All posts by Jeff Fidler

great bbq sauce from guys

Great Sugar-Free Taste of Guy’s BBQ Sauce

Guy’s BBQ Sauce Delivers Authentic Taste, Big Flavour, and No Sugar

In the world of barbecue sauces, it seems like every brand makes statements that they’re the best, most authentic, and world-renowned sauce that money can buy, but very few actually offer a taste experience that delivers on those claims. Most seem to be loaded with extra unnecessary sugars or are pretty weak in the flavour department. However, the days of settling for mediocre sauces are over because Guy’s BBQ Sauce is everything that low carb dieters could want.

In this article, we’re going to showcase some of the amazing flavours of sauce from Guy’s, as well as provide a quick history lesson on the journey that took them from a secret family recipe to an award-winning sauce loved by BBQ enthusiasts around the world.

The Story of Guy’s Award-Winning BBQ Sauce

It all started in a small town in Ohio, where summertime barbecues and great homestyle cooking inspired Guy to add his own twist to a secret family sauce recipe. The result was an instant success with family and friends, and quickly gained a reputation in the local area as the best sauce around.

From there, what became known as Guy’s Award-Winning BBQ Sauce had a very exclusive audience and supply just couldn’t keep up with the growing demand. Manufacturing of Guy’s special recipe began to ramp up with new facilities and expanded capacity, and retailers were quick to jump on this amazing new sauce that had the added benefits of being sugar-free and gluten-free.

Flavours of Guy’s BBQ Sauce

For anyone who’s cutting sugar out of their diet, such as those living the low carb lifestyle, Guy’s BBQ Sauce is a welcome addition to their kitchens. All of Guy’s sauces are sugar-free, but you’d never know it from the fantastic taste that they bring to your cooking. For healthy, low carb barbecue, Guy’s sauce sets the standard.

Original BBQ SauceThe sauce that started it all. It’s got a sweet and tangy flavour that is perfect for ribs and chicken or use it as a pulled pork sauce in your slow cooker. Any way you use it, the flavour is second to none!

Spicy BBQ Sauce – For those grillers who want a little more zip in their sauce, give Guy’s Spicy BBQ Sauce a try. It takes all the great taste of the Original sauce and adds just a bit of heat to wake up your taste buds.

Hot BBQ Sauce – If the Spicy sauce isn’t quite hot enough for you, then this is the sauce for you. It’s got a great kick to it that makes the bold flavour of the Original sauce even bolder.

Smokey Garlic BBQ Sauce – This delicious sauce brings the unmistakable taste of garlic to your barbecue, with just a hint of smokiness to create a wonderful blend of flavours that is perfect for all kinds of grilled meats.

Bacon BBQ Sauce – You can’t go wrong by adding bacon to anything, and this barbecue sauce just proves that point. This tasty sauce has just a hint of smoke in it, and definitely delivers an authentic bacon flavour that you’ll love.

Time to Get Grilling

Now that you’ve got a great selection of tasty sugar-free sauces from Guy’s to use, it’s time to plan your next big backyard barbecue! We’ve got some great resources you can use to plan a fantastic barbecue that the whole family will love, and your friends will rave about for years to come.

First, start with our Guide to the Perfect Low Carb Backyard Barbecue for all the essential tips and tricks you’ll need to put on a great low carb meal that everyone will enjoy.

Next, take a look at our handy collection of Low Carb Summer Barbecue Recipes for even more inspiration that you can use to expand your menu and try some fun new things that are a perfect fit for the low carb diet.

Finally, get your grilling game up to the next level with this awesome list of Great Barbecue Tools and Gadgets that you can use to make sure that everything you cook comes out perfect, each and every time.

It’s All About the Sauce

When it comes right down to it, making great barbecue is all about the sauce. Whether it’s ribs cooked low and slow or fresh grilled chicken on a bun, you’ve just got to have that finger-licking sauce to make the experience complete. For low carb dieters, Guy’s BBQ Sauce is the answer you’ve been waiting for.

