|Small-Scale Processing of Fish (ILO - WEP, 1982, 140 p.)|
|CHAPTER II. SALTING - DRYING - FERMENTING|
|V. METHODS OF PREPARATION|
Shark meat has to be very carefully handled and processed due to the presence of urea in the flesh. The urea can be converted to ammonia by bacterial action and its unpleasant odour can be detected, even at low concentrations. The recommended processing method is as follows:
- It is important that sharks be bled immediately after capture. Small shark are effectively bled by cutting off the caudal fins whilst large sharks can be bled by cutting of the head and putting a water hose into the main vein, thus forcing and washing out the blood. The shark should then be gutted, the belly cavity washed and scrubbed with clean water and iced immediately (if possible).
- Fillets or steaks of the required size are then cut into 2 cm thick pieces from the shark carcase.
- Fillets can be placed in cooled 10% brine solution for 2-6 hours prior to dry salting. Whether the shark meat requires soaking in brine depends on the freshness of the meat and the species of shark. Very fresh shark generally does not require brining, an exception being made for the hammer-head shark which should always be brined. This soaking stage facilitates the removal of ammonia and helps to achieve white dry shark meat. After brining, the fillets are allowed to drain for 10 minutes.
- Each fillet is individually salted by rubbing fine grain salt into the flesh, and cured by either kenching or pickling. The pickle cure is recommended under tropical conditions for the reasons discussed previously. When adequately salted, the meat is briefly washed in water (not soaked) to remove adhering surface salt.
- The salted meat can be dried by either sun drying on sloping racks (and press piling at night) or dried in a mechanical drier. The meat is dried to about 35% water content and, at this stage, it should not be possible to press a thumb mark into it.
In good natural drying conditions, 2 cm thick fillets or steaks should be dry within 3-4 days. If the relative humidity is greater than 75%, then it would be impossible to dry heavily salted shark meat adequately.