The Saltwater Catfish is regarded by most as a trash fish that is nothing more than a bait stealing waste of space. If you were to mention to someone that you actually have eaten this bottom dwelling beast of the sea you would more often than not receive strange looks and raise some serious questions in reference to your mentalFried Catfish health. The stigma that has been placed on this fish and stories I have heard about people who eat and claim to enjoy it has led me here to play guinea pig for you once again.  I recently have been doing research and looking into which so-called ‘trash’ fish people are eating and the saltwater catfish caught my eye because of their great abundance where I live.   So, without further ado, the question that has led you here today. “What does it taste like?” Well, here it is.

I caught a decent sized catfish the other night and since the research I mentioned previously had many positive reviews I decided to take the catfish home and give it a try.  In order to give this fish a fighting chance and overcome my own hesitations about eating a saltwater catfish I decided to whip up a simple beer batter and give the fish a dip in the deep fryer.   With the fish fried and tartar sauce in hand I take my first bite of crispy saltwater catfish, chew, swallow and feel like slapping myself.  Beer batter fried saltwater catfish tastes like, well, beer batter fried fish.  The catfish is a very light, mild flavor with a hint of sweetness that reminds me of any other fish and chips fish you would encounter at any restaurant.  There was no foul, muddy flavor that I had come to expect and as I thought of all the saltwater catfish I had thrown back over the years I was amazed at how this fish had gotten the reputation it does.  In searching for the culinary worth of this fish I came across the following reactions from people who were asked to describe saltwater catfish:

Filleting a Catfish“Bottom feedersBoy fishing eat heavy metals, dead stuff, and poo…

Think about it…”

“nasty nasty nasty”

“gross”

“Saltwater cats are just nasty… muddy flavor, nasty diet…”

One recurring piece of advice I found was that if you are preparing the catfish yourself be sure that you remove all of the red meat from your fillets.  The red in catfish fillets is blood and can add an irony flavor to the fish that you may find unappetizing.  Perhaps this simple step is ignored by all the naysayers and lends to the bad reputation and ‘muddy’ flavor saltwater catfish has come to be associated with.  The common belief and misconceptions about this fish, in my opinion, couldn’t be further from the truth.  Plain and simple, saltwater catfish tastes like fried fish and if you like fried fish then you might find it worth giving a try sometime.

I’ve been on a bison (buffalo) kick lately and why not?   It has less fat, calories and cholesterol.  It provides more vitamins and nutrients.  Bison is hands down a far superior food than regular old beef.  Though the American bison population was once as low as around 150 living in the wild (over hunting  had wiped out a population estimated at 40-60 million in just 40 years!), this amazing animal has made a remarkable comeback thanks to the efforts of bison farmers and various other organizations.  The current population of American bison is estimated to be over 350,000 with many of these being raised for our tables.  This is a far cry from the original population, however it is an amazing feat none the less.bison2With the continual growth of bison farms and the ever expanding American palate, bison products are being offered more commonly at local grocery stores.  Often, all you will find is ground bison.  Ground bison is as amazing in comparison to beef as all bison products are, however we are talking about the juicy, beautiful wonder of the bison ribeye.  I purchase my bison from Ream’s Elburn Market simply because it’s what is available locally and because the quality of product they provide is outstanding.  You can order your steaks online if you can’t find any locally from various interenet companies, such as Buffalo Hills Bison Meat.  Wherever you get your steaks you can be sure you will be eating a steak like no other.

As always, “what does it taste like?”  Right?  Okay.  I like to cook my steaks to medium done with just simple salt and pepper seasoning.  Why ruin a good thing?  You can, of course, season your lovely bison ribeye steak however you like.  To each his own.  The bison ribeye tastes like any other ribeye except that it’s, well, more ‘manly’.  Bison tastes like beef, the way beef tasted before we bred all the flavor right out of the meat.  It’s mildly gamy and a little more irony tasting than regular beef, though not enough to be offensive.  It tastes like steak.  Real steak.  The first time I had a bison ribeye it reminded me very much of an excellent cut of venison.  If you are a fan of a hearty beef flavor then I am certain you will love trying some bison ribeyes’.   Enjoy!