It’s about time you discovered just how good sugar free sauce can be, so check out the full selection of Guy’s BBQ Sauce today here at The Low Carb Grocery.

gourmet spices and sauces from hot mamas

Spices & Hot Sauces from Hot Mamas

Turn Up the Heat with Hot Mamas Amazing Hot Sauces & Spices

Spicy food lovers are always on the lookout for the next big flavour, the next fiery hot sauce, and the next amazing spice rub. However, when you look at the giant wall of sauces and spices at your average grocery store, it can be almost impossible to pinpoint the products that have the right flavour balanced with the right heat level.

For low carb dieters, they also need to find hot sauce and spices  that aren’t loaded with carbs,sugar and salt like most hot sauces and spices are. But fear not, because Hot Mamas gourmet spices and hot sauces are the answer.

For those of us living in, and around the GTA – or anywhere in Ontario for that matter, it’s important to mention that Hot Mama’s is a local company, so in addition to creating high quality, unique food products that you’re going to love, you’d also be supporting a local Ontario business, and as always, when you can buy local, buy local.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how Hot Mamas started, as well as explore some of their incredibly popular products that are available at The Low Carb Grocery. Let’s get started!

Who is Hot Mamas?

In the city of Orillia, Ontario on the north side of Lake Simcoe, the founding family perfected their recipe for red pepper jelly that originated in Jamaica and has been passed down for generations. Originally made in very small batches and given to close friends and family, the red pepper jelly became such a hit that it was decided to ramp up production and make it available to everyone.

Since the company began in 2005, Hot Mamas has introduced many other products made using traditional recipes and only the finest ingredients, such as their signature ingredient, fresh Scotch Bonnet Peppers. The family grows these hot peppers themselves from heirloom plants, and also imports fresh peppers regularly from Jamaica. When you choose Hot Mamas, you can be sure that the taste is authentic, and the ingredients are guaranteed to be top-quality.

Jellies

The product that started it all is Hot Mamas Low Sodium Red Pepper Jelly. This spicy jelly is simply delicious and is perfect for a wide range of uses such as appetizers, dips, basting sauces, and more. Hot Mamas also makes a Spiced Apple Pepper Jelly, bringing the distinctive heat of Scotch Bonnet Peppers to pair with the sweetness of apple jelly.

Low Carb Hot Sauce

You can’t go wrong with these awesome hot sauces, no matter what foods you are looking to heat up. Hot Mamas hot sauces come in many different flavours and heat levels, such as Caribbean Gold Splash, Jerk N Hot Splash, and Mango Pineapple Splash, just to name a few. These hot sauces are great for adding some kick to things like eggs, burgers, nachos, chicken, and pretty much anything else that strikes your fancy.

BBQ Spices & Rubs

Before you get grilling, you’ve got to get that meat seasoned up with the right spices and rubs, and Hot Mamas is up for the challenge. Their line of spice rubs includes all the classic flavours like Cajun Spice, Jerk N Hot, BBQ, and more. Or choose from their wide range of no-salt spices like Island Jerk, Ultimate Steak, and Garlic Lovers to turn an ordinary burger or grilled chicken in to a totally new flavour experience.

Low Carb BBQ Sauce

If you’re making ribs or wings, you know that you need a great sauce with just the right amount of sweetness and heat. Hot Mamas has you covered with their line of spicy BBQ sauces featuring flavours like Garlic BBQ, Pineapple, and Cranberry Pepper that are sure to have you licking your fingers once you’ve finished off the last rib or wing on your plate.

Gourmet Mustards

You’ve never had a mustard like the ones from Hot Mamas. These original creations take the great taste of a classic gourmet mustard and add some serious heat with Hot Mamas signature Scotch Bonnet Peppers. The most adventurous eaters will want to try their XXX Hot Mustard for the biggest and boldest flavour.

Experience the Heat

Making a great hot sauce or spice rub is much more than just how hot it is. True spice artists know that you need to balance that heat with other flavours to provide a really enjoyable taste experience that will keep you coming back for more. That’s why fans of spicy foods simply love Hot Mamas. They’ve got the heat you want and the flavours you crave, all made from the best quality ingredients.

