The last of the limericks in Limerick – and Redneck Recipe # 22 – Redneck Smoked Catfish

Who would think that Yankees lived in Limerick?

Once upon a rhyme there was a Yankee poet who lived way up north in Limerick, Maine. He was a friend to all, but maybe most of those "all" never knew his name. He was a good buddy to the keeper of Limerick’s only general store, a Mrs. Enos. She didn't know his name, either.

Samantha would eat anything catchable
Samantha would eat anything catchable

Poets and Panthas

There were others who lived in Limerick that one might consider to be notables. For example, the most prominent of the town’s ruling selectmen, a Mr. Frabblender, kept good order in meetings of the town council, but his huge pet cat, Samantha, played pure havoc with Limerick’s many other pets; cat, dog, roosters, rabbits, and any other kind of critter that people kept around. Samantha was even seen to attack a wooden yard sign one time – that's how fearless Samantha was. The sign was shaped out to look like a bulldog that was holding a board in its jaws on which the house number had been painted. Many of the people in town knew Mr. Frabblender. Everyone in town knew Samantha.

The friendly and willing poet was not really what you would describe as garrulous, but if he knew that you were present and if he knew that you knew he was also present, he’d pop out with an impromptu five-liner, a new limerick he would generate on the spot. He was a well-known fixture in Limerick. In fact, his reputation was such that people tried to avoid being in his company if at all possible. They even tried to not remember his name. Most just called him "that nut."

You could always tell when the nut was walking about town. His sidewalk was always empty but for him. The sidewalk on the other side of the street was usually fairly crowded, the people on that sidewalk invariably walking along with their heads turned away from the opposite side of the street. As you might imagine, the nutty limerick-spouter was the cause of many a bruise, but that was something about which he was completely unaware.


The nutty poet up and died

One day the poet up and died.

Even so, there was no celebration. Townsfolk suddenly realized that there went a likely irreplaceable Limerick fixture. Pushy as the guy had been, and not-so-hot as his five-liners had proceeded, he had been Limerick’s only poet outside of a long-ago visit by Robert Frost - and who went for a stuffy fellow like Frost?

Nothing caused so great a combination of joy and sadness as the man’s passing. The one church bell in Limerick tolled mournfully for several days. Mr. Frabblender led City Council in a solemn but somewhat thankful prayer session. Mrs. Enos, practiced in productive enterprise as she was, and a friend to the now demised limerick composer, decided that Limerick had not done enough to memorialize its loss.

After thinking about what to do, and after canvassing the entire area for a replacement five-liner poet to no avail, Mrs. Enos took the positive step of contacting the news media to alert them to Limerick’s and the country’s loss. She felt that it was now or never to get the word out about Limerick’s late, but only, limerick-spouter.

Today, you and I are continually jolted by instant news of momentous events of all sorts – catastrophic storms, earthquakes, tidal waves, new and better wars, failing economies, even honest politicians, but that was an earlier time of relatively less media spectacularism. The demise of the only limerick-spouter in Limerick attracted the attention of only one feature editor employed by the Associated Press (or maybe it was the head of the comics section of the Village Voice) – I have forgotten.

A reporter was dispatched to Limerick to check out Mrs. Enos’ story. This reporter's name is now lost in the dustbin of history, so let’s simply refer to him as "The Reporter."

The Reporter interviewed everyone who did not run away fast enough. He started with Mrs. Enos, for she was the one responsible for his being rewarded with a poetic assignment (his very first assignment out of town) to faraway Limerick in Maine. From Mrs. Enos, he went to see Mr. Frabblender. That visit was somewhat nerve-wracking for The Reporter. You see, Mrs. Enos had recited one of the nutty poet’s latest limericks, cementing it in The Reporter’s mind – the one about Mr. Frabblender’s giant cat, Samantha. The five-liner had one of its lines go like this: "Is she a cat or is she a pantha?" You can imagine The Reporter’s state of mind with that line reverberating within his skull throughout the interview.

