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Removing Pin Bones from Salmon

By Cook's Illustrated Published November 2015

The best way to remove pinbones from salmon fillets.

When a fish is filleted, the flesh is removed from the backbone and ribs, but the relatively soft, thin, needle-like pinbones, also known as intermuscular bones, are not attached to the main skeleton and thus must be removed in a second step. While most fish are sold with the pinbones removed, they are difficult to see and are sometimes missed by the fishmonger. When preparing recipes like our Miso-Marinated Salmon, it’s always a good idea to check for bones before cooking.

1. Drape fillet over inverted mixing bowl to help any pinbones protrude. Then, working from head end to tail end, locate pinbones by running your fingers along length of fillet.

2. Use tweezers to grasp tip of bone. To avoid tearing flesh, pull slowly but firmly at slight angle in direction bone is naturally pointing rather than straight up. Repeat until all pinbones are removed.