Check out the wide selection of hot and spicy Hot Mamas sauces, rubs, spices, and more right here at The Low Carb Grocery. It’s time to fire it up!

coffee drinks from around the world

Coffee Drinks from Around the World

Discover Exciting Coffee Drinks from Around the Globe

It’s time to travel the world and explore the wide range of fascinating coffees and coffee-based drinks that come from all corners of the globe. With a history stretching all the way back to the 10th century, coffee is well-established as one of the most popular and universally loved drinks around the world, and it’s not hard to see why.

Aside from the energizing effects of the caffeine in coffee, the flavour of the drink can be altered and customized in nearly countless ways. Many coffee lovers enjoy it in its simplest form, with just hot water and ground coffee. Others prefer their coffee mixed with other ingredients like milk, cream, sugar, syrups, cocoa, cinnamon, and many other signature flavours. The different methods for making coffee are just as diverse as the ingredients. In this article, we explain some of the most common methods for making coffee, as well as some of the most popular coffee drinks that come from a diverse range of cultures.

Common Methods for Brewing Coffee

Drip Coffee Maker

This is the standard coffee maker that you’ll find in almost every kitchen, hotel room, and restaurant across North America. It consists of a water reservoir, basket-style filter for holding the ground coffee, and a glass or metal carafe to hold the brewed coffee. In a drip coffee maker, water is heated and then dripped in to the basket filter to mix with the ground coffee. The brewed coffee then drips down in to the carafe and is then ready to serve.

Espresso Machine

Invented in Italy back in the late 1800’s, espresso machines use steam pressure to force the hot water through firmly-packed fine-grind dark roast coffee, producing a single ‘shot’ of rich, espresso coffee. Espresso machines often include a milk steaming wand to aid in the creation of steamed and frothed milk for drinks such as cappuccino. Operation of an espresso machine requires a bit more experience than some of the other coffee brewing methods, as you need to learn how fine the coffee grinds should be, and how tightly to pack them, without being too fine or too packed, to make a good quality shot of espresso.

French Press

Also known simply as a coffee press, the French press was invented in the early 1900’s. This simple device looks like a simple pitcher, in which coarsely-ground coffee is placed in the bottom and boiling water is then used to fill the pitcher. The lid of the French press includes a plunger with a metal filter screen affixed to the bottom. The coffee is usually steeped for about 4 or 5 minutes, at which time the plunger is pushed down to contain the ground coffee at the bottom of the pitcher and the coffee can then be served.

Turkish Method

This method originates in the Ottoman Empire, making it one of the oldest known methods for making coffee. It uses coffee that is ground very finely and, unlike the other methods we’ve shown here, the grounds are actually left in the coffee when it is served. Often, some sugar is added to the coffee and water as it is boiled in a special type of coffee pot called a cezve. Once the mixture of water and ground coffee begins to boil, about 1/3 of the coffee is poured in to the cups and the remainder is then returned to the heat to boil again. Once the remaining coffee in the pot boils, it is used to top off the cups and is ready to serve.

Popular Coffee from Around the World

Drip-brewed Coffee

Drip coffee can be served black, without any additional ingredients, or can be customized with sugar, milk, or cream to suit individual tastes. Drip coffee is available in many different styles of roast ranging from very dark to very light, as well as in nearly countless flavours like hazelnut, French vanilla, and caramel.

When sweetening their coffees, low carb dieters should ensure to only use sugar-free sweeteners to help keep their carb counts low as they enjoy a morning pick-me-up.

Espresso

The majority of espresso drinkers take theirs without any additional ingredients in either a solo (single shot) or doppio (double shot). Because of the way espresso is brewed, it has a higher concentration of caffeine than other brewing methods, but is usually served in smaller portions, making the caffeine content generally on par when looking at individual serving sizes. One of the distinguishing characteristics of espresso is a slightly frothy layer on the top called the ‘crema’, which is the result of the brewing process. Sometimes, a bit of whipped cream is added to espresso to create a variation called espresso con panna.

