What's your favorite recipe for cooking backcountry fish?


Feb 24, 2012
I'm trying to figure out a good way to cook fish in the backcountry. Growing up, it was always wrap 'em in foil, and toss 'em in the fire, with lemon pepper, butter, and salt and pepper.

Lately, with the fireban I've heard people talk about poaching fish. Anyone done that?

I think I'd like to try frying them in a pan over a fire though. But that seems like you'd have to carry oil or something. Probably lighter to just carry foil.

And then there is ceviche, which I've never had with fresh backcountry trout, but it might be worth a shot.

Anyone got a favorite recipe they wanna share?
I used to pan fry them all the time. I have an aluminum MSR pot kit that included a frying pan with a non-stick coating. I'd also bring along a little squeeze bottle of butter flavored cooking oil and some lemon pepper. Worked great but it was kinda messy and definitely not as light as foil.

I was thinking that if you had a larger pot, say a 2-liter pot. It would probably be pretty good to poach them in that with just a small amount of water, maybe a half inch. Some butter and seasoning would be nice too. Not as messy as straight oil and a frying pan though.

That's the one. Mine came with the set so it has a lid as well. It is a bit small so with small-medium fish you can't leave the heads on which sucks. Love me some cheek meet! :hungry: For large fish, I've just cut them in half. Again, if you want to experiment without buying, you're more than welcome to take mine for a test run. I'd be more inclined to try the poaching in a big pot though. Something similar to my 2-liter MSR titanium pot would be perfect, IMO and it would also handle all the other cooking needs.
Here's what I take when we plan on eating fish! It's a GSI Outdoors pan. The handle folds and locks out. It's huge (10.5" from rim to rim) and weighs a bit at nearly 19oz! I only pack it when its part of the groups shared weight (I pack this and someone else packs the stove, etc.). It's awesome for frying up some fish though!! Pancakes, bacon, quesadillas all work great too!!! I bought it at Als Sports in Logan...
Wait a sec... are you cooking with that think or using it to beat off wild animals?! :lol:

But seriously, if I didn't have to pack it, that thing looks slick!
Now you're all starting to see why my damn pack usually weighs well over 50 lbs! I know, I'm crazy and I am starting to learn... Last trip I was down to ~45 lbs and I'm sure I can shed more weight!
I grew up cooking them basically the same way you did, whole fish in foil with lemon pepper, and garlic salt. After having some fish that uintahiker cooked for me lakeside, I came up with an idea. On my last trip I packed some foil, butter, garlic salt, and onion powder. I filleted the fish, put the boneless, skinless fillets in the foil, seasoned with garlic salt, onion powder and then threw the butter in with them. I folded the foil so it made a pouch. Put it on the hot coals for about 5 min each side. It was definitely the best fish I've had in the backcountry. Something about not having the skin on them and cooking them in butter makes them just melt in your mouth and not fishy at all. That's how I'll be cooking my fish in the backcountry from now on. If you are in an area with a campfire ban you could always do the same thing in a frying pan with or without the tinfoil pouch.
nice. what's the key to a good fillet on small little alpine fish then?
A good fillet knife, a steady hand, and lots of practice.

True. Some of those lakes need some of those little fish taken out and eaten so the rest can get bigger. Generally, anything less than 6 inches isn't worth it. 6-8 inches is marginally worth it, and above 8 you get enough meat to make it worthwhile.

Filleting is the only way to go. I have a few different ways I like to cook them. Bring butter, onion powder, maybe a little garlic salt, and sometimes saltine cracker crumbs. Either fry the fish in the butter, and dust it with the onion powder and garlic salt, or roll it in melted butter and bread it in the cracker crumbs. Then dust it with the onion powder and garlic salt when you're frying it. Once you've done it you'll never go back!

An alternative to butter that I haven't tracked down yet is ghee. It's basically clarified butter that's available at indian/asian grocery stores and comes in little packets. The packets sound nice and mess-free, unlike packing in butter!
any inexpensive lightweight fillet knifes you can recommend?
I just have one of the rapala ones you can get at Walmart. $10-15, and it comes with a small sharpener. They have 2 sizes for it. I think the smaller one would be good for backpacking.

Are these the ones with the wood handle and leather sheath? I've got one of the wood handle ones from Walmart that I've had for 10 years or so. Nice little knife.

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