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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 05-21-2011, 11:53 AM   #1
Soybomb
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Default Fish....teach me

Short of filet o' fish with cheese, I really don't know much about fish. I don't know how to cook it or what I should be buying. Some of you post some awesome looking fish dishes though, so teach me, what do I need to know to start including some fish in my diet? What fish should I buy? How do I turn it into something great on my kettle? Or my fryer.

I live in the rural midwest so high quality fresh fish isn't going to be happening, I'll be more buying the packs of frozen fish from aldi's or something like that. Also on that note, I looked yesterday and I believe every pack of fish at aldi's was made in china. Is that pretty common or just because I'm buying cheap? I try to avoid food from china.
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Unread 05-21-2011, 12:00 PM   #2
dkruks
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first thing i would do is invest in some fishing equiptment, there has to be fantastic fishing around you...

fish is an easy thing to cook, there are so many options...fatty fish like salmon or trout can stand up against strong flavors, while white filleted flakey fish are more delicate, and can get over powered easily.

Last edited by dkruks; 05-21-2011 at 12:16 PM..
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Unread 05-21-2011, 12:07 PM   #3
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Midwest - you should be able find fresh walleye especially if you have a local meat market.
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Unread 05-21-2011, 12:09 PM   #4
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Personally I avoid the fish/seafood from China. See if you can find frozen wild caught Alaskan salmon or American/Canadian farm raised in either a grocers or club market (Sams, Costco etc...) This is some frozen that we thawed, marinated in a terriyaki sauce and cooked indirect on a kettle with a little cherry wood. Brushed the fish with the marinade and cooked to 140 IT. Nothing beats fresh but at 15 to 20 dollars per lb here...

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Unread 05-21-2011, 02:28 PM   #5
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FilletOfish? Get a 3-4oz chunk of cod, wet it with water or milk, dredge in self-rising flour, knock off any excess, and fry it in 360 degree oil until it floats. Place on a cheap burger bun, top with a slice of american cheese, and squeeze on some tartar sauce. Voila. FilletOfish.
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Unread 05-21-2011, 03:54 PM   #6
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Being from the midwest myself, I have to agree that it's ironic how big of a lack of fresh fish is around here. I'm guessing that's due to most fresh caught fish is from the BIG water where it can be harvested in mass quantities.

Still.....I buy a lot of frozen fish and have good results. A good starter fish would be a mild white fish such as orange roughy, cod, tilapia, perch, etc. I LOVE fresh bass or bluegill as well, but I've not seen these for sale in a case anywhere. White fish like these are mild in flavor (not as "fishy") and season well and are great to use by themselves, in a salad, taco or whatever.

I also love to grill salmon and trout. These have a little stronger flavor but are very meaty and substantial. As with most seafoods, I find that simple spices like lemon, salt pepper, EVOO, lime work well. Old Bay also goes well with any fish. If you have any Todd's Dirt I think it's pairs PERFECTLY with fish or seafood in general.


Sometimes I wish I lived a lot closer to the coast so I could get in on some fresh caught stuff at fish markets.......then when hurricane season hits I'm glad I don't.
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Unread 05-21-2011, 07:38 PM   #7
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Lemon pepper is good too. Sam's frozen fish is also from China... it's ok, but not like Atlantic. If you have access to everglades spice - that works real well with about any fish.
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Unread 05-21-2011, 08:34 PM   #8
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Haddock freezes well if you can get it from a good source. Cooking can be as easy as a little butter and lemon juice. Also can be fried, overall a very universal fish to cook with.
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Unread 05-21-2011, 09:39 PM   #9
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If you have any friends who fish, that can be an awesome way to get some. I had a friend who loved smoked kingfish. He would bring me his catch (already filleted) and I would cure and smoke it for him in return for half of the finished product. Sam's club down here has had some nice farm raised steelhead in the fresh case. I mix 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar, a tablespoon of fresh chopped garlic and sprinkle it on two fillets. refrigerate overnight. In the morning rinse it off, then on the WSM at 225 for an hour to an hour and a half (internal temp 140*F) Let it rest while you are toasting up some bagels. A little schmear of cream cheese and some fresh, hot, smoked salmon (or trout) what a breakfast delight.
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Unread 05-21-2011, 10:00 PM   #10
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I grill fish pretty much every week. Just finished up some grilled grouper sammys a few hours ago. Here are a few random thoughts:
  • I'm lucky enough to have a great fresh fish source near my house (Whole Foods/Harry's in Marietta, where Alton Brown films a lot of his Whole Food's shots for his show). However, you can still produce a great meal with vacuum packed frozen fish. I get my frozen fish from Costco or Restaurant Depot. The grouper I grilled tonight was frozen from RD.
  • For the grill I prefer a firm white fish so I don't have to use basket. Usually either Grouper, Mahi Mahi or Halibut.
  • I always marinade my fish in 1 part lemon juice and 1 part EVOO for 30 minutes. This serves two purposes: it gives the gives the fish a nice "tart" flavor from the lemon and the oil will help keep the fish from sticking to the grates.
  • Along with the oil in the marinade, I always coat the grates with a heavy coat of veggy oil (a folded paper towel held in a pair of tongs, dipped into a small bowl of oil).
  • Infused butters are your best friend for fish. Start with a stick of softened unsalted butter, and then mix in any combination of fresh herbs, roasted nuts and/or citrus. Roll it into a cylinder, wrap it in wax paper and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes or so till it hardens a bit and then slice it up. When the fish is about done, stick a slab on top and let it melt over the fish. Gives it a nice glaze with some great flavor. Some of my favorite combinations: Butter/Lime Juice/Roasted Macadamia Nuts and Butter/Lime Juice/Cilantro. Use your imagination!
  • My usual method is: Season the marinaded fish with Kosher salt and pepper. After spreading some oil on the grates, place the fish presentation side down and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Flip the fish, and cook until internal temp is about 140. Just before serving, add a slab of infused butter on top of the fish until it melts and then serve.
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Last edited by Saiko; 05-21-2011 at 11:13 PM..
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Unread 05-21-2011, 10:24 PM   #11
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if i'm using crappy fish i typically fry it

