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Whitlow Smoke School and Southern Fried Catfish

 Go Together Like Peas and Carrots

That's What My Momma Always Used to Say

Southern Fried Catfish Recipe

Ever seen a cat fish

How do he hold the pole?

The secret to consistently good catfish are ingredients, grease, temperature, time, and the joy of cooking.

Ingredients:

You can purchase these ingredients on-line from the above links. You can usually find these ingredients at any of the following stores nationwide.

Super Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Kroger, Albertsons, Winn Dixie, or Brookshire,

You will also need a propane bottle, and a Cajun Fish Fryer which you can purchase on-line or at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes,  or Sam's.

Preparation

It is best to cut the fish fillets in small cross-sections about one or two inches wide. My all time favorite catfish restaurant is Middendorf's, located at the Interstate 55 Manshack exit between  New Orleans and Hammond. Middendorf's is famous for thin fried catfish that they filet twice into very thin pieces. I have tried to copy their recipe.  This recipe also works for pan-fish what you catch with your bait. It works best if you cook the fish by your boat on the Louisiana Bayou.

Southern fried Catfish Recipe

  1. Thaw out frozen fish or soak fresh fish in water for a while

  2. Cut fish in small 2 inch pieces

  3. Coat the fish in Tony Chachere's or Zatarain's  or Slap Ya Mama Cajun or Creole fish seasoning

  4. Store seasoned coated fish for 30 minutes or overnight. Keep refrigerated.

  5. If you like hot spicy fish add cyanide pepper- I mean cayenne pepper

  6. When you are ready to cook, add peanut oil to pan, deep frying works best

  7. Turn on the burner full blast- let the grease get hot at least 300 degrees- use a thermometer. Keep the fish below 320 degrees.

  8. Drink a beer

  9. Pour some breading in the bottom of a Wal-Mart plastic bag

  10. Add a layer of fish.

  11. Shake the bag

  12. Add more breading

  13. Add more fish

  14. Shake the bag

  15. Add more breading

  16. Add more fish

  17. Shake the bag

  18. Layer the catfish with breading and fish, top it off with more breading

  19. Shake the bag

  20. Drop the fish one piece at a time into the hot peanut oil- if the grease is not hot, the breading will not stick. If the grease gets too hot, you burn the fish.

  21. Cook for about 3 minutes- When the fish floats, it is done. Use a basket to remove the fish.

  22. It should be crispy on the surface and white and flakey on the inside.

  23. Fry your French fired taters, love them French fried taters and hushpuppies in the same grease you used for the fish.

  24. Catfish tastes better when it is served hot. I don't care for cold greasy fish.

  25. Drink  more beer

  26. Eat fish with tarter sauce and Ketchup. Ketchup has natural mellowing agents designed by Russian communist spies.

  27. If life gets you down, eat more Ketchup. That's what my momma always used to say. 

Well, give me just a moment to tell this story and then I will teach you how to cook the best catfish you ever put in your mouth.

I was born and raised on the bayous of Louisiana. I learned to cook before I cold walk. Louisiana has some of the best food on the planet,  without a doubt. That is if you avoid asking any questions such as, "Exactly what is this that we are eating." It is the only place where the cook stands over a boiling pot of water with a wooden spoon, slapping the top of the pot screaming, "Get back in that pot, what in the heck do you think you are doing!!" I have had to get down on my hands and knees and pick up manys of  pinching crawfish and put them back in the hot tub.

My momma always used to say, "The best way to a man's heart is through his stomach". I also learned a lot about business from my momma who ran a secondhand furniture and whatnot, and antique business for 50 years at flea markets in Canton Texas, Natchez, Mississippi, and The Bonnie and Clyde Trade Days in Arcadia Louisiana, as well as her New-TA-U store on the Ouachita River in Caldwell Parish, Columbia or Clarks, Louisiana. She and my daddy wore tee shirts that said, "We buy junk and sell antiques". Incidentally, my brother, Ricky, printed those tee shirts twenty years ago. I guess it wont hurt to put in a plug for my crazy brother Ricky. He still makes people laugh and still silk screens tee shirts, hats, and all types of signs at Logos in Columbia Louisiana. He can take orders and ship things about anywhere. He offers the same kind of down home service as our smoke school and my momma's New-TA-U Store.  

