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Essential tips for cleaning and cooking trout
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From the fish lover to the picky eaters, everyone in your family will enjoy the way trout tastes after you clean and cook the fish with these tips in mind. - photo by Spencer Durrant
THE GREAT OUTDOORS With ice fishing season in full swing and great conditions on the Weber River, Utah anglers who keep their catch wont have a problem filling their coolers with a limit of trout.

However, not every family member loves to eat trout as much as anglers. From complaining about the fishy taste to the delicate bones, it often seems impossible to please your picky eaters with fresh Utah trout.

With the right cleaning and cooking techniques, though, youll be able to whip up a trout-inspired dish the entire family will love. These methods are simple, quick, and best of all, put the fish you caught to great immediate use.

Cleaning

How you clean trout makes the difference between a great fish dinner and something no one in the family wants to eat again. Depending on what you plan to serve with the fish, youll want to clean it one of two different ways.

If you plan on serving the fish by itself, the tried-and-true method of gutting the fish, removing the head, tail, and all fins is a great way to go. Spices can be placed in the cavity where the trouts organs were, filling the meat with a savory flavor.

If youre an adventurous eater, then cut the tails off your trout and save them for later. Well look at a tip for cooking those down below.

If you want to serve the trout with any side dish (potatoes or rice are a time-tested favorite) or simply want to avoid pulling meat off the bones and enjoy a bone-free meal, then youll need to fillet the trout.

Filleting fish is an art that takes time to hone, so dont worry if you make a mess of your first dozen or so fish. The internet is littered with videos that demonstrate the best way to fillet a fish, but theyre all generally the same.

Place your knife immediately behind the pectoral fin at a 45-degree angle toward the spine of the fish. Cut down until you feel the hard bone of the trout, and slowly saw back and forth, pulling the meat right off the bones.

Cooking

From grandpas secret recipe to something you came up with when you ran out of food in the Uintas and had to live off fish during a scout camp, the possibilities of cooking trout are endless.

If you dont fillet the fish, try the following:

  • Fill the organ cavity with butter, lemon pepper, and a very light dusting of garlic powder (garlic powder tones down the fishy taste that turns many people off to trout).
  • Wrap in tin foil and bake in the over or grill until the meat is cooked through, but still moist. Dry fish doesnt taste great.
  • Unwrap, serve, and enjoy!
If you do fillet the fish, then:

  • Coat each fillet in a light dusting of garlic powder, Italian seasoning, sea salt, ground black pepper, and chopped onions (dried or fresh).
  • Wrap the fillets in tin foil.
  • Cook until the meat is done but still moist.
  • Unwrap and serve over rice, potatoes or any other side.
Tin foil is used to ensure the fish is cooked evenly throughout, and its always important to cook a fish until the meat is firm but still juicy.

Now, heres a bonus tip with the fish tails you cut off your trout, do the following:

  • Dip the tails in olive oil
  • Lightly dust them in a mixture of flour, salt and your desired spices
  • Ready a frying pan or deep fryer
  • Fry the tails until theyre golden brown
The tails turn into literal fish chips and are tastier than you might think.

Do you have a favorite way to cook or clean trout?