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#11414721 - 02/15/16 07:15 AM Tips Needed - Boy Scout Troop Catfish Fry
Scott in Flower Mound Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 05/24/14
Posts: 559
Loc: Flower Mound, TX
I've been asked to cook dinner for the adults at an upcoming Boy Scout camp out. Thinking of doing a catfish fry and was wanting to do catfish chunks (not fillets or nuggets).

Any recommendations on breaking recipes or suggestions for how to prepare and cook properly?

Thanks.

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#11414994 - 02/15/16 09:18 AM Re: Tips Needed - Boy Scout Troop Catfish Fry [Re: Scott in Flower Mound]
fishslime Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 1910
Loc: mckinney
Don't know what you mean by chunks. If the pieces are too thick, they may be hard to cook thoroughly and be fishy tasting. Personally, I would hesitate to fry anything more than 1/2 inch thick. Depending on size of the filets, I usually cut them in two strips and even quarter them if large. This seems to make the fish go further, and they cook up well too.

Breading - Corm meal and salt is hard to beat. Either shake pieces in a bag or roll in the meal in a large bowl.

The secret to frying them is to have the oil in a deep pot with a hot fire and keep the temperature at 375-390 degrees. Don't let the oil get hot enough that it smokes or you'll have some burned tasting fish. Use a thermometer in the oil and get the temp back up before putting in the next batch. This is important otherwise they'll come out mushy. Fry them till they float and don't overcrowd the pot. You'll need a slotted spoon to remove them unless using a basket.

If you are buying fish, the frozen filets sold at SAMS are good and can be cut into pieces as you desire.

That's all I know!

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#11415025 - 02/15/16 09:28 AM Re: Tips Needed - Boy Scout Troop Catfish Fry [Re: Scott in Flower Mound]
smooth move Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 10/14/12
Posts: 883
Loc: bayou vista,tx
what he said!
_________________________
es le bon ton roulet

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#11415222 - 02/15/16 10:53 AM Re: Tips Needed - Boy Scout Troop Catfish Fry [Re: Scott in Flower Mound]
Scott in Flower Mound Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 05/24/14
Posts: 559
Loc: Flower Mound, TX
Fish slime,

Since you're local, you may know about the place I'm about to mention, but I'm going to be sourcing my chunks from Captin Dave's Seafood Supply in Plano. He takes 2-3 lb. farm-raised catfish fillets and cuts them into 2-3 oz. chunks (which are larger and meatier than the belly-cut nuggets found in grocery stores). Easier to deep fry those than whole fillets out in the field.

We'll be using peanut oil, and 1-2 deep, cast iron Dutch ovens over propane to cook on. I will need to watch the oil temp as you say. Once the catfish is done, I'll transfer it to a paper towel lined warmed cast iron Dutch oven to keep the fish warm while the rest of the fish cooks. Not sure if I should soak in buttermilk or not. Also, wondering if dredging in flour, then dipping in white whites before dredging in the cornmeal mix is really needed. If heard it makes the breading stick better, and is crunchier than just coating in cornmeal.

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#11415846 - 02/15/16 03:28 PM Re: Tips Needed - Boy Scout Troop Catfish Fry [Re: Scott in Flower Mound]
fishslime Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 1910
Loc: mckinney
Sounds like you are on the right track. Am not familiar with the chunks but am sure they'll be great. As far as breading, I stand by the corn meal and salt because everyone seems to like it regardless of their individual tastes. I store them in a plastic bag with some water to keep moist and shake excess water off before breading them. The breading sticks to them fine. If you use buttermilk, etc. they may come out too battered. As for me, I think catfish should be crisp and flaky. Some people like a beer batter, but I've never found one that comes out crisp like they are at Captain D's, etc.

Also, putting them in a paper grocery sack with paper towels between layers keeps them crisp until serving. When I get ready to serve, I pull the paper towels out of the bag leaving the fish easy to reach. If you put them in a pot with a lid, the moisture/heat combination will cause them to get soggy. Also, everyone seems to enjoy digging their fish out of the bag for some reason.

The cast iron dutch oven will do a great job as will the peanut oil - it won't burn like other types of oil. It needs to be at least 1/3 full of oil to fry them properly.

Also, if your fish is coming from Brazil look elsewhere. The Brazil stuff is nasty. The best store bought catfish comes out of Mississippi.

Final note - I almost forgot but get a small kitchen fine mesh strainer and strain out the excess breading left in the pot between batches. This keeps the oil clean as any remaining breading left in the pot tends to get burned by the time you finish cooking and can affect the taste of the last few batches.

That's really all I know! Good luck.