Well, so it went, from one to another of the townsfolk. Other than Mr. Frabblender, each of the Limerick residents laid one of the nutty poet's five-liners on the guy. After a time, his ears flapped and his eyeballs rolled about in their sockets. It would be fair to say that The Reporter had been thoroughly "licked" by limericks.

He returned to his office and reported to his features editor (or to the comic strip boss, whichever one it was). The boss had The Reporter write the whole deal up in good form, after which it was edited to perfection. Onto the AP wires it went, eventually to be printed in thousands of newspapers throughout the United States.

No one read the little article save "Gus the Redneck," and even he should have known much better. Being in need of a good job at the time, Gus the Redneck considered the many interesting options of a lifetime career of cashing in on the spouting of five-liners. Being as dull-witted as had been that nutty poet up there in Limerick, Maine, Gus the Redneck took on the task with zeal and abandon; that is, he zoomed into that strange career, pedal to the metal, and he unwittingly abandoned any hope of being ,himself, considered sane enough to walk on the same side of the street as did his fellow humans.

Now, he, as had The Reporter, experienced "Samantha the pantha" bopping back and forth between his ears and messing up what might otherwise have been an orderly flow of electrons along the neurons and across synapses. The five-liners began to flow out, more and more. The income did not reciprocate. "Maybe I should go for six lines instead of just five..."

If a serious study were to be made of all of this, it would have the obvious result of proving Samantha to be the only winner. Was she a cat, or was she really a pantha? Do you see how that is working right now? Just try to get it out of your mind. Just try.

‘You know something? Maybe that was how everything had started for the nutty poet, too. Think about that. Well, perhaps you ought not to think about that.

Redneck Smoked Catfish

This may be the easiest catfish recipe you have encountered in years and years. It should work very nicely, too, for the prepping of almost any other kind of fish you can get your hands on (if that is how you catch ‘em). It takes but a few minutes to ready the fish and a couple of hours to cook them. Were this recipe not about cooking catfish (or some other kind) I might even tell you that the whole deal is a "piece of cake."

If you can talk someone else into cleaning and filleting your catfish, that’s the way to go. You can even buy the rascals all ready for cooking in one of those plastic sacks in the grocery store freezer. That’s what I do. There are two pounds of catfish fillets to a sack where we shop. Thaw them out overnight in the refrigerator, and they will be ready to go the next day.

I dump one 15-ounce can of chopped tomatoes with green chilies into a 9-inch by 13-inch aluminum pan. (I use those disposable pans made for use with steam tables. They come in packs of about 20 or so and cost very little.) In go the catfish fillets, right on top of the chopped tomatoes with green chilies.

Then I sprinkle lots of seafood seasoning all over the catfish fillets. Being a practiced redneck, I shake my seafood seasoning from a container of "Tone’s" brand of the stuff, and it works nicely. If you want to make your own, mix the following things together in whatever proportion you think suitable, but go kinda heavy on the lemon and the dill parts.

Finely chopped lemon peel, chopped or dehydrated garlic (powder is OK), chopped or dehydrated onion, finely chopped dill weed, a little salt, and a wee bit of sugar (just to be able to say that you used some sugar but not much)

Then cover the seasoned fish with a second can of chopped tomatoes with green chilies and leave the pan uncovered.

Get the grill or the smoker up to about 230 to 250 degrees, Fahrenheit (didn’t think I could spell that rascal, did you?) or thereabouts and, with the heat from the coals or propane being "indirect," allow the dish to cook in the smoke for about 2 to 2-1/2 hours.

We had this for our evening meal today and served it with some good cold potato salad. It was a good combination, and the catfish was really very tasty – and not overly spicy.

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Comments 18 comments

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Entertained as always Gus and also hungry this time! That catfish really does sound great.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA Author

Howdy Hyphenbird - Thanks. AND, if you can't get catfish, almost any other kind will do except for the larger, oilier kinds.

Gus :-)))


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

I dunno, Gus, I never was particularly fond of catfish, but then I never ate catfish prepared and cooked the way you describe. So I'm keeping my options open at present.

Was Frabblender really that town official's name? Hard to forget!


