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Bourbon Smoked Catfish

INGREDIENTS:1 ½ lbs. chopped hickory chips
as needed, water
9 lbs. U.S. Farm-raised Catfish, 24 6-oz. fillets
1 gallon water
3 cups kosher salt
2 ½ cups onion, pureed
2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp. Tabasco brand pepper sauce
2 cups bourbon
1 ½ cups apple and onion slaw, prepared
48 toast rounds topped with creme fraiche or sour cream DIRECTIONS:Soak hickory chips in water until moist. Lay catfish fillets on a shallow steamtable pan. Combine water, salt, onion, brown sugar, lime juice, garlic and Tabasco and pour over catfish. Cover and soak fish in brine, 25-35 minutes.

Remove from brine and shake off. Reserve. Place bourbon in a shallow steamtable pan. Place brined catfish in bourbon and soak 5 minutes. Remove and drain.

Place catfish fillets on a greased rack and place in smoker at 125°F with soaked hickory chips. Smoke for 45 minutes. Increase smoker temperature to 160°F and continue to smoke 15 minutes. Remove fish from smoker, cool, and refrigerate.

To serve: Cut each fillet into 2-3 diamonds and serve over ¼ cup apple and onion slaw with toast rounds and creme fraiche or sour cream. SERVINGS:24 servings From:Executive chef Jim Gerhardt, Seelbach Hotel, Lousville, Kentucky PHOTO CREDIT:Photo Credit: The Catfish Institute