Cappuccino

This popular Italian coffee drink starts with a fresh double shot of espresso and tops it with steamed and foamed milk. Some cappuccino lovers add sprinkles of cinnamon or chocolate powder to the top of the milk foam for added flavour. Cappuccino is very popular around the world, especially thanks to the rapid global expansion of major specialty coffee shop chains.

Café au Lait and Caffè Latte

While these two drinks may seem like the same thing, there is a slight difference between them. Both are made with hot milk, but Café au Lait generally uses strong drip-brewed coffee while Caffè Latte will use shots of espresso. Much like cappuccino, these drinks are extremely popular and trendy around the world. These drinks are also often mixed with flavoured syrups like vanilla, peppermint, mocha, hazelnut, pumpkin spice, and many others. Low carb dieters should take care to choose only sugar-free syrups to add flavours like these to their coffee drinks.

Irish Coffee

Although the term ‘Irish coffee’ has become rather generalized and commonly refers to any coffee drink with alcohol, the traditional Irish coffee is a specific type of coffee cocktail with defined ingredients. It begins with hot, black coffee and then adds Irish whiskey and brown sugar and is finished with a topping of thick cream.

Frappé

This interesting creation originates in Greece and is served cold, either with cubed ice or blended. This is the most recently developed coffee drink on our list, and was the invention of an instant-coffee representative during a trade fair in Greece during the late 1950’s. It uses instant coffee, water, and sugar and is then shaken or blended with ice to create a rich, frosty coffee drink that is wonderful to enjoy on a hot summer day. Much like lattes, frappés have been heavily modernized by major coffee chains and are available in a wide variety of flavours and styles.

Conclusion

Coffee is the way people around the world start their day, and it’s been so for hundreds of years. As you can see from the wide array of coffee making devices and methods, as well as the diverse range of coffee drinks that have been crafted over the years, coffee lovers take their passion very seriously.

For low carb dieters, coffee is perfectly suitable as long as you take care to choose alternative sweeteners to traditional sugars and syrups. Fortunately, there are plenty of sugar-free sweeteners to choose from so you can have your coffee exactly the way you want, any time you want.

We hope that you’ve found this article interesting, and that it gives you some fun facts to share with friends the next time you meet up at your favourite coffee shop!

find veg at the right time of year

Find Seasonal Veg at the Right Time of Year

The Easy Guide to Finding Seasonal Vegetables

Have you ever been frustrated in the produce aisle of your grocery store because you just can’t seem to find a good quality head of lettuce? Or maybe the green beans are not looking as fresh as they did last month? This is due in large part to the fact that as the seasons change it affects the quality and freshness of the vegetables available across the country. Although you can always find the basic vegetables like lettuce and carrots year-round, there are always times of the year when you’ll find them to be at their freshest and highest quality.

In order to ensure you’re getting the best vegetables to stock your kitchen, there are a few things that you need to know. First, it’s important to know the types of vegetables that are sourced from local farmers, since these will always be the freshest due to the short distances they need to travel before they hit the shelves. Of course, this also means that they aren’t going to be available from those same farms all year long, especially in Canada. While southern farms in North America can easily grow crops 365 days a year, Canadian winters prevent it and greenhouses can only do so much.

Because of this, it’s helpful to know the best times of year for vegetables at your grocery store so that you can find those that have traveled the least amount of distance and have been stored for the shortest amount of time. In this article, we’ve gathered together a list of the most common and popular vegetables that you’ll find at supermarkets across the country and categorized them by the season in which they are harvested and shipped for maximum quality and freshness.

This information should help you find the best vegetables and assist you as you plan your weekly meal schedules. However, it should be taken as a general guide, as the freshness of the produce at your local supermarket may differ from those in other parts of the country.

Spring Vegetables

Once the snow melts and things start growing again, your local market will likely see a vast improvement in the freshness and quality of a wide range of vegetables that they stock year-round. These are generally some of the fastest vegetables to grow, and as such can start growing in northern climates much earlier in the year.

