How to Clean and Cook a Fish

Fish is a delicious and healthy food, and is available in abundance all around. While you can always pick it up at the local grocery store, and have it prepared for you at a restaurant, there’s nothing quite like taking the first bite out of a fish you caught and cleaned by yourself. Eating fish while camping is an excellent way to experience outdoor living, and is a simple skill anyone can learn! Here’s how to clean and cook a fish while camping. 

How to Clean a Fish

Cleaning a fish is simple, but you should always prepare ahead of time by gathering the necessary items.

Bring the Necessary Tools

Most campgrounds have a designated area for cleaning fish. However, more rural areas may not. If this is the case, a picnic table or large cutting board works well as a cleaning surface. Aside from a cleaning surface, you’ll also need:

  • Scaling knife
  • Fillet knife
  • Bucket or container
  • Fresh water
  • Ziploc bags

Once you’ve gathered all of the necessary items, you can begin work on your fish!

Scale the Fish

Fish are covered in scales, and they aren’t for eating. To remove a fish’s scales, lay it on a flat surface and hold it in place by its head. Then, using your scaling knife, make short raking motions to scrape off the scales. Starting from the tail, work your way towards the head. Be sure to get both sides of the fish.

Skin the Fish

After you’ve removed the scales from your fish, you’ll need to remove its skin. While you can certainly cook it with the skin on, it’ll cook more evenly if you take it off. 

Using your sharpened fillet knife, remove the spine and other sharp parts. This will help protect you while handling the fish. To remove the skin, make an incision behind the head, along the belly fins. Then, holding the fish firmly by the head, use your other hand to pull away the skin. 

Gut the Fish

The final step is to gut the fish. Insert your knife into the fish’s anus, beneath its tail, and slowly slide your blade up and along the belly towards the head. Once you’ve made the incision, open the fish and remove its internal organs by grabbing and pulling. Some fish will have a darkened membrane inside that should always be removed as it will ruin the flavor of the fish. 

Remove the head, if you wish, and give your fish one final rinse in some fresh water before you’re ready to cook it!

How to Cook a Fish While Camping

Cooking a fish while camping can be done in several ways. Find a recipe you like, and prepare a dry seasoning packet to take with you. After seasoning your fish, you can decide how you want to cook it.

1. In a Pan

Cooking a fish in a pan is better at a drive-in campsite since you probably don’t want to carry a giant pan on a trekking trip. If you choose this option, simply let your pan heat up over your campfire and then proceed to cook it much the same way you would in your own kitchen. 

2. Over the Fire

Cooking a fish over a fire is perhaps the most old-school and delicious way to cook and eat a fish. Simply insert a skewer through the length of your fish, season it with your choice of herbs, and hold it over the fire, slowly cooking both sides. 

3. Foil Packets

Foil packets are a great way to cook your fish as it doesn’t require you to constantly monitor the process, freeing you up to talk with friends and play games. Take a large piece of tin foil, place your fish on it, then cover your fish with herbs, spices, butter, and lemon juice. Fold the sides of the foil over, enclosing the fish inside, and place next to the fire.

Over time, the fish will cook in the butter as well as its own juices. This particle method enhances the flavor as the fish marinates while it cooks. 

Once your fish is done, simply sit back and enjoy!

Experience Outdoor Living!

At Omni Outdoor Living, we make it our mission to help our customers make the most out of their outdoor experiences. We offer quality outdoor products focused on outdoor recreation, DIY projects, entertaining friends and family, or just relaxing outside! If you have any questions about your outdoor experience or our wide range of outdoor products, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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