Arctic graylings are an eye-catching and beautiful fish that make for quite a great catch.
Before your grayling is in the oven, on the skillet, or over the fire, it is essential to make sure your fish is adequately cleaned and gutted to avoid consuming any unnecessary guts and bacteria.
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How to Clean Arctic Grayling Before Eating
Cleaning an Arctic grayling should be a simple exercise if you’ve cleaned and prepped any other round fish.
Before you begin, you’ll want to make sure you have a sharp knife, a small disposable container, and freshwater.
How To Clean Arctic Grayling:
- Cover prep space with an old newspaper
- Make sure your knife is sharp
- Wash the slime off of the fish
- Cut the fins off and dispose
- Run the spine of the blade across the body to remove scales
- Open fish and scoop out internal organs
- Rinse the inside of the fish
Getting a fish cleaned to cook is a messy business! For fast and easy cleanup, spread an old newspaper over your prep space.
Make sure that your knife is sharp, using a dull knife in this process is dangerous and carries a higher chance of injury!
With fresh water, wash the slime off of your Arctic grayling.
Running water makes things more comfortable, but if you’re out camping, you can coax the slime off with your hand. Be sure to wipe off any remaining residue with a paper towel.
With a sharp knife, cut all the fins off of the body of your grayling.
This includes the dorsal.
You can dispose of the separated parts in your container.
With your fingers, lift the flap which reveals the gills, which is located behind the eyes.
With a sharp knife, carefully cut and remove the fleshy gills.
Using a scaling tool or knife, run the spine of your blade across the body of the grayling. You should be moving your instrument from the fish’s tail to its head. The scales will easily fall off and get everywhere like glitter. Be sure to descale both sides of the grayling.
With your knife, insert the blade at the anal fin on the bottom of the fish, and gently cut upwards towards the head.
You want to make a shallow cut of no deeper than an inch to avoid puncturing internal organs, thereby creating a smelly mess.
With either a spoon or your fingers, (and some gloves, preferably,) open up the fish and scrape out all of the entrails. You can dispose of these in the container with the dorsal and fins.
After all the internal organs are removed from your grayling, rinse the inside of the fish with water before prepping to cook.
Why is it Important to Clean an Arctic Grayling Before Cooking?
Cleaning an Arctic grayling, or any other fish for that matter is an important habit to pick for many reasons.
For the sake of time and convenience, cooking a fish whole will take significantly longer for the heat to propagate throughout the meat.
Why Should I Clean My Arctic Grayling?
- Remove pollutants from water
- Extract plastic and trash
- Rid the fish of mercury
Additionally and unfortunately, there are more pollutants distributed into the water every day.
There are seldom places which do not have remnants of man, even if you put a vast distance between you and civilization.
Because of this, it is not unusual for small pieces of plastic or trash to be swallowed by the fish that you caught. Plastic and waste are certainly not ideal things for humans to consume.
Fish are known to contain levels of mercury in their internal organs.
Some internal organs contain higher concentrations of mercury, so it’s best to take them all out to be safe.
While the mercury content in fish is innocuous, even if fish is a daily treat, it’s best to avoid ingesting as much mercury as possible.
In most cases, you’ll clean your catch as soon as you can.
If you absolutely have to wait, you can usually get away with waiting about 8 hours if you bleed the grayling and immediately put it on ice. The Arctic grayling’s meat tends to soften and separate after they’re caught, so if you can eat it at camp, you shouldn’t wait.
How to Cook Arctic Grayling
Arctic grayling are best eaten fresh!
The flavor of the meat in this fish changes the moment it leaves the water.
For the best experience, bring the small amount of prep material needed to cook up a decent meal out of your day’s catch.
If you’ve never cooked an Arctic Grayling before, follow along with this simple recipe after you’ve completed the above cleaning steps.
Although it takes a small amount of prep, and the payoff is a tender Alaskan bite into this ancient and traditional fish.
- One freshly caught, cleaned, and skinned grayling meat, cut into pieces
- Fresh Thyme
- One lemon
- 200g of all-purpose flour
- Salt & pepper
- Your preferred cooking oil
- One skillet
- One medium bowl
- 1 large Ziploc bag
To begin, squeeze as much juice as you can from the lemon into your medium bowl. Next, place your grayling in the lemon juice for 15 minutes so the acidic properties of the lemon can marinate into the fleshy proteins.
In the meantime chop up your thyme and mix it into your large Ziploc baggie with the flour, salt, and pepper.
Place the grayling pieces in the baggie and shake vigorously for thirty seconds to coat your meat.
Put your skillet over a fire with and add an ample amount of oil to sear your fish. You can test the temperature by cutting a tiny piece off your meat and putting it in the pan after a few minutes over any heat source.
Once your pan is hot enough, take the breaded fish from your baggie and cook until golden brown. Remove excess oil, grab a cold refreshment from the cooler and enjoy your catch!
There you have it, thirty minutes after you catch your arctic grayling it’s ready to eat! It doesn’t get any fresher than that.
In conclusion, the delicious reward that comes with eating a fully cleaned and properly cooked Arctic Grayling fish is worth the small amount of trouble you might have to go through in order to get it there.
Can I leave the scales on my Arctic Grayling while cooking?
Many cooks and fisherman prefer to remove the scales to avoid any pungent flavors penetrating through the meat when cooking. Though, some chefs recommend cooking a fish filet with the scales on because the skin and scales are smoother to peel and remove after time in the oven.
Does an Arctic Grayling taste like any other fish?
While it is a member of the salmon family, graylings are reportedly more similar to trout in taste, and very reminiscent of eating whitefish. Although they can be compared to other fish, Arctic graylings have a flavor of their own, and if caught and cooked fresh, make for a worthy meal.
Is it easy to catch an Arctic Grayling?
Yes. The process of baiting and catching an Arctic Grayling is relatively easy, no matter what kind of line you choose or how experienced you are. In fact, this is one of the easiest fish to catch, even for beginners and children. Due to their very large appetite, Arctic Grayling will be attracted to almost anything you choose to bait your line with.