Food of Field Trip: Great River Road
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: Camp Cooking
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Lots
Gives the traditional catfish or alligator tail chunks a whole new twist. Tempura batter is awesome because it's so light, and cooked at the right temperature absorbs very little oil. It compliments the flavor of any white meat whether you're talking catfish, chicken ... anything.
  • Catfish chunks or filets or alligator tail chunks (approximately ¾-inch cubes)
  • 6 cups high temp cooking oil (peanut oil is best for deep frying)
  • Batter Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup white flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. fine ground black pepper
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (approx.) water or seltzer water
  • 1-2 cup ice cubes
  1. Mix dry batter ingredients at home ahead of time and bring to campsite in large ziplock freezer bag.
  2. At the campsite add the liquid ingredients (except ice cubes) to bag.
  3. Stir just until blended.
  4. Judge the thickness of the batter. It’s better if it’s too thin rather than too thick as long as it will still adhere to the meat.
  5. Add ice cubes.
  6. Heat oil on fire or grill. Bring oil temp to 350-375 (max). Watch oil carefully – when surface starts to shimmer or oil barely begins to smoke it’s ready.
  7. Dip meat into batter to coat thoroughly. Remove fillets or chunks individually and let excess batter drip off before placing in oil.
  8. When you lower the meat into oil with tongs, pause for 6-8 seconds to set the batter as you put it into the hot oil.
  9. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until batter puffs and becomes golden brown.
  10. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve with hot sauce, lemon wedges, and/or tartar or cocktail sauce.
  11. Let oil come back to full temp before frying next batch.
Recipe by 50 Campfires at