Pickled Northern – Step 1

Posted by MNAngler On November - 5 - 2009

I’ve never been a big fan of Northern Pike. I’m not really a catch-and-release fisherman (except when it comes to muskie), so I like to eat what I catch. But Northern aren’t what I would call a delicacy. Their many, many tiny bones and fishy smell make them one of the less desirable species I like to put on the table.

But recently, I heard about pickling them. As an adult, I became a fan of pickled herring during the holidays, so pickled Northern Pike sounded like a natural variation. I learned of this from our neighbor and he sent us a recipe. The next few posts will document our grand experiment.

The great thing about this process is that if it works out, I’ll have a good excuse to pull out all those nasty Northern in my father-in-law’s lake. The DNR has been stocking his lake with Walleye and Lake Trout fingerlings, but the Walleye are few and far between while no one has pulled a Lake Trout out of the lake yet. We think the Northern might be finding a smorgasboard.

The first step of our recipe consisted of the following:

Cut 60 to 75 bite size pieces of fish
One cup of non-iodized salt to 1 gallon jar 1/2 full of water
Add fish until jar is full
Let stand for 48 hours

My wife defrosted our bounty from this summer and started cutting up the fillets into chunks. Thanx partly due to the 27″ monster I caught at the end of the trip, we ended up with enough fish to do a batch and a half.


Cutting fillets into chunks

Cutting the fillets into chunks.

The extra half batch

The overflow.

Chunks in the brine

Full batch in the brine.

Chunks in the brine

We put the concoction in the fridge and now we wait. See you in two days.


6 Responses to “Pickled Northern – Step 1”

  1. [...] hours after step 1, we moved on to step 2: Pour off salt water, rinse Soak fish in white vinegar for 24 hours Drain [...]

  2. [...] Step 1: Cut 60 to 75 bite size pieces of fish One cup of non-iodized salt to 1 gallon jar 1/2 full of water Add fish until jar is full Let stand for 48 hours [...]

  3. Duluthralphie says:

    I realize I am years out of date on this, but I just found this while looking for a pickled fish recipe.

    My grandma use to have a recipe where the fish were pickled in a tomato sauce, that is what I was looking for…..

    BUT I take exception to your description of the Northern Pike. It is by far the best eating fish in the world IMHO. If you know how to clean them and get no bones in the fillets.

    I simply gill and gut them at the lake then fillet them when I get home. I make 6 pieces out of the fish. 2 back straps, 2 side fillets and 2 tail fillets.

    It is easy to do and no bones when done right. BUT do not transport the fish cut like this as it is illegal.

    • MNAngler says:

      You’re not alone. A lot of Minnesotans seem to prefer Northern, even over walleye. In fact, I just had a conversation about that tonight. I don’t get it, but some people don’t like bass, one of my favorite eating fish. I guess it’s all personal preference.

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