• Master Bates

Pickled Pike, The Minnesota Way

Welcome to pickling fish 101. To have any interest in this article you must be Scandinavian or some sort of crazy. I happen to meet both of those criteria. A few weekends ago I went up to Devils Lake to find some spring walleye but only returned with Northern Pike. I decided to give pickling fish a try. This is a hell of a good recipe and will work with any other non-fatty fish. I included some tips and other things I learned along the way. This recipe will make enough solution for 6-pint jars worth. You could scale this recipe up and down as needed.


  • About 1 pound of Northern Pike, filleted into bite sized pieces (I had the fillets from 3 fish) (Keep the pike shorter than 30 inches in length)

  • 2 cups Pickling salt

  • 2 cups Sugar

  • Lots of Vinegar

  • Canning jars, lids, and seals

  • 1 jar of Pickling spice

  • A glass jar or bowl

  • Bottle of White wine (not for drinking thank god)

  • Water

  • Onions, Peppers, and other type of vegetable you want to try

  • A 30 rack of Busch Light (this is not optional)

The first few steps are way too easy. For step 1 just add water and pickling salt into a big glass bowl or jar. Then add the fish to it. Cover and refrigerate for 48 hours and stir the water and fish about 24 hours later. Be sure to enjoy some Lattes right about now. Step 2 is just as easy. Drain off the salt water and rinse the fish in cold water. Then add enough white vinegar to cover all the fish chunks. Refrigerate for 48 hours and stir after 24 hours again. Also, an optimal time to enjoy some Busch.

Then I disinfected my canning jars and lids by boiling them in water for a few minutes. Putting them through the dishwasher is also an option. While the jars are cooling, it’s time to start making the brine. The brine is 3 cups vinegar, 2 cups sugar, and 3/4 cup of white wine. I used Moscato and saw its a preferred option in a lot of pickled fish recipes. Then after the solution is slightly simmering and the sugar is all dissolved, add the pickling spice mix.

While the brine is now cooling, start cutting up your onion and other vegetables you wish to use. I would highly recommend the onions no matter what. Then it’s time to pack the jars. Layer of fish, layer of veggies, and repeat until the jar is nearly full. Leave about half an inch of room at the top. Fill the jar up with the brine you just made until it covers everything, seal, put in the fridge for 5 days and its ready to go.

The 5 days of waiting seems to take forever. But you have the rest of that 30 rack to help you along the way. Be sure to save at least one to sip on while you try your fish once it’s ready. The fish will be good in your fridge for a few months. But there is no way in hell this tasty fish will last that long. Especially if your Norwegian grandpa gets a hold of it.

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