Muskies, or muskellunge, are large variations of the pike family. They’re a widely sought-after yet rare game fish.
At the same time, muskies are heavily regulated due to their dwindling population. As such, most people practice catch-and-release.
But if you want to give muskie meat a try, here are some of the easiest and scrumptious muskie recipes.
How to Clean and Filet Muskies
Cleaning and filleting a muskie is arguably as difficult as catching one. Like other members of the pike family, muskies have a good amount of Y bones, making these otherwise scrummy fish unpleasant to eat. But with a little bit of patience, you can get some perfect boneless filets from this game fish.
- Lay the muskie on its belly to cut out the first filet along its back, where there are no bones.
- Make a vertical incision right where the head ends until you hit bone.
- Next, start cutting horizontally along the backbone, making sure you’re just barely scraping the Y bones. Your cut should come up at the tail fin, leaving you with a nice boneless filet.
- You will notice three lines of bones: one main backbone and a faint line of Y bones on either side.
- On one side of the backbone, right outside the Y bone line, start cutting another filet. Your knife will follow along the rib cage, and the boneless filet will come right off. Repeat on the other side.
- The next two filets will come from the rear end. Flip the musky onto one side and make a downward incision until you hit the fin. Then, turn your knife by a 90-degree angle, and start cutting horizontally towards the tail.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Remove the skin from each filet and feel for any unwanted Y bones along the surface.
- You can cut out the innards and use the carcass to make a soup base, so nothing but guts goes to waste.
3 Best Muskie Recipes
Here are the top three delicious and fool-proof muskie recipes.
Fried Muskie Croquettes
- 4 cups minced muskie
- 5 medium red potatoes
- ⅔ cup finely-chopped green onions
- ½ cup finely-diced yellow onion
- Creole seasoning of your choice
- Breading mix of your choice
- Canola oil
- In a large bowl, combine the minced muskie, chopped onions, creole seasoning, and mashed potatoes.
- Form the mixture into small, equal-sized patties.
- Pour enough oil to shallow fry the patties in a deep skillet.
- In the meantime, pour the breading mix into any tupperware with a lid.
- Toss the patties in the breading mix until well-coated.
- Without overcrowding your skillet, shallow-fry the patties until golden brown.
Lime-Butter Basted Baked Muskie With Spicy Tropical Sauce
- 2lbs Muskie filets
- 4 tbsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp melted butter
Tropical sauce ingredients:
- ⅔ cup orange marmalade
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp coriander
- 2 tsp horseradish
- Hot sauce
- Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.
- Place the muskie filets in a baking dish.
- In a medium saucepan, combine all the tropical sauce ingredients and cook over a medium flame for 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat down as low as possible to keep the sauce hot.
- Combine the melted butter and lime juice in a bowl.
- Brush the butter-lime mixture on the muskie until fully coated.
- Bake the muskie for 20 minutes, flipping it at the 10-minute mark.
- Baste the muskie every 5 minutes while baking.
- Serve the muskie with a side of the warm tropical sauce.
Pan-Roasted Muskie With Ragu Sauce
- 2lbs muskie filets
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Green onions
Ragu sauce ingredients:
- 1 lbs tomatoes
- ¼ lb. diced smoked bacon, fat reserved
- 1 large diced leek
- 2 tbsp capers
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C
- Dice the tomatoes in medium chunks
- In a large pan, lightly cook (sweat) the diced leaks in the reserved bacon fat.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for one minute or until you can smell the garlic aroma.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook until tender.
- Add diced bacon and capers and combine well.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat an oven-safe pan on your stove and add olive oil.
- Season the muskie filets with salt and pepper, and place them in the hot pan.
- Immediately transfer the pan into your oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the filets from the pan and pour the ragu sauce over them.
- Garnish with green onions and serve.
While muskies can make for a delicious meal, you should play your part in reserving these regulated fish.
Keep in mind that the mercury levels in large muskies (40 inches and larger) are unsafe for pregnant women and children. Moreover, no one should eat more than one muskie meal each month.