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How To Clean A Stingray (Filleting Tips)

Mark Armstrong
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So you’ve managed to land yourself a stingray and now you want to know what to do with it. With many recipes out there for stingray, cooking and eating it can be a tasty reward for catching it. But where do you start?

To help you prepare for making your favorite dish, we’ve put together a quick guide to teach you an easy way to fillet a stingray.

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Before You Start – You’re Going To Need:

  • A filleting knife – this is a flexible knife that’s designed for more delicate meats, like fish, to allow you to remove the fillets and separate the skin from the edible meat.
  • Pliers – this means you shouldn’t need to pull the barb out with just your hands and should safely give you the added grip you need. The best fishing pliers reviewed.
  • A pot of water – this is only required if you’re attempting to clean a large stingray, which may be too large to fillet using the initial method.

How To Clean A Stingray The Right Way

Step 1: Remove the barb

The barb on a stingray’s tail is poisonous and if you’re struck by it, it can be fatal, even when the stingray’s dead.

To remove the barb, carefully slide your knife underneath the barb. Using pliers in your other hand, grab the barb. Keep sliding your knife under the barb as you pull with your pliers.

You should be able to feel with your knife when to pull up as you reach the end of the barb. Keeping a firm grasp of the barb with your pliers you should then be able to pull it out.

Put the barb somewhere safe. It’s advisable not to touch it, as it’ll be sharp and can still be dangerous.

Step 2: Feel for the meat

With the stingray flat, feel along the top of its body for where the wing meets the center.

You should be able to feel the difference between the softer, meatier wings and the tougher cartilage of its body. This is the point where you’ll start to cut.

Step 3: Cut the wings

With your knife, cut along the line that you’ve just identified, cutting from front to back. Cut downwards until you feel your knife hitting the cartilage.

Then, turning your knife towards the outside of the wing, slice along the top of the cartilage to the outside edge of the wing.

Video: How To Clean A StingRay

Repeat the process for the opposite wing and then turn the stingray over to repeat the process on the underside of the wings.

An Alternative Method

If you have a very large stingray, you may find it easier to cut the entire wings off. Completely removing the wings can allow you to cut the wings into appropriately sized pieces to fit inside your pot.

Putting the wings in a pot of water, to gently simmer for half an hour, can make it easier to remove the meat from the cartilage. It should also make it easier to remove the skin.

Step 4: Remove the skin

To do this, place the wing skin side down. Using your knife, gently cut along the edges of the wing between the skin and meat to make it easier for the skin to come off.

Then, carefully slice along between the skin and the meat, holding the skin down and gently pulling up on the meat. After you’ve made your initial cut, you should be able to keep slicing until you have your fillet of stingray ready to cook.


They next time you catch a stingray, hopefully you’ll be able to fillet it easily and cook yourself a delicious meal. Just remember to be mindful of the barb and carefully remove it beforehand.

Have you tried our method? Perhaps you have a favorite recipe you want to share? Leave us a comment and don’t forget to share this guide for others to follow.

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