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De-Boning Garfish


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Hi all,

I have heard that you can get the back bone out of Garfish very easily. Something about rolling a rolling pin or jar over the fish and it pops out. When I have tried I ended up with a squashed fish with a back bone.

Does anyone know how this is done?

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I haven't done it for many years and i'm not sure if i had it right then anyway. We would scale and gut the garfish (make sure you scrape out the black stomach lining stuff with your thumb nail or paper towel) and also fillet from the anus to the tail but only as deep as the spine, do not fillet all the way up to the dorsal fin (top of the fish), leave the two fillets attached from the spine up to the dorsal fin. Take its head off and you can cut the tail off at the wrist too. Lay it on its stomach (sitting upright) with the gut flaps/ stomach cavity opened out so it looks like a person lying on their stomach. Gently roll the bottle or rolling pin along its back with the bottle parallel to the bench (i'm pretty sure we used to run head to tail). This should separate the rib cage from the flesh of the stomach cavity without snapping the bones or breaking them off the spine (if you snap the rib bones or break the bones of the spine into the flesh just go and catch another fish). You should be able to grab the head end of the backbone with your finger and thumb nails and carefully separate it from the flesh by pulling the backbone with the ribs still attached out of the stomach cavity and keep working along all the way to the tail so the whole backbone with ribs still attached comes out of the fish as one piece. You should be left with a boneless butterflied fish.

Once you have done it successfully once, expect to be frustrated by having six consecutive fails before your second successful attempt.

If you google "butterflying garfish" you will get many different methods.

This could be completely wrong but it the limited memory i have of it as a kid.

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