From left, Darel, Fred and Misty show off one of the monster redfish they took on their nighttime bowfishing adventure. The beauty of fishing the bayou is that nearly every you catch is tasty…if you know how to prepare it.
Sheepshead are a wonderful fish to fillet for the barbeque—white, flaky and delicious. Fred had a good laugh with Darel about “preserving” the fillets on this fish perfectly by taking him through the tail instead of a body shot.
Darel is a grilling master. No gas-fired grills here. Darel likes the traditional flavor you can only get through using charcoal. The trick is cooking on “the backside” of your fire when the coals are just beginning to ebb so fish don’t burn.
The grill-master at work. Darel piles on a few handfuls of woodchips to add a smoky flavor to his fish. Big barrel grills allow you to shut the door and seal in all the flavor while keeping fish more moist.
Fred gets a few tips on filleting from Darel before the serious grilling lessons. Good eating is part of Cajun culture. It’s all about getting the freshest fish, choosing the choice pieces and honoring your catch with a special preparation.
While smaller fish, like Sheepshead, can be filleted right off the bone into nice, thin pieces, bigger pieces from the gar and the huge redfish Fred caught are better steaked up. One-inch-thick steaks are perfect for the grill.
Before placing the fillets on the coals, Darel coats them with butter that has some of his special Cajun spices mixed in. Coating fish this way helps to seal in flavor and allows fillets to cook up crispy on the outside and moist inside.
When the fillets are almost ready to remove from the grill, Fred tops them off with more Cajun spiced butter. The result is something you won’t find even in the finest fish restaurants. It’s all about freshness and caring for your catch.
The perfect grilled fish, moist tender and flaky with all that great smoky flavor cooked right in. Visitors will want to be sure to bring coolers with them to take their catch home to share with family and friends.
The Louisiana bayou is a long way from Fred’s home in the Colorado Rockies, but he says the trip was worth it just to try Darel’s grilled fish. Though he had tasted gar before, it was nothing compared to the way Darel fixed it on the grill.