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Smoked Catfish

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Our easy smoked catfish recipe is seasoned with soul food seasoning and served with a delicious lemon butter sauce. It’s perfect for family gatherings or casual dinners!

Hey there, family! Catfish is the ultimate soul food ingredient, am I right? When you hear “fish fry,” chances are, we’re talking about catfish, with its mild, sweet flavor and meaty texture.

But every now and then, we like to switch it up. Instead of our favorite Southern fried catfish, we decided to make a healthier recipe—smoked catfish! Marrekus also made a mouthwatering lemon butter sauce; it’s the perfect finishing touch!

This easy smoker recipe, seasoned with soul food seasoning, is a game-changer. Don’t have a smoker? No problem! You can easily adapt this recipe for the grill or oven (we’ve included recipe instructions for both below).

Serve your smoked catfish with all your favorite fixings, from veggies to potato salad. This recipe would also be great for smothering it in a rich étouffée or going for that classic blackened flavor.

What you’ll love about this recipe:


  • FLAVOR – Our smoked catfish is seasoned with soul food seasoning and smoked to perfection, resulting in tender, flaky fish with a delicious smoky flavor.
  • JUICY & TENDER – The Lemon Butter Sauce adds a burst of freshness and richness to the dish, with its tangy lemon flavor.
  • VERSATILITY – Smoked catfish fillets can be served as a main dish alongside a variety of side dishes, making it a versatile option for family meals or special occasions.

Ingredients

Lemon Butter Sauce

  • Unsalted butter
  • Lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish

Note: Soul food seasoning adds a flavorful kick to smoked catfish fillets. If you don’t have soul food seasoning, feel free to substitute with your favorite seasoning blend or create your own using a combination of spices that you enjoy.

How to Make Smoked Catfish

  1. Prepare Catfish: Rinse catfish fillets under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. Spray both sides of fillets with cooking spray.
  2. Season Catfish: Sprinkle the soul food seasoning evenly over both sides of the fillets, ensuring they are well coated with the seasoning.
  3. Preheat the Smoker: Preheat your smoker to 250°F (121°C). Place a wire rack or sheet pan inside the smoker to provide enough space.
  4. Smoke Catfish: Transfer the seasoned catfish fillets to the rack or pan in the smoker. Smoke catfish at 250°F for approximately 20 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). Adjust the smoking time if needed, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Lemon Butter Sauce For Catfish

Our Lemon Butter Sauce takes your smoked catfish to the next level. Made with simple ingredients like fresh lemon juice and rich unsalted butter, this sauce adds a burst of flavor.

  1. Prepare: While the catfish is smoking, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and season with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Keep the sauce warm until smoked catfish fillets are ready.
  2. Serve: Once the catfish is fully smoked and reaches the desired internal temperature, carefully remove them from the smoker. Drizzle over the smoked catfish fillets before serving.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Choosing the Right Catfish: When selecting catfish fillets, aim for fresh fillets for the best flavor and texture for your dish.
  • Proper Preparation: Before seasoning, make sure to rinse your catfish fillets under cold water to remove any impurities. Pat them dry with paper towels to ensure the seasoning sticks well.
  • Even Seasoning is Key: Sprinkle the soul food seasoning evenly over both sides of the fillets. This ensures each bite is packed with flavor. If you don’t have soul food seasoning, you can create your own blend using spices like paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.
  • Preheat and Prepare Your Smoker: Consistency in temperature is crucial for achieving that perfect smoky flavor. Preheat your smoker to 250°F (121°C) before adding the catfish. This ensures a stable cooking environment and even cooking throughout.
  • Keep an Eye on the Internal Temperature: While our recipe suggests smoking for approximately 20 minutes, the thickness of your fillets may vary. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the fish. It should reach 145°F (63°C) for safe consumption.
  • Serving: Drizzle the warm Lemon Butter Sauce generously over the smoked catfish fillets. Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or dill for a pop of color and added flavor.

What to Serve with Smoked Catfish

Smoked catfish pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Here are some options to consider:

  • Potato salad
  • Sautéed spinach or zucchini
  • Coleslaw: Our creamy and crunchy BBQ Coleslaw is a Southern-inspired side dish that brings the perfect blend of textures and flavor.
  • Green Beans: Fresh green beans and red potatoes are simmered in a rich and flavorful broth with smoked turkey, onion, garlic, and seasonings.
  • Collard Greens: Slow-simmered greens with smoked ham hocks, onions, seasonings, and a dash of red pepper flakes.
  • Mac and Cheese: Our recipe features cheddar, Monterey jack, and mozzarella, and is made without a roux.

Can I use a grill or oven instead?

Yes! If you don’t have a smoker, you can make grilled or oven baked catfish instead.

Oven Baked Catfish

Preheat the oven to 250°F (121°C), prepare and season catfish fillets, then place them on a lined baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C).

Grilled Catfish

Preheat the grill to medium-low heat, season catfish fillets, and place them on the grill grate. Cook for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C).

FAQ

How do I know when catfish is fully cooked?

When smoked catfish fillets are fully cooked, the internal temperature will be at least 145°F (63°C). Also, smoked catfish will be tender and moist, and easily flake apart with a fork without any resistance. Finally, cooked catfish will turn from translucent to opaque with no raw-looking areas.

What type of wood should I use for smoking?

Some popular wood options for smoked catfish include oak and pecan. They both provide a moderate smoke flavor with hints of sweetness and nuttiness.

Summary

Our smoked catfish recipe is made with soulful seasoning and served with a lemon butter sauce. It’s bound to become a family favorite! So fire up the smoker (or grill or oven), and get ready for a taste of healthier Southern comfort.

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Smoked Catfish

  • Author: cooks with soul
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: main course, dinner
  • Method: smoking
  • Cuisine: american, barbecue, southern

Description

Our easy smoked catfish recipe seasoned with soul food seasoning and served with a delicious lemon butter sauce. Perfect for family gatherings or casual dinners!


Ingredients

Scale

Lemon Butter Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse catfish under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Spray both sides with cooking spray.
  2. Sprinkle soul food seasoning evenly over both sides fillets, ensuring they are well coated.
  3. Preheat smoker to 250°F (121°C). Place a wire rack or sheet pan inside.
  4. Transfer seasoned catfish to rack or pan in smoker.
  5. Smoke catfish at 250°F for approximately 20 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). Adjust smoking time if needed, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
  6. Prepare the Lemon Butter Sauce: While catfish is smoking, melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
  7. Stir in fresh lemon juice and season with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Keep sauce warm until the smoked catfish is ready.
  8. Once catfish is fully smoked and reaches the desired internal temperature, carefully remove from smoker.
  9. Drizzle with sauce over the smoked catfish fillets before serving.

Keywords: smoked catfish, lemon butter sauce, smoker recipes, catfish

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