Crappie can be found in nearly all freshwater bodies in North America. Crappies can be difficult to catch because they fight hard before being released into your boat. A fresh catch is always the best!
How to clean crappies? Cleaning crappies may seem complicated. A sharp knife and an understanding of the anatomy of the fish are all you need to clean crappies. We have created the following guide to help you acquire this knowledge.
How To Clean Crappie
Now it’s time to clean the fresh catch. These are the steps to fillet crappies. A fillet knife is the best choice. You can use other kitchen knives to do the job, or you might consider our separate review on the best fillet knives.
- Place the crappie flat on the cutting surface.
Place the fish horizontally, with its tail facing your dominant hand. This will make it easier to move more fluidly. As you make your first cut, hold the crappie close to your head.
- Take a vertical cut just below the gills.
The tip of the knife should be placed between the back of your gill plate (or the pectoral fin). The gills should be cut at an angle towards the head. Keep cutting until you reach your backbone. You can fillet fish by carving along the backbone.
- Your knife should be turned horizontally during the cutting.
After the blade has made contact with the spine, twist the knife until it reaches the tail. You won’t need to make any more clumsy cuts if you do it correctly.
You will need to make the first cut to open the fish. To keep the blade as close as possible to the skin, angle the blade downward.
- The blade should be run along the tail to the backbone.
Keep your head steady and drag the knife down the length of the crappie. Instead of trying to cut through the skin with the knife, push the blade forward and the meat will fall free. When you reach the tail, stop.
- Separate the meat and skin.
The fillet should be removed so it is flat against the cutting surface. Next, start at the tail and slide the knife’s edge between the meat and skin. Make a clean pass along the entire length of the fillet. The fillet should be lifted in one piece.
To avoid cutting into the meat, tilt the blade slightly downward. The skin can be left on after cooking the crappie. The crappie fries up crispy and is very flavorful.
- Remove the ribcage.
The rib cage is still attached to the head of the fillet. The curved tip of a knife can be used to trace the edges of your ribcage. Be careful not to waste any meat. The deboned fillet should be shaped like a “V”.
After removing the first fillet, look closely at the ribcage. If it is covered by meat or tissues, it may not be obvious immediately. Do not be alarmed if you find rib bones. You can remove them with a knife, a pair of tweezers, or the tines on a fork.
- Repeat the process on the other side.
Flip the fish and repeat the process, beginning with a vertical cut just behind the gills. You should have two fillets leftover that you can cook or store for later.
- Dispose of the unused parts
To dispose of bones, skin, and entrails while you are working, keep a trash can nearby. The smell of decomposing fish can be unpleasant so make sure to keep the unutilized parts in a separate bag you can tie off and close before throwing them out.
Where Can You Find Crappie?
You must first identify the species of crappie that you are searching for when looking for Crappie. You can find crappie in many waters around North America and all over the world.
The best way to find crappie is in larger ponds or those with more sand and/or mud at the bottom. The diversity of the ecosystem means that lakes hold large numbers of crappie. There is ample forage and cover so that crappie can grow to sizeable portions.
How To Cook Crappies
It’s time to enjoy the delicious crappie dishes after all that time spent catching and cleaning them. You can enjoy your catch right out of the water. You can find many recipes online. You can also make a crappie dinner in many different ways, such as:
Make your preferred marinade, and let your crappie fillet soak for a while to allow the flavors to penetrate. Place your marinated fillets on the grill. To ensure even cooking, turn the fillets over so that it doesn’t burn.
Pan-frying the crappies is a good option. However, it’s best to ensure that they are still moist. Mix seasonings, flour and salt in a bowl. Add your crappie fillets to the bowl.
Give the container a shake to coat the fillets. The coated fillet should be fried in oil until it turns golden brown. Crappie patties can also be made by mixing the fillet with onions, garlic and eggs. For eight minutes, fry the patties in nonstick frying pans.
You can also bake the crappie in an oven. Preheat the oven while you prepare the crappie. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the crappie. To prevent the fish from sticking to the pan, you can add oil. Bake the fish at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
You can freeze, refrigerate, or store the crappie in any container. Make sure the temperature is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep your raw crappies stored in a refrigerator or freezer for at least ten days after you catch them.
We hope you enjoy learning how to clean crappies and fillet them, as well as tips and tricks on how to catch and cook this delicious fish that is abundant in the USA.