I love fried catfish. But what I don't like is the odor it leaves in the house. So when I got the craving for some fried catfish and without a working outdoor cooking unit I had to come up with some way to cook fry the catfish without using the stove in the kitchen. A few months ago I used my charcoal chimney and a small cooking grate to grill some sausages. Cooking directly on the chimney worked perfectly and I've used it a couple of more times to grill small amounts of meat. The thought came to me that I could use the charcoal chimney to heat the cast iron skillet and fry my catfish. I lit half a chimney of Kingsford charcoal and let it ash over. I knew the charcoal would get the cast iron skillet hot, but I wasn't sure how long it would burn so added five or six unlit briquettes to the already hot charcoal.
This worked well but the one thing I would do differently next time is find something to raise the chimney up off the flat surface it was one. This will allow more airflow and keep the temperature steady through out the whole fish fry.
While the skillet was preheating I breaded the catfish in a little corn meal seasoned with a great seasoned salt I purchased at Granville Market in Vancouver, Canada called “Smoked Garlic Chipotle Salt” from Oddball Organics.
When I was growing up my mom used to fry fish breaded with corn meal and even now after many, many years of eating fish breaded with different methods corn meal is still my favorite way of doing it.
Once the cast iron skillet was heated and the oil up to temperature I was ready to fry some catfish. It was no problem getting the oil heated to over 350 degrees. The only real problem with cooking this way is there isn’t any way to control the temp. There is no higher or lower. You’ve just got to hope you get the right amount of briquettes. Trial and error is the best way to learn this method.
The catfish fried without a hitch.
A big baked potato, tartar sauce and corn makes for a great Friday evening meal. Clean up is simple and I didn’t have to worry about lighting candles or opening windows to air the house out.