Late spring and early summer around here mean it’s time for a family catfish noodling trip. We load up once or twice per year and meet some buddies with similar interests to root around the lakeshore in search of a hole that might be big enough to hold a giant flathead catfish. Once we find a likely spot, we take turns diving into the dark, murky water to root around with our hands in search of a fish. If we get lucky, we grab a big fish by the mouth, or, just as often, it grabs us by the hand, and we yank it out of the hole and to the surface. It’s all great fun.
Since it takes several years for a catfish to reach fun noodling size, we release the vast majority of the fish we catch, unharmed, to head back to their hiding spots. But big flathead catfish taste good, and every now and then we keep one for the table. One of our favorite cooking methods for a big catfish steak comes from our noodling buddy Tim. He likes to grill them on his pellet grill until the meat is just cooked through and begins to flake apart. On our Traeger set at 250 degrees, that takes about an hour for a 1-inch-thick steak.
We like to give our catfish a light coating of olive oil and a sprinkle of Greek-style seasoning rub as it grills. Serve over a bed of long grain and wild rice, with some asparagus or other green vegetable, for a restaurant-worthy meal from your own kitchen.
2 to 3 pounds flathead catfish steaks, 1 inch thick, red meat removed
2 lemons, sliced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
Pinch of black pepper
Set your Traeger Grill at 250 degrees.
Drizzle olive oil over both sides of the catfish steaks and rub to coat well. Blend the seasoning ingredients.
Sprinkle the rub evenly over both sides of the fish. Gently place the steaks on a clean grate of your preheated grill.
Grill for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the fish is white and flaky and the juices on the surface begin to dry. Serve over a bed of rice, and top each steak with a lemon wedge or slice for squeezing onto the fish.
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