Some people call burbot a “poor man’s lobster.” Trout often wrinkles noses because it is too fishy. And walleye is often considered one of Wyoming’s best eating fish because it doesn’t taste, well, fishy.
In honor of all of Wyoming’s game species, we compiled a list of recipes which may not sway the seafood hater, but will win over anyone willing to give it a try.
Deep fried walleye
This isn’t your standard walleye fry. Casper fisherman John Green puts a twist on the regular to offer a breading system that keeps the fish flaky, tender and moist.
- 1 c flour
- 1 egg
- 6 oz of your favorite beer
- 1 c instant potatoes
- Tonys Creole seasoning
- 2 pounds walleye filets
Pat your walleye fillets dry with a paper towel and roll them in a mixture of flour, Creole seasoning, salt and pepper.
Whisk egg with beer and dip the flour-coated fillets in the liquid. Quickly place the wet fillets in a bowl of dry instant potatoes, Creole seasoning, salt and pepper. Cover them to coat.
Deep dry the fillets in a fryer or in a skillet with hot oil until brown and crispy.
Vary the seasonings to personal preference. You can also add garlic or onion powder, lemon pepper or chili powder.
-- John Green, member of North Platte Walleyes Unlimited
Butbot, ling, eelpout, poor man’s lobster – call them what you want, this slimy fish is delicious. It’s white like a walleye with denser meat, similar to lobster (hence one of its many nicknames). The voracious predator is native to the northeast side of the Wind River Range, but nonnative and destructively invasive on the southwest side.
If you catch them in the southwest corner of the state, it’s illegal to put them back. So do the ecosystem a favor and catch some burbot, then do yourself a favor and make this delectable soup.
- 3 lbs burbot fillets, cut into bite-sized chunks after grilling or steaming (see directions)
- 8 slices bacon
- Fresh parsley leaves (optional)
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp ground thyme
- 4 c. Vegetable broth OR 3 cuts vegetable broth and 1 8-oz bottle of clam juice.
- 2-lb potatoes, skin on, diced.
- 4 c. frozen corn
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper or to taste
- 4 8-oz cans creamed corn
- 2-12 oz cans evaporated fat-free milk
- 1/2 c. smoked Gouda, Muenster, Havarti, or Brie. Something that is creamy and rich once melted.
- 1 c. or so instant potato flakes
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1-2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning or to taste (see below)
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste (optional, but recommended for those that like just a touch of spice).
Cook bacon in a large pot, remove, and crumble. Set aside. Add to scallions, thyme, garlic salt, black pepper to bacon drippings and sauté 5 minutes. Raise heat, and then add potatoes and broth. Bring to a simmer and keep at low simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes. Add both types of corn, Worcestershire sauce, and evaporated milk. Simmer another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to blend ingredients. Cut heat; stir in potato flakes a couple tablespoons at a time until you have it as thick as you want. Add cheese.
Either grill or steam fillets marinated in a little olive oil and the Old Bay seasoning and then add the already cooked fish to the soup as it is cooling down. Garnish bowl of soup with the crumbled bacon and parsley leaves.
-- Aaron Kern, southwest Wyoming angler and Wyoming Game and Fish warden
We’ll let Matt Hahn, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Casper fisheries supervisor tell you about this one:
“This is the simplest and yet the best smoked trout recipe I have found over the years. Works best with large trout (over 18 inches). It is great as a snack and can also be used in fish/crab cakes, bagels and cream cheese, pasta salads etc. Our favorite way to serve it is on crackers with cream cheese, capers and dill.
- 1 c. kosher salt
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. white sugar
- 1 or 2 tbs. coarse black pepper
- 1/4 c. real maple syrup (optional) - for basting during the smoking process
Fillet the trout leaving the skin on (rib bones should be cut out and small pin bones can be removed with needle nose pliers).
The cure is enough for two large trout (four fillets) scale up or down depending on the number and size of fish.
Mix the cure ingredients together.
Lay out a sheet of aluminum foil (should be about 1 foot longer than the fillets). Lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the aluminum foil. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cure on the plastic wrap, lay two of the fillets skin side down on the cure. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cure on the meat side of the two fillets.
Lay the other two fillets meat side down on the two cure covered fillets.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 of the cure on the skin side of the top two fillets.
Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap and seal the two sheets of plastic wrap as best you can. Top with another sheet of aluminum foil and seal the two sheets together making a tight bundle. Put the foil packet in a baking dish and put weight on top of the packet (another smaller baking dish works well).
Put in the fridge for 12 hours. After 12 hours, flip the packet over, put the weight back on it and give it another 12 hours. After 24 hours in the cure, open the foil packet, unwrap the fillets from the plastic wrap and rinse the cure off under cold running water. Place the fillets skin side down on a cooling rack and allow to air dry for 1-3 hours until an opaque, tacky surface appears. Place the fillets skin side down in your smoker and smoke (alder wood is my favorite) at 160 degrees. After 1 hour in the smoker, you can baste with maple syrup if you like your smoked fish on the sweet side. Smoke until the fish reaches 150 degrees (usually 2-6 hours depending on the size and number of fish in the smoker).
Fish should be flaky yet still moist. Remove and let cool. Fillets will keep for a week in the refrigerator or can be vacuum sealed and frozen.
-- Matt Hahn, Casper fisheries supervisor for Game and Fish and avid angler