Steelhead belly strip dinner

I make no secret of being a huge fan of salmon and steelhead bellies. I like to smoke them, eat them raw (after a quick dry ice deep freeze) and saute them fresh as a dinner main course, which is the subject of this post.

After filleting the sides OFF a fish as normal and before removing any of the rib bones, I almost always use a sharp scissors to trim OFF a wide belly strip, cutting through the ends of the rib bones. Basically, I'm looking for all the thin meat on the fillet (that often just gets overcooked), so a 'wide belly strip'. After cooking, the little tips of the bones come off real easy with that inner membrane (I want that membrane in place for the cooking, to seal in the juices).

For reference, I'm using the little chrome hen (25.5", 6#) that I caught last Saturday here in my images:

Strips lightly seasoned (sea salt, any favorite seasoning mix).


light oil in a skilled, I want it hot enough to sizzle but not too hot, I am sauteing this high oil content fish, not fast cooking it like you would for something like Halibut. these are now almost done, a few minutes on each side to get some color and slowly cook through but don't over cook it.


plating is a hands on job, I break them in half and peel the skin OFF, then remove the membrane and little rib bone tips, and enjoy, the flavor is so mild. For me, these are the 'backstraps' of any fresh salmon or steelhead, they deserve special attention.


as for the rest of each fillet, the thin part is gone and I shave off any remaining rib bones. I freeze these long fillets and smoke a big batch after the season, getting nice uniform thickness smoked pieces. cheers, roger

Last edited:


Well-known member
Yum! I sort of do the same when I am lucky enough to get some fish (Seems like an eternity, though.) I sort the bellies, collars and thin tail meat for smoking and save the thick parts for baking or barbecue.

Casting Call

Active member
I fillet the any fish leaving a good amount of meat on the spine bone. Wa La! I now have fish ribs! Just cut sections of ribs to fit in your mouth and eat and strip like you would corn on the cob, no waste of meat. Tony


Most Featured
I do love those salmon bellies and collars. Smoke them up and chow down. This thread is making me very hungry and that bottle of wine in the post looks like a great beverage to go with the fish!
Top Bottom