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Artichokes
  • Fennel
  • Radishes
  • Watercress
  • Chives
  • Rhubarb
  • Green onions

Summer Vegetables

Once summer hits and the growing season is in full-swing across the country, the breadth of fresh vegetables provides a lot more choice and variety at your local market. During the summer season, you’ll find that all the greens are much fresher, as well as a wide range of root vegetables, herbs, and stalks.

  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Rutabaga
  • Summer squash
  • Zucchini
  • Mustard greens
  • Eggplant
  • Cucumbers
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Bok choy
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomatoes

Autumn Vegetables

After the long, hot summer, the vegetable selection will once again shift at your local markets to include those that require a longer growing season. Generally, these include gourds and squash, potatoes, and other larger and more dense vegetables.

  • Beets
  • Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Pumpkins
  • Chili peppers
  • Corn
  • Leeks
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Onions

Winter Vegetables

While it may seem strange to list vegetables that are ‘in season’ in the winter, there are many vegetables that are still being harvested until late in the year, especially in the southern parts of Canada that experience more temperate climates.

  • Sweet potatoes and yams
  • Rutabagas
  • Pumpkins
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Turnips
  • Winter squash
  • Parsnips
  • Beets

Other Factors to Consider

While this guide is intended to provide a helpful basis for you to understand when the optimum time of year is for certain types of vegetables, the reality is that there are many unpredictable factors that determine the freshness and quality of the produce that you’ll find at your own local market. Unexpected snowstorms, heatwaves, or droughts can drastically affect these trends across the country or in specific areas. Also, the larger supermarket chains will likely be sourcing their produce from a wide range of suppliers that can be located all across the globe, based on who has the best price, the largest supply, or the best quality at any given time.

Due to these other factors, there are a few things to keep in mind when at the supermarket that can help account for some of these unpredictable elements. Most produce sections will list where the vegetables were sourced, either on the pricing placard, with stickers on the vegetables, or on the cartons that hold the different vegetables on the shelves. Check the location on them and you’ll be able to see how far they traveled to get to your shelf. Chances are that a bag of grapes sourced from California is going to be fresher than those that came from somewhere in South America.

Again, it bears repeating that these are not rules that are set in stone. If your supermarket keeps Ontario vegetables on the shelf for three weeks and then gets a shipment from Texas that was picked last week, sometimes travel distance matters a lot less. Nevertheless, these tips should help provide a good foundation for your vegetable hunting trips through the produce aisle.

If you’re hungry for even more tips, we’ve also compiled a list of vegetables that are the best choices for low carb dieters, due to their low carb counts. Check out our article on the best fruits and vegetables for low carb diets.

Conclusion

When it comes to cooking delicious and healthy meals for your family, we know that you’ll always get the best results from the freshest ingredients, and that includes the vegetables you use. We hope that with this information, you will be better equipped to track down fresher and better-quality vegetables on your next trip to the grocery store. After all, a little patience and persistence when you’re moving up and down the aisles can really pay off once you start peeling, chopping, slicing and dicing to help you create a wonderful meal full of fresh flavours.

how to cook bacon

Great Cooking Guide for Perfect Bacon

How to Cook Perfect Bacon Each and Every Time

Bacon is the kind of food that gets people really excited. It’s got a million uses in all different kinds of cuisine. You can find it virtually everywhere in the world, and is popular at breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’ll see a mountain of it at breakfast buffets, and find it wrapped around beautiful filet mignons at the fanciest steak restaurants. It’s always the first thing you’ll find gone off of your kids’ plate at breakfast on the weekend, and when asked if you want bacon on your burger, the answer is inevitably going to be ‘YES!’. Bacon is just plain delicious, and there’s no two ways about it. You’ll even find bacon flavouring in just about everything, from dips and salad dressing to barbecue sauce and snack chips.

However, there are plenty of differing opinions out there on what makes the best bacon. That’s why we’ve put together this guide for you. Making bacon perfect every time usually takes a bit of practice, but with this collection of tips and tricks, you’ll become a pro in no time.

Here, you’ll learn about the different kinds of bacon, and how you can adjust your cooking style to end up with either chewy bacon or crispy bacon, and every kind in between. We’ll teach you a cool trick to avoid grease splatters, and how to use either a frying pan or your oven to get great results every time.

