How to use fish heads and frames

Note: this resourse is a consolidation of ideas from the awesome EWYK community. Original post can be found here.

Weowwww where to start 🤔🤣. Ya have to start with keeping the fish cold from the get go and gutting it quick. I always try use the whole fish. The heads either give away to work mates or fry them up. The wings and frames I usually marinade and bake. And whatever can’t be eaten fresh is vacpacd and frozen for later dates.

Fillets, frames and wings are eaten either by fry, bbq or smoking. The remaining gills and guts go into the compost 🙌🏼

Anything not eaten is used to make berley for the next trip, love these knives 😍

Usually split the heads open along with the wings and frame drown them in brown sugar straight into the smoker then coat the fillets in the favourite seasoning ready for a hot pan 🙌🏽🔥

Any thing thats left after filleting or smoking gets smoked and made into smoked fish hash browns 🤤

We either smoke the whole fish! Or use the frames to make a seafood stock 🐟🎣

The heads go into a broth for Builliabaise, the frames go into crab pots and the wings get cured and turned into jerky for the dogs 🤙🏻

Great for baiting up Cray pots or for composting into the vege garden

Wings frames and heads make a great soup people it’s too good 🤙

Wings are straight in the oven..but like to give away the head and frames to the community for everyone to enjoy…keeps a whole lot of people happy!!

Whatever I won’t make use of, I give to friends and family, feed as many out of it as possible
wings/cheeks get the best treatment, oven-baked with garlic and olive oil, heads for fish stock, frames fried up for chips, skin in the stock, guts/gills for the compost heap veggie candy!

We are biodiversity rangers on the Chathams. Once we’ve caught and eat our fresh blue cod. We add the frames , guts and skin to a concoction of seaweed and water , and we let that brew for about 6 months. We then use it as a fertiliser on all new trees that we plant during our planting season.

Heck yes! Smoked and made into cream cheese dip with a bit of lemon & cracked pepper. The best!

Apart from taking the fillets, I take any roe and smoke it up to munch on. I boil up the frames to make stock. The guts get puréed and used in the garden – best recipe so far are paua guts with egg cartons blended with water mmmm 🌱🌱🌱

Some of the gutting goes back in the waterways, the eggs, heads, frames and wings go to my retrieving dogs as a tasty treat and occasionally used for stock 🤤 breast and fillets for myself and the whanau, either smoked or slowly roasted 👌

Once I’m done taking off the fillets I use the gills for burly and the frames I stew up with some potatoes and carrot.🤙

Once I’m done filleting, chuck the frames in a pot and make stock, then use it to make a chowder

Currently got it all sitting in brine waiting for the smoker this arvo. Then make into a few KGs of smoked fish dip to share with family and friends to enjoy during lockdown (with a nice Chardonnay of course 😍 )

Fillets taken off, fish skin is used for fish skin crackle, head and frames go in the smoker and used for a smoked fish, gherkin and dill dip (soo good!), and the guts and gills are chucked in the freezer to make burley for the next trip👌 – what do you do @iretonliam?

After filliting my fish all frames and heads go into smoker. Can’t beat fresh smoked fish👌👌👌.

Honestly can’t beat whole fish with some lemon slices and a good amount of butter wrapped in tinfoil on the barbie

Heads to make broth, frames in the compost and smoked wings 🔥

All in the smoker, including the Roes if it’s that time of year. Smoked Roe Pate is the best. @jasonwilliamson81 bit of you.

Put it all in the smoker, head frames wings and all, beauuuutiful. @mister_kayes

Nothing better then fried fish frames and heads dusted with flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper, then into the fryer. Simple but an easy snack or goes well together as a zero waste fish n chips, my young boy loves the heads particularly and honestly the frames are underrated! If you’ve got a bigger fish scrape the frames and eat raw with a bit of soy sauce for a snack while you’re filleting.

