 inches, and a handle made from rubber with no finger molds.
Style of Fillet Knives: German vs. Japanese
I will introduce you to the two most common styles of fillet knives.
On one hand, the Japanese style has a thinner blade which makes it lighter. Besides, it is only sharpened on one side of the blade. A knife of this kind is best suited to make cleaner chopping and slices. Plus, something good is that it has harder steel than the German style.
On the other hand, the German or Scandinavian style can be sharpened on both sides of the blade, and it is typically thicker which makes it heavier. Furthermore, it has a larger angle on the blade but it has a softer steel material.
The one you choose depends totally on your needs. For instance, if you will do filleting outside with rougher conditions, the best option is the German style. Although for a more precise work, the option you should choose is the Japanese style; this way you can pay attention to all the details.
Take also into account that for filleting a lot of salmon, the best option is the German style because of its thicker blade for a faster work. But, when filleting a few salmons at home in your kitchen, use the Japanese style in your knife. This way you will get cleaner chopping.
Now you already know the differences between these two styles of fillet knives. Thus, choose the best fillet knife for salmon depending on your needs. You probably could get a Japanese style knife, and a German style one; that way, you use one for your kitchen, and the other one for outdoor work.
How to Clean Salmon Fillet
The first tip to clean a salmon fillet is to see how full of scales your salmon is. You will know it is really cleaned from scales when your salmon takes a shiny aspect.
Moreover, the salmon fillet has to be cleaned in the right way, since if you get the opposite way, you won’t have a good scaling.
For getting the best cleaning, you need good tools for that job. I recommend buying a fresh salmon, and using two knives; one to scale and the other one to fillet. Also use a scale brush for nicer work.
Other material I recommend is a pair of resistant gloves to avoid injuring yourself and keep your hands clean. Add to this, a knife sharpener to keep your knife sharp and not to waste meat. Also use a disposal bucket to keep your kitchen clean, and tweezers for the smallest bones.
Follow these steps:
- First, remove the anal fins near the rear of the fish’s body. Make a small cut with your knife to take the fins out and dispose them into the disposal bucket. Then, scale your salmon the way I said above. The right way to scale it is from the tail towards the head by running your fillet knife down the skin as you were brushing it.
- Remove the guts of the salmon by opening up the fish from the anal hole to the mouth. Next, cut the head off, and prepare yourself to start filleting.
- Put the fish back horizontally, and place the fillet knife on the bottom. Then, look for the spines, and run your knife along the backbone cutting through the ribs. Do the same step on both sides. You need to have the fillets cut to remove the ribs slowly. The pin bones remaining could be removed with the tweezers.
- Don’t forget to get rid of the fish remains. You also could skin the salmon, but that is up to you; it depends on your preferences. If you skin your salmon, you will make it dry and less greasy. Sprinkle some salt over the skin to separate it from the flesh by peeling it slowly with your knife.
Top 5 Best Fillet Knives for Salmon
1. Dalstrong fillet knife
This is a high carbon German steel knife. It has a flexible plain blade, and a stamina wood handle. The Dalstrong fillet knife comes with a cover for drawers, and a cover for outdoors. Besides, this luxury knife has a money back guarantee, and it is used for many professional chefs. The handle of this knife is triple-riveted.
- Free protective sheath.
- Full tang knife.
- Feels well-balanced.
- Covers for indoor and outdoor use.
- It sharpens easily, and keeps the edge.
- Some clients said this knife doesn’t flex back
2. Rapala4 soft grip fillet
This is a no-slip stainless steel fillet knife with a well-equipped flexible blade. This soft-grip appliance includes a black sheath which fits perfectly on belts, and a single stage sharpener. Filleting is comfortable using this Rapala knife; it is one of the best knives on the market.
- It cuts fish like butter
- Steel blade flexible and efficient
- Free protective sheath for maintaining quality
- Easy to grip
- Simple to sharpen
- Some clients said this knife is loose in the handle
3. Kershaw Clearwater Fillet Knife 1259X
This is a fillet knife with a high-performance stainless-steel blade. The Kershaw fillet knife is resistant to rust and corrosion, and includes a sheath for safe storage. Besides, it works as a perfect slicer for salmon.
The handle is made from a soft copolymer rubber to ensure comfort while using; it doesn’t slip even when our hands are wet and slimy. Also, you can bend the soft blade without breaking it. This knife is ideal for filleting large and salt-water fishes.
- Hard sheath which holds the knife securely
- Good non-slip grip
- Corrosion resistant
- Easy to bend
- Good looking knife
- Dull from the factory. It needs to be sharpened to get a good working edge
4. Mercer Culinary Millennia Narrow Fillet Knife
This is a high carbon Japanese stainless steel knife. It has easy blade maintenance and a razor-sharp edge. Furthermore, it provides grip comfort due to an ergonomic handle.
This fillet knife has a flexible thin blade which helps to make cleaner chopping and slices. It is a good knife for precision knowing that filleting salmon could be hard work.
- Flexible thin blade
- Hard steel
- Ergonomic handle
- Quick for maintenance
- Good for precision
- No sheath included with the product
5. Bubba Flex Fillet Knife
This knife is easy to use since it has a non-slip grip handle for a better control. It is ideal for precision cutting because of its thin blade which helps to remove meat without loss.
It is a full tang fillet knife with high carbon stainless steel. You can get balanced when using it because the blade holds a great edge. It is also rusting resistant. This is a doubtless one of the best fillet knives for salmon.
- Cool and modern knife
- Strong grip
- Full tang knife
- Excellent sharp
- Case included
- Larger than expected
And the winner is…
I will give a final verdict based on these reviews for you to choose the best fillet knife for salmon. All the knives I mentioned are recommended for filleting salmon.
Kershaw Clearwater 9-In Fillet Knife (1259X) Fixed 420J2 High-Performance Stainless Steel Blade with Satin Finish, Black Textured Co-Polymer Handle with Neon-Green Detail and Included Sheath; 3.8 OZ is a high-performance knife with a good size. It is corrosion resistant, and it has a rubber handle which I recommend. On the other hand, the Bubba 9 Inch Flex Fillet Knife with Non-Slip Grip Handle, Full Tang Stainless Steel Titanium Bonded Blade, Lanyard Hole and Synthetic Sheath for Fishing is ideal for precision when cutting your salmon, and it has an excellent sharp to ensure good work. You could certainly consider any of these two knives as your best fillet knife for salmon.
If you frequently fillet a lot of salmon, don’t hesitate to choose the DALSTRONG Fillet Knife - 7" Flexible Blade - Gladiator Series - German HC Steel - G10 Handle - w/ Two Sheaths; it is a flexible luxury knife that easily keeps its edge. Although for filleting salmon at home, I recommend choosing at first place the Rapala4 Soft Grip Fillet / Single Stage Sharpener / Sheath. This is one of the best knives on the market, it is flexible and non-slip. This is for me the best fillet knife for salmon when working at home. As a second option, I recommend choosing the Mercer Culinary Millennia Narrow Fillet Knife, 8.5-Inch, Black because of its good ratings on Amazon. It has high carbon stainless steel, it is easy to sharp, and you will get clean chopping.