I recently read a post about smoking crappie and bass. Many folks don't seem to like freshwater fish, especially catfish. I thought I might pass this on so more folks can enjoy freshwater fish. I grew up on the banks of a big freshwater lake in Tx. I learned from my Grandpa and he learned from his Dad. I would put properly prepared catfish up against any fish in the world. It's all in the prep. The largest catfish we caught was 58 lbs but had many in the 20-30 lb. range.. ALWAYS had a freezer full of fish. We had so much of it that many times we just ate fried fish and sliced bread for a meal. This method will also work for farm raised fish. So far everyone who has tried it has been converted. This method does in my opinion make the fish so delicate that smoke would probably over power the fish. I am sure you all have had freshwater fish and been hit with that REALLY STRONG fish taste. In some cases almost a "muddy fish taste". REALLY NASTY! Below is a tried and true method of preparing freshwater fish, especially catfish. Give it a try!
YOU CAN LEARN TO SKIN AND FILLET FISH FROM MANY DIFFERENT SOURCES. THESE ARE TIPS TO AVOID THAT "FISHY/MUDDY" TASTE. FOR LARGER LIVE FISH; 5 lbs. OR MORE, IT IS IMPORTANT TO CUT OFF THE TAIL AND ALLOW THE BLOOD TO DRAIN FOR 5-7 MINUTES BEFORE PROCEEDING. A MINUTE OR 2 IS FINE FOR SMALLER ONES. REMOVE THE SKIN FROM ALL FISH. REMOVE ANY REMAINING BONES AFTER FILLETING. TRIM OFF ANY RED, YELLOW OR DARK "MUD" COLORED FLESH ( that's the trick along with soaking in ice water ). RINSE THE FILLETS IN COLD TAP WATER. COVER THE FILLETS WITH ICE AND WATER. PLACE FILLETS IN A ZIP LOCK BAG OR BOWL WITH TIGHT FITTING LID. SEAL CONTAINER WELL. PLACE IN THE REFRIDGERATOR A MINIMUM OF 2 HOURS (OVER NIGHT IS EVEN BETTER). REMOVE FILLETS FROM CONTAINER. RINSE WITH COLD TAP WATER. COOK THE FISH, OR PLACE FILLETS INTO ANOTHER CONTAINER. COVER FILLETS WITH TAP WATER. SEAL CONTAINER WELL AND FREEZE. BE SURE TO COMPLETELY THAW FILLETS BEFORE COOKING.
Cooking: Remove from ice water. If a large fish slice the fillets length ways to about 1/4"-3/8" thick. Shake off excess water and roll in seasoned ( salt and pepper ) cornmeal. Deep fry till golden brown. Drain on paper towels. This will leave you with a VERY delicate mild tasting fish. Wouldn't steer ya wrong. That discolored meat is where the nasty taste come from. Like cleaning game, you gotta cut out "bloodshot" meat and certain glands depending on the animal. Give it a try and see what you think. We can discuss freshwater soft shell turtle in another thread. Keep Smokin!