We smoke the heads and frams up and the pick around the bones

Heads go in fish head curry. Big frames and wings go in the smoker or smaller ones get used for fish soup 🔥

I like to smoke everything and save some heads/frames for craypot baits if they aren’t eaten by me first!

Can’t beat the smoked hapuka framed, wings and heads 👌🏽

We smoke the wings and the frames and bake the heads then pick the meat off. It’s great meat 👌😏

All non filleted body parts get either smoked or roasted and then used to make stock which gets frozen into bags for using throughout the year to flavour dishes when needed or boost up chowders

Head with vegetables as soup. Frames and wings on the smoker. Most of the guts goes to the cats and the chooks.

As a NZ born son of the most Filipino woman you’ll ever meet, there’s a good deal where I use the fillets, my preferred part, and my mother FROTHS over the frame – head wings bones, liver, roe, even the skin, her preferred part of the fish. Makes soups, Sinigang, or just cooks the frame with black beans and ginger. All while I keep a dossier of pictures and videos to keep track of her genuine happiness for fish frames.

I’d use these to feed the whānau some homekill 🔥

Depends on the fish, Smoked whole is a great way to eat all the flesh. If not smoked then frames and heads make good stock for soup or chowder and some Asian dishes 🤤. Sashimi some of my fish and bake the rest in coconut milk. If I get a big blue cod or snapper then even just boiling the heads up you get a good pick off of. Gills and guts go under the fruit trees as fert.

For the heads and frames I normally boil them up into a fish stock and for the wings I always fry them up! 😋

Pack them into a chilly bin and donate them to folks in the neighbourhood. @martinhemmington get you some new knives before the ‘buy back’.

Pick the meat of heads and frames then use them to make a stock for Tom yum soup add the meat and your good to go!! Smoked rows on toast when possible is also killer 🙌

Heads and frames get used for stock or they go into the smoker! Anything else goes into the garden or for burley.

Fillet the fish and get all the fish off the frame then use the frames heads and gills for burley

Get as much pieces of meat of the fish and then use the rest for burley!

I dont selectively pick which fish I’m going to take home as generally I’m only fishing for a feed for myself, so for smaller fish they get gutted,gilled, scaled and then either baked or grilled whole, bigger fish that I do fillet typically get the heads and frames thrown in the smoker or offered on community facebook pages, occasionally the buried near my trees or dug into the vege plot

Always a winner for seafood soup or chowders! All the connective tissue and collagen break down for broth not usually anything then freeze it into ice cubes… nothing left on the frames after all the boiling away so it’s great compost with seaweed in the gardens @verity.claire.pattison Shayne could use some new knives right??

Mostly either smoke or roast my fish heads and frames!!! Wings are my favourite, especially blue cod/raawaru wings, they like little lollipops!!🙌🙌 otherwise #freefishheads

I like to bake fish whole in tinfoil with onions, lemon salt n pepper yummm

We usually smoke our wings, have a guy around the road that takes the frames for his whanau, often drop off frames and fish to the marae if they are keen, and if all else fails bury them in the garden for goodness for the soil.

Usually I donate head, frames to my friend @dwaynethesignaljr’s really Filipino mother (see his comment for details) but like to bbq the frames with moroccan seasoning, have good intentions of one day soon smoking a head and frame, and fillets beer battered, panko crumb or coat and cook.

Heads and wings always get seasoned up and into the smoker, nothing better. I’m also training my wife for the national bodybuilding comp and fish head soup is great for shredding and protein. Never waste anything in our whare!

We use heads and frames to create a fish and vegetable broth or soup, my kids love drinking it, we sear the heads and frames in the pan first. Wings tastes amazing pan fried, especially Kingfish wings with lots of garlic.

Smoke the wings and dig the frames into the garden, great fertiliser!

Fillets off then smoke everything, including the roe. Nothing better than smoked roe on crackers with beetroot chutney. (Except maybe fried flounder roe?)

Gut and gill the fish on the boat so it goes back into the eco system then whack the fillets off and remove the cheeks if the fish is big enough then use the rest for a stock!