Let’s start by looking at the various types of bacon, and how they differ.

Guide to Bacon Types

The most common type of bacon that you are all probably familiar with goes by many different names. You’ll often find it referred to as smoked bacon, American-style bacon, or slab bacon. While they are all made with the same basic process from pork belly, there are still some variations between them. American-style bacon is the most generic term for the thin slices of salty fried bacon that you can find pretty much anywhere. Smoked bacon adds additional flavour by being smoked with such woods as Applewood or hickory. Slab bacon is simply a large section of bacon that has not yet been sliced in to thin strips and is usually found at specialty butchers, allowing you to select your desired slice thickness.

The next most popular and common type of bacon is known as either Canadian bacon or back bacon. This type of bacon is made from the back tenderloin of the pig and has a consistency and flavour that is more similar to ham. This type of bacon can also be rolled in peameal prior to being sliced, and then is typically referred to as peameal bacon.

Pancetta is an Italian version of bacon and is close in appearance and taste to American-style bacon. It is generally seasoned with a blend of spices including peppercorns, cloves, and salt. Pancetta is common at most deli counters and is also popular as a cold deli meat.

Frying Pan or Oven?

Just like there are different kinds of bacon, there are also different methods of cooking that you can choose from. The two most popular and effective ways to cook bacon are by using a frying pan on the stove top, or a rack in the oven. Both work very well and allow you to produce bacon anywhere on the range of chewy to crispy. In general, the frying pan offers speed and convenience when cooking smaller amounts of bacon, whereas the oven allows you to cook much larger quantities simultaneously. At the end of the day, depending on your preference and how much bacon you need to prepare, either method works just fine.

Pan Frying Bacon Method

The best frying pans for bacon are wide, flat and heavy. Cast iron is the preferred choice of many bacon chefs, but they aren’t essential. Any good quality pan will do a fine job. You’ll want to lay your bacon out in the pan while it’s still cold, and make sure not to crowd too many slices in at one time.

The key to cooking bacon is to remember ‘low and slow’. You want to cook your bacon on low temperature and take your time. A pan that’s too hot will result in bacon that’s too crispy or even burnt in some places, and very chewy in others. You want to aim for consistency, so keep the temp low and the time slow.

Frying bacon in a pan also requires frequent attention and lots of turning. Every pan and stove will have variations in temperature along the surface, and not all bacon will have exactly the same meat-to-fat ratio or the same thickness, so each slice will cook at a slightly different rate. Move things around in the pan with a good set of kitchen tongs to ensure that the whole batch is cooking consistently as you go.

If you’re cooking up multiple batches of bacon – i.e. the amount you need to cook won’t all fit in the frying pan at once, then you’ll want to tip out the grease in between batches. Be especially careful when pouring bacon grease out of a hot pan, as unexpected splatters can be very dangerous. Be sure that no grease has dripped down the side and on to the bottom of the pan before you place it back on the stove to begin the next batch, as this may cause a grease fire.

When determining when the bacon is officially done, keep in mind that it will continue to cook for a short time even once it’s been removed from the pan, so gauge your crispiness or chewiness accordingly to ensure that the final product suits your taste. When in doubt, it’s best to take it off early to avoid overly crunchy and dry bacon. Place the cooked bacon on to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess grease, and cover with aluminum foil and place in a warm (220F) to keep warm until your batch of bacon is all done.

How to Stop the Splattering

One of the minor annoyances of cooking bacon is the inevitable popping and splattering of the grease. However, there’s a simple trick that expert bacon chefs are sharing to help prevent splattering. All you need to do is simply place a small amount of water in the pan when it’s still cold. You don’t need much to have this trick work. Just enough to cover the bottom of the pan once the bacon has been laid out is all you need. As the pan heats up, the small amount of water will help render the fat that will come from the bacon as it cooks and keep it from popping and splattering.

Or… get a good splatter guard lid. Made of a mesh, or screen-like material, they splatter guard lids avoids condensation from forming on the lid as it can breathe, and it catches all of the grease splatters during the cooking process.