When it comes to making a good bratwurst, Ream’s Elburn Market, located an hour west of Chicago in Elburn, has really set the standard(and they raised the bar by a mile in doing so).  They’re bratwursts are so perfectly delicious that they won a national bratwurst competition.  Randy Ream, the owner, is even in the Cured Meat Hall of Fame for

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crying out loud(he also has won over two hundred other awards)!  I remember the first time I tried one of these bratwursts.  I took that first bite and all I could do was smile and try to stop myself from inhaling the rest of it in a single bite. So, on to more important things than hundreds of awards and me telling you how fantastic these bratwurst are … you want to know, “What does it taste like?”.  Well, I just so happen to have some of these worth-their-weight-in-gold-sausages-of-the-gods in my freezer, saved for a rainy day, and prepared them just moments ago.  When you find a food that is this good you had better have some on hand when talking about it or your stomach could eat yourself into non-existence just thinking about it.

The first thing that comes to mind when you take the first bite is simply, “wow”.  The all natural cimage_005asings give this bratwurst a great “pop” when you bite into it.  The juices released are unbelievable.  This is by far the most juicy bratwurst I have ever eaten.  The taste is lightly peppery with a BIG sausage taste.  The blending of the meat and spices is phenomenal and is joined by a hint of salty sweet that makes this a juicy, peppery, meaty decadence.  Basically,  think of the best bratwurst you have ever eaten and up the flavor profile ten times.  Throw in a little mustard and kraut and you are in for a wonderful treat.

So if you’re ever in Elburn, IL be sure to stop in at Ream’s Elburn Market and find a little taste of heaven on earth. (They’re smoked cheddar cheese is unbeatable, and may be the next post)

I was trying to think of a great way to start this project and I decided that explaining the goodness that is Montgomery Inn’s Ribs would be a delicious kickoff.  (they ship world-wide, fyi)

First things first.  For those of you who are unaware of this barbecue bliss allow me to introduce you.  Montgomery Inn, reader, reader, Montgomery Inn.  Now that we have all the formalities out of the way I’ll begin by telling you that their  two Cincinnati, OH locations are the highest grossing rib restaurants in the United States.  It’s just that good.

Now, back to what your here for.  Sure they sell a lot and sound all fancy, but, “What does it taste like?”  Montgomery Inn ribs taste like a piece of heaven.  The flavors are balanced perfectly and give you a vinegar bite that is closely followed by light garlic and onion leading to a sweet, but not too sweet, layer of molasses delight that just makes you lick your fingers any chance you get.  The sauce is really is an unbelievable savory achievement.  It’s the kind of sauce you just want to put on everything, anything…a spoon.  Once the sauce melts away in your mouth you’re left with the leanest, slow cooked, choice pork loin back slab of ribs your taste buds will ever experience.  A slight char taste to them but not overpowering, so tender the meat practically falls off the bone before you can get it to your mouth and a juicy, savory big pork taste…I think I’m drooling.   The combination of sauce and meat is just unbeatable to the tastes of  countless people.  In fact, their Boathouse Restaurant in covered floor to ceiling with celebrity endorsements raving about how much they love these ribs.

Like I said earlier, they ship world-wide.  If that’s not an option for you then you can find their sauce in many stores.  If you can’t find it at any stores then I have a recipe, here, that is very similar…most  people can’t tell the difference.

So there it is, the first, “What does it taste like?” blog entry.

Enjoy.

:0)

The Beginning is Near!

February 27, 2009

Welcome!

It’s been a long time coming but the beginning of the “What does it taste like?” blog is almost here.  With each post I will bring you a new food and give you the low down on what  actually makes it tick.  Is it similar to another food, a combination of flavors or something in and of itself?

For all of you less adventurous palates out there, well,  look no further.  Feel free to send me your own “What does it taste like?” foods and I’ll be your own personal guinea pig.

So if you’ve ever asked the question, “What does it taste like?”, please check back often for updates!

 

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