Heads, wings and tails wrapped in foil on the smoker and enjoy every little morsel.

Kidneys and heart, smoked and made into a pate and dipped with crackers
I either got smoked the frames to dry them out then when needed make a smoked fish stock for the best chowder or crush the frames, skin m, head and guts. Mix with 8% salt, lemon and some seaweed, Chuck it into a bucket and ferment my own fish sauce.

Endless options here actually but my best recipes are always simple and inspired by my Japanese blood. I will share 7 recipes here. Recipe 1) oven bake or smoke the lightly salted heads and frames. Recipe 2) put all the left over heads and frames from the eecipe 1) into a boling water and add some salt. This makes beautiful soup. Recipe 3) use the soup from the recipe 2) as broth, add some miso paste and meat, vege and tofu or whatever you like really and make miso soup! Recipe 4) lightly pan fried wings are so good!! Make sure you scale them before you cook them. Recipe 5) don’t throw away the organs. Cook the heart, liver, roe and milt in soy, sake, mirin and sugar for 15 mins. Leave it until it gets cool. Eat it as is or with white rice. You will taste another Japanese delicacy. Recipe 6) Clean the stomach and Boil it for about 15-20 mins. Cool it down and chop it into small pieces. Mix it with soy and vinegar. This goes well with sake or white wine. Recipe 7) similar to the recipe 6 but this time the skin. Soak the skin in a boiling water for 30 seconds. Cool it down. Chop it and mix it with soy and vinegar….

I used to feed it to the dogs to be honest as I didn’t know what to do with it. After a few days at @slayallday_stirling I learnt that nothing is wasted!! Smoke those heads up, frames are floured and fried, fish broth, battered roe nothing goes to waste and its all bloody beautiful kai!!

Smoke them! Or make into broth for a chowder

Normally gift on the frames or use them chopped up as burley

Wings in the oven or smoker and give away the head and frames to friends or family who can use it 🙂 👌

guts,gills,tails and sometimes skin for the liquid fert drum for the garden, heads n wings i smoke or bake or make soup/stock,frames i leave a lil more meat than usual and flour and fry, this is actually my fave part of the fish and the fillet is actully the leftover cut!🔥🤘

Give them away to people who appreciate them more than me

Smoke them on the kettle grill.

Smoked wings for fish pies, frames and heads for fish broth , row (if lucky) smoked
BBQ snapper wings – rub Cajun spice and olive oil them whack on the BBQ. Fish heads and frames to Grandma. Guts in the garden!

Stock 🍲, fertiliser 🪴, and burley 🐠

If filleting the fish, I do it the way that leaves a little extra flesh on the bone. So either they can be baked in the oven with onions and heaps of real butter with the heads made into a boil up flaps/wings in either one with riwais on the side 😋🥰😍 making it count! #EWYK
I smoke my snapper heads, frames and wings it get ever last bit or if there’s to many for us they get bagged up and given to the boys from work 🐟

All the frame and head go into a stock to make soups and the wings get barbecued !!
Normally I give them to family friends and they use every part of the frame in a broth or smoker and they have a wonderful taste lot of kai moana

First step brain spike and then bleed fish. Guts and gills straight back in the water as burley. Fish in to an ice slurry to keep it pristine. Then fillets and wings destined for an easy cook up over the fire. Head and frame scraped for scraps to make fish cakes. Then remaining head and frame boiled for the best fish laksa 😍

Broth or stock

Whole fish is the way to go! If not frames makes an amazing stock base, onions garlic salt fish frames and simmer it all down to the most amazing broth you have ever had. 😍😍😍 @fishing_with_jacko @mattysaltypredator

All depends of how I cook the fish. If I’m roasting it whole then that’s how it all gets eaten. If I’m filleting it, the the frames go in to the stock pots, the wings can be treated liked bbq chicken wings and the head makes a good soup. But there are so many options. Snapper cheeks anyone?

Boil the heads with onions and salt.