Oven Cooking Bacon Method

Cooking bacon in the oven is extremely easy and works great for very large batches when you need a lot of bacon for big family breakfasts or if you need a large amount to use for other recipes.

Preheat your oven to 400°F and spread your bacon out on a baking sheet. Line the sheet with foil first followed by parchment paper for easier clean-up. If you prefer your bacon to be on the crispier side, you can use a raised metal rack on top of the baking sheet to provide more air movement around the bacon and allow the grease to drip down on to the sheet away from the bacon as it cooks.

Average cooking times for bacon in the oven range from 12 to 20 minutes, depending on your preferred level of crispiness or chewiness, and the thickness of the bacon slices. In general, we recommend that you check the bacon at around the 10 – 12 minute mark to gauge progress, and adjust your timing accordingly.

Conclusion

Well now, we expect that you’re already planning your next batch of bacon, so we’ll keep this ending short and sweet. Making great bacon isn’t complicated, but like most other kinds of cooking, it does require the right method and a chef that’s willing to pay attention in order to get the best results. After all, isn’t great bacon really worth the effort? We definitely think so!

how to clean fresh fish

How to Clean & Prep a Freshly Caught Fish

Summer Grilling Tips: How to Clean and Prep a Fresh Fish

There’s a certain thrill that you get from reeling in a big fish. For many anglers, catching their dinner for the first time feels like something of a rite of passage, and hearkens back to simpler times. Going fishing with the intent of catching your dinner can be an exhilarating experience, filled with highs and lows as the unpredictable nature of fishing puts your skill and patience to the test. However, when you do reel in that beautiful fish and you know you’re going to eat well tonight, your mind may turn to how to actually cook it and make a good meal out of it.

Fortunately, the process of cleaning and preparing a fresh fish for cooking isn’t overly difficult. There are a few guidelines that you will want to keep in mind, some tools you’ll want to have handy, and a few tips and tricks to help make things even easier. Pretty soon you’ll be a seasoned pro at preparing a perfect fillet or steak from a freshly cleaned fish.

Before we get to the steps on how to prep your fish, there are a couple of important things we need to cover…

Know the Fish & Follow the Rules

First and foremost, one of the most important things to know about catching fish to eat is that there are some rules that you need to follow that have been set by federal and provincial governments in order to protect you, as well as the environment, from any negative effects such as contaminants, wildlife and fish population control, protected species, and more.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with these rules, which can easily be found online. For example, here is the Guide to Eating Ontario Fish for 2017/18, which is easy to follow and contains plenty of helpful information for Ontario sport fishing enthusiasts.

In addition, you’ll need to ensure you have purchased a fishing license. There are several different tiers available depending on how many fish you want to keep, and how often you’ll want to get out fishing this summer.

Check out the Ministry of Natural Resources website for details on what license options exist, and for the rules of fishing here in Ontario (download the PDF doc). Be sure to take a few minutes to fully read the latter, as it’ll save you from hefty fines for not obeying seasons, and other fishing rules designed to protect the environment.

Now that you’re aware that there are some essential rules of fishing, how do you know whether the fish you were lucky enough to have caught is actually going to make a good meal? It’s true that some fish just don’t make for a very pleasant meal, so it’s important to know what you’re working with before you invest too much time and effort in to planning a big dinner around a fish that should have probably just been thrown back.

The variety of fish in your area will be different than those found in other areas, but there are plenty of resources that you can refer to that help you know what types of fish to expect in certain areas of the country. For example, this interactive map from the Government of Ontario can help you determine where to find certain species in the province.

If you have questions about the best local fishing spots or what you’re most likely to catch in certain areas, pop in to your local tackle shop or outdoor gear supply store and ask the staff in the fishing section for advice. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

Some of the most common types of freshwater sporting fish in Canada that are also ideal and popular for eating include:

  • walleye
  • perch
  • bass
  • pike
  • trout
  • salmon
  • and other panfish, which are all lighter fish with lower fat content.

