If you have been fishing for a long time, one of the things you start to realize is that there is a broad cross-section of people that really enjoy catching crappie. Now, part of the reason for that is because they put up a tremendous fight, and thus some anglers enjoy the sport of it. However, yet another reason some anglers love catching crappie is because they are great to eat.
You see, there is definitely a reason why these fish and bluegills are classified as panfish; it’s because it’s a very tasty treat! Of course, you’re probably wondering about the best way to catch and eat these crappies.
First of all, you would start by trolling your selected waters, which would usually be several feet or more. Then, you would try jigs and minnows at various depths to try to catch them. Of course, after you have landed crappie, your next question is this: how do you go about cooking them? That’s a good question. While there are many individuals who like to fry their crappie, more and more are starting to enjoy baking them whole as well, so here is JUST ONE method for baking your crappie (but believe me, there are quite a few to consider):
Of course, before you can begin baking your crappie in the first place, you will need to get it ready for the process.
Here are some good hooks for crappie fishing. size 8-12 is great!
You would start by scaling and cleaning it. For this step, the best item to use would have to be a serrated steak knife, simply it will make quick work of taking the scales off your prize. Naturally, it doesn’t matter how you prepare your crappie, no one wants to taste their scales. Finally, you will also want to clean that slab before you bake it.
Some cleaning methods would require you to take the head off, split him open, and then take out the innards. However, for the big ones you often only have to cut one inch down to the backbone, especially if you are planning on leaving your crappie whole.
Additionally, you will have to keep in mind what type of blade you should use when you are baking crappie as well. Generally, most individuals will either go with a 9″ blade or a 7″ blade. Now, a 9″ blade is fairly large for working with crappie, but it can be done if nothing else is available.
I recommend using a 7″ American-made blade since crappies are kind of a smaller breed of fish. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here is that one method for baking crappie that a lot of anglers will recommend:
Bake it ON TOP of some mixed veggies.
That’s right. I recommend that you should take a bowl full of mixed veggies and place the crappie right on top of them and simply bake it that way. Many individuals like to go with veggies such as sweet onions, celery, carrots, and pre-boiled red potatoes.
Of course, you can also go with regular pre-boiled potatoes if you so desire. You should mix this combination with some olive oil, season it with leeks, and then possibly consider adding in some sea salt. Also, you should be aware that this method requires using a dutch oven to bake your crappie. Of course, if you use a dutch oven, you should make sure that you pre-heat it, otherwise, the dutch oven will take too much time heating the vegetables and your crappie dish will lose a lot of its flavor in the process.
Naturally, most anglers like to try to use lump charcoal when they are cooking their crappie. Moreover, they will often use various strategies to season the fish, such as the following:
Don’t be afraid to bend the fish a little bit.
Remember when you cleaned these crappies a little bit? Well, you most likely cut some X’s into them, so when you are getting ready to season your fish this is definitely a prime time to bend the fish a little bit just so those seasoning flakes will get a bit further down into the fish, nice and deep. It’s absolutely a good way to enhance the flavor of these crappies as well.
Use sriracha butter.
Ask any angler who cooks their own fish, and they will tell you that sriracha butter can definitely be top-notch not just for crappie, but for almost any other fish as well.
Anglers will use this option on crappie, bass, tilapia, cod, and even oysters. All things being equal, it just goes well with any type of fish, and going back to those cuts, it tastes even better when it gets under the crappie’s skin a bit as well!
Consider adding either lime juice or lemon juice.
There is no question that adding lime or lemon juice to your final dish will definitely make it out to be a versatile choice. First of all, the acid in either one of these juices is great for marinating not just this type of fish but also chicken and pork as well. For centuries, this has been used to enhance the flavors of all kinds of dishes, including that of fish such as crappie.
Like I wrote earlier, it’s important to note that there is literally a multitude of recipes and methods out there that can be used to cook crappie whole. There is absolutely nothing wrong with experimenting and trying out different methods. This is just one method. Of course, you also should consider your side dishes as well. Besides cooking the crappie ON vegetables, you certainly could also just have the vegetables on their own little plate as well.
Why is crappie such a popular dish?
There are many naysayers out there that vastly prefer their bluegill cousins over crappie. However, in parting please remember that there are several reasons why you should eat crappie. First of all, crappie is bigger, so it is much easier to get more meat out of them. Additionally, some people really enjoy the soft meat. Just remember that you are in for a serious treat when you cook your crappie and there is absolutely nothing wrong with eating it whole and baked!
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