Roll the wings in flour and fry in butter. Smoke the frame. Raw fish the fillets.

Guts into the garden beds for fert, fillets for rawfish, sashimi or any number of cooked meals, frames and wings smoked and picked clean, heads are used to make stock or given to our neighbours to make stock, any leftover goes into our creek to feed the eels
Love smoking the head, frame and wings once filleted to get at all the meat left over. Cant forget about the eyes as well!

Heads, wings and frames are either smoked, pan fried and picked apart or boiled with rice for a soup. My mum has 12 siblings, so being such a large pacific family theres always someone who would love and appreciate a feed of fresh fish! Nothing goes to waste at my house 🙌

Eat the fillets, Heads and frames we use in the craypots or give to someone else for there craypots.

We save the heads and frames up in the freezer for cray bait in the pots for the next feed.
Honestly, I’m still learning what and how I can use the wings/frames etc. I love cooking the fish whole because then you can get all the meat off of it, and I particularly love the meat on the head (cheeks, under the tongue etc) but otherwise we use what we can for bait, and responsibly dispose of the rest. (Also, my bio doesn’t say I’m from Australia, but I’ve been living here for the past year and a half)

Scale the fish vac pack with lemons and spices then pull out after a day bake whole in the oven or in a deep pan with coconut cream so good this is the one thing we needa improve on as a country is making sure all our fish get utilized because it’s not a endless source
Smoking is the favourite or boiling up for a broth. @marlmichael eating up the eye balls
Every part of the fish used to eat is shared amongst friends and family – the rest is stolen by my nonno (grandad) to fertilise his veggie garden 🐠

Brined and smoked using Pohutukawa.

Chuck the smoked flesh through a salad or just scoff it back straight off the smoker.
@matt_cornish_nz back at ya 🤙🏽

Head and frames into fishstock for chowders and special secret recipe currys and wings always oven baked or smoked 🤙🏼 guts and gills in the garden for fertiliser and tails of the big boys nailed to the tree out back

Gotta love smoking the wings and turning the frames into a stock that can be added to a bunch of dishes!

The fillets go to my parents who no longer have a boat or catch their own. All the guts is saved for berley. I swap the heads/frames for rēwena bread with a work mate or I smoke them and find the homeless people in town and give them a feed. Got to make the most of what we catch!

Fish heads go straight to grandma! She loves the cheek meat and occasionally eyes.

Buttermilk wings for the win or with a sweet/sticky sauce 🤤🤤🤤🤤

Fillets are kept and also given out to neighbours. Rest of fish is smoked. Small scraps are given to our dog shelby while I fillet 😊😊

Hands down the first thing I do is take the wings off -for the sweetest meat that falls of the bone no matter how it’s cooked. I save the heads for chowder and smoke the frames. The garden get the rest🤙

Glaze and Manuka smoke the frame and wings with brown sugar and salt.

Frames and head for a beautiful seafood stock to be frozen. Love me some fishy ramen 🐠 guts goes into the compost

After filleting I smoke up the heads and frames and use meat for a smoked fish pie or dip. Can’t beat a good smoked fish dip 👌👌. Skins, bones and guts go straight into the compost
@brendeneruera my bro usually smokes the heads n frames n wings of the ika after marinating them, sometimes the heads boiled with onion and then eaten, tino reka
Smoke the wings, keep frames for burley, and other bits into the garden sprinkled with lime. @shainepask

Marinade and either smoke them up or chuck on the bbq. Smoked bits pulled apart and awesome for making fish pies and that

Heads, frames etc. into a big ole pot with water, onion, celery, leek, lemon, garlic, carrot, parsley, salt, pep, haul leaf if you feeling fancy! Chuck thru a colander/strainer thingy. This is the point where you can either down the eyeball ya self or give it to Koro! Can save it for whenever or turn into chowder from there by adding a bunch more veges (carrots, potatoes, onion, kumara, celery and leek go hard) and some cream or milk, bit of cornflour to thicken it up, simmer it away, add back in some fish, mussels, whatever you like. Garnish with some fancy green chives or something! EAT!!