Depending on the fish you catch, you may have to have a couple of meal ideas in mind to pick from that will best suit different types of fish.

Tools You’ll Need

While you don’t need a ton of supplies to clean a fish, there are a few essentials that you will want to have close at hand before you begin.

Ice Chest or Cooler – To make sure your fish stays as fresh as possible, you’ll want to store it in ice until you’re ready to clean it. As well, you’ll want to keep your fish fillets or steaks chilled and on ice until you’re ready to cook, so a spare cooler designated specifically for fish, and filled with ice is very important if you are away from your kitchen fridge.

Filleting Knife – This long, thin knife needs to be kept very sharp in order to produce the best results. Since fish meat tends to be a bit more delicate than chicken or beef, a dull knife will cause the meat to rip and tear, resulting in a rough-looking fillet.

Large Cutting Board – Having a stable surface that gives you a comfortable amount of space to work with makes cleaning the fish and preparing your steaks and fillets much easier. You’ll want a solid cutting board that won’t slide or slip while you work.

If you’re staying in the wilderness, either camping or in a cottage, where a bear encounter is possible, then it’s extremely important that you NOT clean your fish close to your tents, or cottage.

Bears have an incredible sense of smell and the smell of a messy fish cleaning station can lure them in. So make sure that you do a full clean up when you’re done, getting rid of all the scraps in bear proof rubbish receptacles.

How to Clean a Fresh Fish

Start with the fish resting on its side with the belly facing you. Begin by inserting your fillet knife so it just pierces the skin slightly above the anal opening of the fish.

Cut the belly of the fish in a smooth, steady motion towards the head, making sure not to insert the knife too deep in to the body in order to avoid cutting in to the intestines and other organs.

Spreading the body open, pull all the organs and entrails out of the fish, including the anus of the fish which should be cut away from the body using your fillet knife.

Once the innards of the fish have been completely removed, thoroughly rinse the fish inside and out. At this point, you are ready to cook the fish whole, or cut it up in to either fillets or steaks, depending on how you intend to cook and serve it.

To cut the fish in to steaks, use a large, sharp kitchen knife to cut the fish into steaks, starting just behind the head and gills. Fish steaks are usually cut about 1” thick on average, but this is entirely up to you. Thicker steaks can be trickier to cook without drying them out, so be careful not to get too carried away with making a super-thick fish steak.  Salmon and Trout are well suited for steak cuts.

To cut the fish in to fillets, you start at the tail, leaving just enough for you to hold onto. Then using a slow back and forth motion, while trying to keep the knife as close to the backbone as possible, you work your way towards the head of the fish.

Once you’ve got your fillet separated from the fish, you can remove the skin at this time if you prefer. Simply place the fillet skin-side down on your cutting board and run the fillet knife under the meat and stay close to the skin as you cut.

This is why it’s important to have a proper filleting knife – long, thin and SHARP!

This method is used for a variety of fish types, and is particularly well suited for pickerel/walleye, perch and even bass.

There are tons of great videos on YouTube about how to fillet a fish. Each type of fish requires a slightly different technique, so do some specific searches using the type of fish you’ll be catching.

Now you’re ready to start cooking your fresh fish! The only question you have to answer now is how are you going to do that? You could keep things simple by adding a little bit of oil and fresh lemon juice, or kick things up with this delicious No Salt Gone Fishing Rub from Summer Kitchen.

Check out all the other interesting spices and seasonings you can select from at The Low Carb Grocery. Whatever you choose to do with your fish, we are sure that everyone at your table will appreciate the effort you put in to the meal.

Conclusion

As you can see, cleaning a fresh fish isn’t really all that tricky. Plus, what you’ll find is that the taste of a fish caught fresh with your very own rod and reel is unlike anything else.

There’s a great sense of pride and satisfaction that comes with being able to catch, clean and cook your own dinner, and it’s a great way to connect on a more personal level with nature. Many families enjoy fishing together, and it’s a wonderful way to add a new level of adventure to your next camping trip.

We hope that you’ve found this information helpful, and that you have a lot of good luck the next time you cast a line.