Okie Noodling and Fat-Fried Catfish

by Abby Wendle


Hand fishing, grabbling, or noodling is something that Gary Altizer knows plenty about.  After all, he is a proud 4th generation noodler.  Listen as he describes the perils of finding and grabbing Oklahoma river catfish with his bare hands. But once those fish are caught, the options for eating them are endless.

If you’ve got the innate knowledge and courage to go snag yourself a catfish, then you’ll need to skin it and clean it before you proceed with this recipe. Of course, you can also just go to your local grocer’s and buy some catfish filets.

According to Gary Altizer, it’s a tag-team: the men catch and skin the cats, the ladies usually cook them up. This is the recipe he suggests for “salty, deep-fat-fried” catfish steaks.

Salty, Deep-Fat-Fried Catfish 

Catfish filets
A dozen eggs
A dozen beers
Salt and pepper
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Vegetable oil

How much catfish depends on how many you’re feeding or how much you catch.

Beat together, in a big bowl, enough eggs and beer to cover the filets.

In a second bowl, mix flour, salt and pepper to taste, and a good dose of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt.

Fill a fryer with vegetable oil and place over medium heat.

Dip a catfish filet in the beer-egg mix, making sure to get all the fish covered. Then dip it into the seasoned flour, covering one side then the other.

Lay the filet gently into the hot oil, taking care not to splatter yourself. How long you fry it depends on how much your filet weighs. As a rule, cook until golden brown.

Carefully remove the filet from fryer and place on a platter lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat until all of the filets are cooked. If you have a “mess”—meaning, a slew of fish—you’ll need to either keep them warm in a 250-degree oven or serve them right up. Taste the first one for yourself to get a feel for how salty they are. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

We like our catfish pretty salty.

On the side
A few catfish serving suggestions:
Cole slaw—something good and tangy.
Hush puppies—might as well, as you’ll have a big batch of oil already going.
Ranch-style beans—season lightly, if at all.
Rice—a great big fluffy bowl of it.