From the Admirals Kitchen – How to Make Fish Jerky

How to Make Fish Jerky

Jerky isn’t just for beef. If you have access to fresh low fat fish, then you may want to try making fish jerky. The process is pretty much the same as for beef, buffalo, venison, etc., except most of the marinades I’ve seen used call for a sweeter taste. And of course, you’ll want to remove the fine bones.

The first thing to do is select the fish you want to use like trout, perch or tilapia. For other fish with a fat content of less than 2.5% to under 5%, see the chart below (1). Remember – unlike beef, you can’t trim ‘fat veins’ out of the fish, so you want to start with the best fish possible.

Once the fish has been prepared, i.e., scales removed, de-boned, and cut into fillets, you’ll want to marinate it. If you don’t have a favorite marinade for fish, consider one of the following.


Fish Marinade 1: 1 cup boiling water, 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce, 3 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning, 1 cup light brown sugar. (Note: For a smoky flavor try adding 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke into the mix.)

Fish Marinade 2: Half cup soy sauce, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon powdered garlic, 1/2 teaspoon white (or black) pepper, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar. (Note: If you like a hotter flavor try replacing the black pepper with cayenne.)

(Each recipe should be enough for about one pound of fish. )

Directions for making marinades: For each recipe, whisk all the ingredients together and heat on low in a small saucepan. Continue heating and stirring until all of the sugar has dissolved. Then remove the liquid from the heat and allow to attain room temperature before using.

You can then place the fish portions into a zip bag with the liquid and allow to marinate for up to four hours in the refrigerator. Turn the bag about once an hour during the marinating process to make sure all of the pieces get even exposure to the marinade.

When you’re ready to start the drying process,  remove the fish from the marinade, pat dry with clean paper towels, and dehydrate just like you would beef. The same guidelines apply here . . . no stacking,  no touching of pieces and if you’r using a home oven, be sure to place meat on wire rack so liquid can drip and air can circulate. You can dry your fish jerky in a dehydrator, in a home oven or in a smoker.

When finished, store the finished fish jerky in a zip plastic bag.