Some folks who have never set foot in Texas, have this misconceived notion that all of Texas has this John Wayne-like landscape of tumble weeds, sand and lots of cactus. If you were in west Texas around say El Paso, you would be correct but Texas has 5 distinct regions that are as different as night is to day. Along the Gulf Coast, where we live, we're more like Florida and southern Louisiana then say Phoenix. Along our coast we have a number of barrier islands that have created an entire bay system and inter-coastal waterway. Outside of that is the open Gulf of Mexico. Thus there are two major marine biospheres that produce an abundance of seafood both in and out of our shoreline. Of course the Gulf has too numerous an amount of species to even begin to mention here, but the sport fish most popular along the reefs and in the deeper part of the offshore regions is the Red Snapper (or Snapper for short). Within the inshore areas of our vast bay systems the fish that most dominates the stalking wade fisherman and best represents Texas fishing is the Speckled Sea Trout (aka the Speck). Most folks like to fillet these fish and consume fried or grilled or even smoked. Our family prefers the whole fish which is consumed head and all. Of course for the bone weary squeamish, it does take a rather delicate skill to keep from ingesting pin bones but dogging those pesky little needles is worth it to me. Below are a couple of fish I caught last summer and had in my freezer. Along with Red Drum (or Redfish) and Flounder, these are the species we eat on a regular basis and try to keep stocked in our freezer. So let me introduce to you, Mr. Snapper and his mate, Mr. Speck, fully cleaned, scaled and gutted ....... I wanted to smoke these guys but first wanted to make a stuffing for added depth of flavor and texture. I normally do a breaded stuffing using either oysters, shrimp, scallops or crab meat (sometimes in combination). In this case I decided on oyster. I started my mise en place using a medium shallot, fresh diced garlic, cilantro and fresh dill ...... ... I then took a pint (per fish) of fresh oysters and gave them a quick chop, reserving part of the liquor. The same would be true if I used shrimp, scallops or crab meat. You want to distribute the meat into the breading ..... .... then begin to combine my wet ingredients by sweating the shallots and garlic in olive oil and butter..... ...... followed by a de-glazing with some white wine. Once cooked down I added my chopped oysters and their liquor ..... .... I reduce and thicken with some additional butter while I prepare my dry ingredients. I used about five slices of fresh bread (day old or crusty left over works great too) along with the chopped cilantro, Tony Chacheres seasoning and ground pepper blending all in the food processor ...... .... then combined the dry with the wet in the pan. I like to leave the mixture a bit wet so it sticks and better conforms to the cavities of the fish. To be made drier additional bread crumbs help to bind up the mixture ...... ..... I then simply stuffed the fish cavity as well as into the head. I place some sprigs of fresh dill weed in with the stuffing, love the flavor of dill with fish. The outside of the fish is prepped with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, more of the Tony C. seasoning and some dried dill. Ready for their rendezvous with the smoker ....... ..... I don't generally like to impart a lot of smoke to this fish, unlike something meaty like sword or salmon, the meat here is a bit more delicate and easily over powered. They cooked for about 45 minutes at 300* to an IT of around 135-140*, making sure the area around the stuffing is thoroughly heated through ...... Unfortunately when done I walked away to prepare something else and the ravenous crowd of hungry folks slaughtered my catch before I could get a good pic, but below is the end result. Fish super tender, juicy with a nice light smoke. Stuffing was off the charts, but I'm partial to oyster stuffing. Again I realize some folks just don't want to tackle whole fish but fillets on the smoker are to die for as well. Fresh seafood seems to take a back seat to beef and pork but will always be high on the Troutman's list of served cuisine ..... SO KEEP YOUR TACKLE DRY AND YOUR HOOKS WET !!!! TROUTMAN OUT !!!!!