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#11416210 - 02/15/16 06:33 PM Re: Tips Needed - Boy Scout Troop Catfish Fry [Re: Scott in Flower Mound]
Scott in Flower Mound Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 05/24/14
Posts: 559
Loc: Flower Mound, TX
Thanks! The fine mesh strainer is a great idea. I'll come back in a couple weeks and post a follow up after the Campout to let you know how it turned out. Might also have to try the paper bag trick as well. Sounds like a great idea.

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#11416334 - 02/15/16 07:24 PM Re: Tips Needed - Boy Scout Troop Catfish Fry [Re: fishslime]
TreeBass Online   content
Lt. Dan

Registered: 06/19/06
Posts: 44104
Loc: Central Texas
Originally Posted By: fishslime
Sounds like you are on the right track. Am not familiar with the chunks but am sure they'll be great. As far as breading, I stand by the corn meal and salt because everyone seems to like it regardless of their individual tastes. I store them in a plastic bag with some water to keep moist and shake excess water off before breading them. The breading sticks to them fine. If you use buttermilk, etc. they may come out too battered. As for me, I think catfish should be crisp and flaky. Some people like a beer batter, but I've never found one that comes out crisp like they are at Captain D's, etc.

Also, putting them in a paper grocery sack with paper towels between layers keeps them crisp until serving. When I get ready to serve, I pull the paper towels out of the bag leaving the fish easy to reach. If you put them in a pot with a lid, the moisture/heat combination will cause them to get soggy. Also, everyone seems to enjoy digging their fish out of the bag for some reason.

The cast iron dutch oven will do a great job as will the peanut oil - it won't burn like other types of oil. It needs to be at least 1/3 full of oil to fry them properly.

Also, if your fish is coming from Brazil look elsewhere. The Brazil stuff is nasty. The best store bought catfish comes out of Mississippi.

Final note - I almost forgot but get a small kitchen fine mesh strainer and strain out the excess breading left in the pot between batches. This keeps the oil clean as any remaining breading left in the pot tends to get burned by the time you finish cooking and can affect the taste of the last few batches.

That's really all I know! Good luck.



This guy ^^ knows what he's talking about thumb

Keep it simple, the Leaders will be pleased, and the boys will be wishing THEY thought about catfish when they planned their menu
_________________________

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and fishing stories that my kids can share with others


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#11417171 - 02/16/16 08:10 AM Re: Tips Needed - Boy Scout Troop Catfish Fry [Re: Scott in Flower Mound]
fishslime Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 1910
Loc: mckinney
One last thing - bend the ears of the strainer back so it will scrape along the bottom of the pot when using it.

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#11422351 - 02/18/16 08:40 AM Re: Tips Needed - Boy Scout Troop Catfish Fry [Re: Scott in Flower Mound]
Capt. Mike O'Dell Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 10/17/10
Posts: 5
Try using 2/3 flour and 1/3 cornmeal, the higher the corn meal the more it comes off and will burn in cooker. We fry in wok make from 24'' heavy plow disk, 20 oz. peanut oil will cook 10 # plus of fish and gallon of oysters in 25 min. You can keep oil hotter in wok than dutch oven, less reheat time. When done let rest on edge, it stays hot and gets rid of excess oil.

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#11422356 - 02/18/16 08:41 AM Re: Tips Needed - Boy Scout Troop Catfish Fry [Re: Scott in Flower Mound]
Capt. Mike O'Dell Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 10/17/10
Posts: 5
Make sure to leave lid partially open, if closed it will melt breading off cooked fish.

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#11428847 - 02/21/16 03:00 PM Re: Tips Needed - Boy Scout Troop Catfish Fry [Re: Scott in Flower Mound]
machinist Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 1651
Loc: Lake Graham, Lot 30
Originally Posted By: Scott in Flower Mound
Fish slime,

Since you're local, you may know about the place I'm about to mention, but I'm going to be sourcing my chunks from Captin Dave's Seafood Supply in Plano. He takes 2-3 lb. farm-raised catfish fillets and cuts them into 2-3 oz. chunks (which are larger and meatier than the belly-cut nuggets found in grocery stores). Easier to deep fry those than whole fillets out in the field.

We'll be using peanut oil, and 1-2 deep, cast iron Dutch ovens over propane to cook on. I will need to watch the oil temp as you say. Once the catfish is done, I'll transfer it to a paper towel lined warmed cast iron Dutch oven to keep the fish warm while the rest of the fish cooks. Not sure if I should soak in buttermilk or not. Also, wondering if dredging in flour, then dipping in white whites before dredging in the cornmeal mix is really needed. If heard it makes the breading stick better, and is crunchier than just coating in cornmeal.



I only see 1 problem with all of this and that is the peanut oil. Anytime I am cooking for a bunch of people I don't know I always use canola oil because of peanut allergies. If you do use peanut oil be sure to let everyone know.

Johnny
_________________________
I fish on the edge and stay out of the middle

99 BassCat Jag w/225 Merc Optimax

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