when I have a real hankering for some fish, i get fresh grouper, biggest fillet I can find. put some olive oil on it and cook it using one of those fish grill baskets. Fish will flake and stick bad. Bigger fillets seem to cook easier as a result. DOn't over cook. Salt and pepper, butter/lemon sauce when its done. Simple. With grouper, as I'm sure other fish, salting before the cook can dry it out.

but then, I life on the emerald coast so its easy.

I have been buying frozen samon from winn dixie lately and grilling using a cedar plank. Plank is great. DOn't know if it adds any flavor, but the fish doesn't stick. I've just been using a little salt, pepper, papika, brown sugar. Been using the frozen samon because I've heard samon is suppose to be good for you and just to change up the normal supper routine. Not because I necassiliary have a hankering for fish.

I haven't done any grilling with catfish. However, down here grouper is locally caught and fresh, but still expensive. Lots of restuants sell grilled catfish and call it grouper.
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Unread 05-22-2011, 12:46 AM   #12
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Here in Mich, Meijer stores carry a nice selection of fresh fish.
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Unread 05-22-2011, 12:49 AM   #13
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#1 Get fresh produce. Inland folks have no excuse, there are fishmongers who fly seafood in fresh every day! Failing that, if you do buy frozen produce, get it from the best fishmonger you can and get local produce (or from the fishes best "home", e.g. King Salmon from Canada or New Zealand)

#2 Start out with some fatty fish as they are more forgiving in terms of overcooking and subtle flavours. Try grilling or steaming or pan frying a piece of salmon or ocean trout simply with butter, salt, pepper and lemon juice.

#3 Don't overcook

#4 Enjoy an amazing food you have been missing out on!
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Unread 05-22-2011, 01:49 AM   #14
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When buying fish, it will mostly be frozen, no matter where you live. But, it should also be labeled as to where it came from, and whether it is wild caught or farmed.

Frozen fish is not a problem. Unless you live on the coast, fresh, never frozen, fish is very hard to get, and have it still be good. When I moved from the coast to Dallas, I had to adjust my buying habits to include frozen fish.

But definitely look where it came from.

Some fish will keep longer than others, but none will last very long unless cooked or frozen. Again, frozen is not automatically a bad thing.

I prefer to buy wild caught fish, from the USA. I avoid anything farmed in China. I don't want fish raised in sewage.

If you can find a good fishmonger, that person will take good care of you.

When it comes to cooking, the worst thing you can do is overcook it. You need to stand over your fish while you are cooking it, and don't walk away. You want it to just go from translucent to opaque all the way through. You can use a fork to pull at the flakes to check it -- it is not like red meat where doing that will send juices out. You can also tell when the filet lifts as a firm, solid piece, without bending. It won't take long.

Honestly, if you can find a good fishmonger in your area, and establish a relationship, you will not only improve your health by eating more fish, but you will enjoy some really good meals. I miss being able to stop by the side of the road after work to grab some of today's catch, but I still manage to eat some good fish here on the prairie. I just have to shop smart.

BTW, my absolute favorite fish is Red Snapper, which is native to the Gulf of Mexico. When I lived on the coast, my neighbor had a 36-foot boat and we would go fishing for them. We always caught too much to eat at once, so we butchered them and froze the meat. Freezing them did nothing to hurt the flavor or texture.

On the other hand, I prefer farm raised catfish -- as long as the farm is in the USA.

CD
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Unread 05-22-2011, 04:04 AM   #15
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i buy fresh fish and also frozen fillets from aldis.but here aldi gets there fish from new zealand.
frozen fillets are best dipped in batter and then deep fried.
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