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We had recently been given some fresh caught-that-day trout. The trouble is that we didn't know how to prepare it. The last time my wife filleted it, but we ended up with lots and lots of little bones in the fish.

What is the best way to prepare trout that avoids this problem?

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I would say, find a recipe where you cook the fish whole (after cleaning it, of course - i.e. removing innards, fins, head, etc.) and then split it open. You should practically be able to lift the bones out when you open the fish up, if my memory serves me right.

I used to go trout fishing in Maine a lot, but it's been a while.

  • We were given the fish whole after it was cleaned. Lifting the bones out sort of works, but a good amount of the bones were left behind. Maybe we cooked it too long? – Jay R. Jul 18 '10 at 14:13
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Unfortunately, there's no quick solution to de-boning trout. The best method is to remove the entire backbone, along with the ribs.

To achieve this place the fish skin side down and with the point of a sharp knife, gently work along both sides of the fish freeing each fine rib bone. Once they have been freed from the flesh, you can cut around the spine (try not to break the skin) and remove the whole lot.

If the fish has been filleted, then lay the fillet flat and with a pair of tweezers work your way front to back, extracting the small bones as you go.

  • There are a lot of bones to tweeze or free though. – Jay R. Jul 18 '10 at 14:11
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    Unfortunately, trout does have a lot of fine bones, but with a little patience you should be able to remove them. – Pulse Jul 18 '10 at 14:35
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Depending on the size of the fish there may always be a few that get stuck (in smaller trout the bones are thin and break off easily).

However, there is one way I was taught to cook it that is the best I've found and heats up the inside of the fish better making the bones a little easier to work out.

After cleaning the fish cover the outside and the inside in corn mill. This is going to make the trout cook a bit faster so keep you're eye on it. I usually cook it on a steel or cast iron pan in some light oil... usually not a fast burning oil (i.e. Olive Oil).

When its done cooking cut off the tail and head (you can cut the head off ahead of time if you don't plan on eating it) and then and lay the fish on its back and flatten it out with your hands so that you're looking at it's open belly.

Finally, grab the spine from the tail side of the fish and gently lift.

That's the best method I've found over all my years of cooking. There can still be a few small bones that are left in. Oh yeah, and if its a small one trout (6-10 inches) that tail can make a yummy snack... I call it trout bacon :P

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