Removing Salmon Pin Bones

The definitive guide.

Removing Salmon Pin Bones

 

What are pin bones and why don't we remove them? 

Pin-bones are actually the calcified nerve endings along the lateral line of the salmon. Have you ever wondered how salmon swim so close together in their streams? They can do so because they have nerve endings all along their side, which help them sense salmon swimming next to them. We call them the pin-bones and they are unique to salmonids.

Pin-bones are impossible to remove through filleting. So, large Alaskan processors remove them with a machine called (you guessed it) a pin-bone machine. What troubles us about removing these bones mechanically is that the salmon have to “rest” for a few days. This softens the flesh so that the machine can remove the pin-bones effectively. “Resting,” however, is really an industry euphemism for rotting. To get a salmon fillet to a point where it can be run through a pin-bone machine, they sacrifice enough quality that we’re uncomfortable doing it. We think our fish is the best tasting, freshest fish in the Midwest, and one of the myriad reasons for this is that we don’t “rest” the fish to remove the bones.

So below are instructions on how you can easily remove the pin-bones. But if you don’t want to, simply push them to the side while you eat. Enjoy!

pin bone removal guide

Questions? Having trouble? Don't hesitate to reach out via a Facebook message, or to salmonsupport@sitkasalmonshares.com via email. 

Ready to cook? check out our Recipes Page for some culinary inspiration!

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