People came from miles around to New-TA-U to search for a bargain and have free hot fresh Community coffee, and a pot luck lunch, usually turnip greens,  rice, and cornbread with homemade cake or pecan pie provided by any customer who wanted to show off. New-TA-U was the Side Tap Cafe of Caldwell Parish. You could catch up on all the gossip of who's seeing who and who's doing what. Outside of family reunions, New-TA-U was the best place in Caldwell Parish to find a date. I used to go there to help Momma and Daddy, just to watch the girls. It was about the only place to watch the girls other than the swimming hole at the Locks and Dams. Like me, the store was always very disorganized. Merchandise scattered on tables that were hard to negotiate, on the floor under the tables, hung on the wall, in the isles, hanging out the broken window. hanging from the ceiling. Watching the girls shop was almost as fun as watching them work out in the gym. The store was in the same old two room school house where Momma went to school when she was a little girl in the 1920s. It had not seen a coat of paint in years. The roof leaked, the windows were broken out. The old hardwood floors were rotten. and a thousand hubcaps covered all the outside walls. It was not air-conditioned either and it gets darn hot in the dog days of summer in Louisiana. Heck I lost 10 pounds there one day just watching the girls sweat while they were shopping. 

Momma and Daddy always kept the price low. Rich people went to antique auctions and rednecks went to New-TA-U. At antique auctions, the price is always going up. This was not so at New-TA-U. If you waited long enough you could get a whole house full of furniture and all of your Christmas toys for a buck-eighty five. If you waited long enough, you could wait until Daddy hauled the stuff that did not sell out to the trash pile next to the highway. Then you could furnish all of your rent houses absolutely free. Until just the other day, I never owned a new mattress or anything that wasn't used. Heck all the presents my Momma ever gave me came from New-TA-U. I hate getting new cassette tapes and CD's. It takes me an hour just to get the darn plastic wrap off. Who in the world invented this plastic coatings? Every time go to Wal-mart, I have to remember to take a pocket knife or a hack saw just to get the plastic coating off my cell phone charger. Now this is pure torture. And child proof lids on medicine. It takes me 45 minutes to open a bottle of aspirins. And who in the heck invented electric plugs with the three prongs. The round one you have to cut off with a hacksaw so you can plug in your computer. I bet I have brought a million dollars worth of three-way adaptors. What good does it do? Now they want to torture us more by making one of the dashed type prongs shorter than the other on. Heck, I guess it keeps us from plugging things in upside down. I once dated a girl in Orlando Florida, Cathy Ladney. She had long straight black hair and she claimed she was a witch. She got me to sit on the wood floor with a group of friends. She said we were going to have a sťance. She asked me to look at this clock on the wall behind her. I did. Then she said a few witchy words and wiggled her nose. She then asked me again to look at the clock. The darn thing started running backwards. I got the hell out of there pronto. Later she admitted that the clock had a fault. She could unplug the clock and plug it in again with the plug upside down and the clock would run backwards. Have you ever heard of that or is it just me. And one more thing, Why is is that when you buy a house or rent a motel room, they have to hide all the receptacles. Why does the chest of drawers always have to go in front of the receptacles. Every single time I check into a motel, I have to take the mattress off the bed to plug in my computer. And that is another invention. Heck, I paid a thousand dollars for a deck of cards.

Momma and daddy always had the time to tell stories of Louisiana life or to listen with a sympathetic ear. The conversation was always refreshing at the old pot-bellied railroad stove at New-TA-U.  I got my tradition of providing a catfish lunch at smoke school from my many years of witnessing the Caldwell Parish sheriff elections. If you did not provide a free catfish supper, then you were not going to get any votes. And that my friends is the way it was. I have heard many people say, the only reason I come to Whitlow Smoke School is to listen to your stories, have fun, and eat catfish.

It ain't over until the fat cat sings

 

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