Featured Fish Tales

Discussion in 'Fish' started by troutman, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. troutman

    troutman Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    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 .......

    snapper-spec raw.jpg

    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 ......

    fish prep 1.jpg

    ... 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 .....

    fish prep 3.jpg

    .... then begin to combine my wet ingredients by sweating the shallots and garlic in olive oil and butter.....

    fish prep 2.jpg

    ...... followed by a de-glazing with some white wine. Once cooked down I added my chopped oysters and their liquor .....

    fish prep 4.jpg

    .... 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 ......

    fish prep 5.jpg

    .... 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 ......

    fish prep 6.jpg

    ..... 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 .......

    stuffed fish pre-cook.jpg

    ..... 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 .....

    cooked fish.jpg

  2. motocrash

    motocrash Master of the Pit

    Nice troutman! We do something similar here in the DMV region with Rockfish/Striper from the Chesapeake Bay but with crab meat and Old Bay seasoning of course.

  3. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Fanatic

    Looks really tasty Troutman. I have eaten fish whole - when camping in my youth, and really enjoyed it. Now in my latter years I prefer it filleted. Yours looks delicious, and thanks for ruining my preconceived notion of what Texas looks like. Now where are those spaghetti westerns.

  4. motocrash

    motocrash Master of the Pit

    • Are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle 'Dixie'?
  5. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Fanatic

    I'll take the pistols, we have some of the most relaxed gun laws in the country(if not the most). Kind of odd for being such a blue nanny state. Although a friend of mine had a truck that played Dixie on the air horns.

  6. motocrash

    motocrash Master of the Pit

    Well there is a difference between a Lefty and a Liberal state.We have 4 counties(close to DC/beltway) out of 95 counties that do the speaking when it comes to voting because of density and transients.This is truly a red state but you have to look at the poll data to see that.The native populace votes one way.

    ....Back to our normally scheduled program of stuffed,smoked fish
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Those fish look absolutely delicious!
    I don't know how you can beat stuffed snapper!
    Very nicely done!
    Congrats on making the carousel!
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
    webowabo likes this.
  8. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Very nice I do a few fish dishes I like this
  9. motocrash

    motocrash Master of the Pit

    Congrats on the carousel troutman!
  10. troutman

    troutman Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Al, for the comment and the help !!
  11. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Those look like Emeril Lagasse fish.. Nice!
  12. motocrash

    motocrash Master of the Pit

    What do you know...You couldn't catch a fish with a stick of dynamite.:eek:
  13. myownidaho

    myownidaho Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I thought Texas was the land of “tumblin’, tumbleweeds”?!?

    Great looking fish!
  14. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Great thread and fish Troutman! I love oyster stuffing, never thought of stuffing a fish with it. Congrats on the carousel!

  15. bill ace 350

    bill ace 350 Meat Mopper

    Looks good. I know exactly how you feel - our friends from Texas had always associated New York State with NYC. Boy were they surprised when they saw the Adironacks, the Finger Lakes, all the little brooks and streams holding trout in the North Country, the experience of catching browns and lakers on Lake Ontario...
  16. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Fine fish friend! Liked!
  17. webowabo

    webowabo Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Excellent thread. I wanna try your stuffing.. Specks are my favorite..
  18. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Very nice thread man, that fish looks top notch!

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