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA Author

Hi Good Doctor bj - Honest and true. I don't have any recollection of what the selectman's real name was, so I just made that one up. Mrs. Enos, however, was the name used by The Reporter (whose name I vaguely recollect was "Broussard" or the like) in his little article about no more limericks in Limerick. He also had named "the nut," but I don't recall his name. "Samantha" was what he called Frabblender's huge cat. You need to understand that remembering stuff today from back in 1975 or so ain't an easy task. Funny story that one, a wee bit embellished, but supposedly factual enough for this redneck.

AND, yes- that way of fixing catfish is very satisfying to the tastebuds and really easy to put together. I had forgotten to state that the kitchen oven works OK, too.

Gus :-)))


SilentReed profile image

SilentReed 5 years ago from Philippines

Samantha the pantha would have thoroughly enjoyed your smoked catfish as I have enjoyed the read sans thinking about Samantha. :)


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Hi Gus i don't eat enough fish, and with five dogs catfish is the wise option so i ought to give it a try. Let me know when it's ready.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA Author

Hi Silent Reed - Yeah ! With Samantha coursing through one's brain and downing all of your nice spiced and smoked catfish,it could be a chore to enjoy that read, but you did it, and I thank you for your effort.

Gus :-)))


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA Author

Howdy Keith (attemptedhumor) - 5 dogs? What a fun way to grow broke feeding friendly critters.

Your comment kinda reminds me of that funny TV ad, the one with the cows all saying to eat "more chicken."

I'll whomp up a big pan of these spicy smokers whenever you want to have some. If you don't show up for dinner, I'll be able to down them myself.

Gus :-)))


cwarden profile image

cwarden 5 years ago from USA

This recipe really sounds delicious, and so easy. I think I will try this out over the weekend. Thanks!


vietnamvet68 profile image

vietnamvet68 5 years ago from New York State

It's been a long while since I had a good catfish dinner my friend and after reading all this I'm kind of hungry, throw another plate on.

God Bless


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA Author

Hi cwarden - You got that right on both counts - that catfish deal is easy (and you can do it in the regular kitchen oven, too - obviously) - and it really tastes great, too. Have fun.

Gus :-)))


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA Author

Howdy Vet - You have probably earned a feast like this one many times over, so have at it. Around here, though, the only extra plate you might come upon is the extra one I put beside my first one so as to save time dishing up a "second."

Gus :-)))


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Aye Gus, great entertainment of Limerick, that came with a prize of a great recipe. I think I'll chop my own chilies and go red to match the color of the tomatoes, but really because that's the kind I grow for making my tamales, thanks, dusty


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA Author

Howdy 50 - Doggone but you have made me hungry once again with those tamales. Glad you enjoyed the Limerick stuff.

Gus :-)))


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

I would imagine the greatest compliment that I could give you Sir Gus - is my dad would have loved your (style) of writing (remember as a hobby he wrote 70 novels - none were published but still quite an achievement) and his son C. Stewart, already knows what a terrific writer (and gentleman) you are - so does that mean my 'cheque' is in the mail - yet? lol


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA Author

Hi "epi" - I would almost believe that, by now, you would have tired of seeing me so flummoxed with your praise.

You know, all this time I have tried to figure out where you were from, and it finally came to me that your locale is Cape Flattery way out West (up there in the upper coast of Washington right by the "Strait of Juan de Fuca" (no cussing intended). With you being served so well by your retention of the wit and manners of our forebears (4-count-em-4) it is appropriate that the place was discovered (after the aborigines who were also there) by the renowned Captain James Cook back in the year 1778.

Your skills and exploits, "epi," are obviously geographically genetic. (Around here, it is a new discovery every minute!)

Gus :-)))


jabo 20 months ago

I enjoyed your article immensely (the Limerick part), and would have loved to see some examples of said poet's work. I would especially have liked to read the whole verse concerning Samantha.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 20 months ago from USA Author

jabo - All of this stuff happened many (MANY) years ago such that papers and computer files are gone (somewhere) - but there is memory remaining of all but the details of the stories. Sorry about that. Age has some privileges, all right, but it also brings with it disconnections of both the hardware and the synapses.

Gus :-))) (Who continues to say "wazzup?" )

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