I’ve only just started eating more than the fillets. But I’ve always used the head and frames to make stock for chowder and the guts for the garden.

Chuck the heads to the bros up road and then wings and frames straight in the smoker

I smoke the head and wings and if the frame doesn’t go on the cray pot it goes in the garden as fertilizer 🔥

Smoked is my favourite, otherwise use the frames for a stock or make fish head soup🤤if it’s a big fish might fry up the frame for some nibbles. Definitely gonna copy @big_al_nz and make some smoked fish hash browns next time yummm

I’ve always been a huge fan of full utilisation, from skin made into crackling, heads into soups and broths, smoking and baking frames… there’s more to our kaimoana then just the fillets and that means you need to take less from the ocean when you fully utilise a fish

After filleting the heads, wings and frames go in the smoker! 🤤

Smoke it all!

Heads and frames for stock, wings deep fried and enjoyed with a home made aioli. Everything else in my home made fertilizer for the gardens.

Bake whole or if filleted smoke heads/frames. Also add roe to mussel fritter mix 🤙

Heads are always smoked 🤤 fillets a variety of ways- my favourite is lightly pan fried with salt pepper and lemon, partner loves it crumbed with some Panko. The absolute best thing for the frames is for broth! I use it as a base in everything- casseroles, soups, stocks, homemade dips chowders etc 🤤

Smoked them is the best way !!!

Smoke up the frames and wings and put into smoked seafood chowder, and same with the heads. Raw fish with fillets and bellies in flour n butter ✊✊ guts and gills go into berley for fish or eels no waste only the bones 💯

I love smoking up the frames and make a preserved lemon and dill dip and alway grab the cheeks out for deep fried cheeks. Head we boil up for stock
Generally start by breaking the fish down into Head / wings / frames / fillets / offal.

Depending on the size – I’ll smoke the head, wings and frames from larger fish. The meat from the head and wings I generally eat with a green salad, the meat from the frame is generally enough for a smoked fish pie.

Smaller ones I pass on to the koroua next door as he loves them for a boil up and if I have a lot he will take the excess he doesn’t use to the local marae for others.

Fillets are eaten in a variety of way and offal generally goes into the garden for fertiliser.

Thinking back about growing up, we used to just whack the fillets off and bury the rest, a sign of the times I guess when kaimoana was more plentiful, but look at where that has got us.

I feel huge guilt when I see people not respecting and utilising the whole fish these days, and will always try to educate those I see wasting fish to at least give it to others to use!

Smoke the frames and the wings. ‘Fish bite’ the fillets in panko breadcrumbs @aleidamuller_

Roasted, eat the meat off them then make fish stock to make chowder with.

Smoke the frames and the wings. ‘Fish bite’ the fillets in panko breadcrumbs with some mean TAMOLI sauce. And it is good. Yum.

Bake or smoke while then you end up picking everything off the frame anyway 👌

Butterfish frames go in a 40l drum with tap at the bottom, filled almost to the top with water, been topping up each spear, and use the water as a concentrate for a amazing garden fertiliser.

Kingfish frames get smoked and eaten, then composted. Back into the garden

Snapper usually gets wings smoked and frame boiled into a stock for future soups/meals.

I grind a lot of the fish up and freeze for healthy dog food too!

Cold smoke the head and racks then chuck in under the grill with manuka honey from our whanau hives 🤌

Love to smoke up the frames/wings. I find it super fun to pick those tasty bits of the backbone! Got a neighbour who likes the fish heads for stock/broth he likes to cook up, he’s always grateful🤙🏼

Cook the fish whole and pick it all away, best bits are in the head!

1 Comment

  • Linford
    27/01/2023 at 11:52 am

    Fish Cheeks and Wings often go to waste but are arguably the most tender tasty part of the meat! I cook mine lightly seasoned on a hot rock over the camp fire!


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