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More than one way to skin a cat.

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"There's more than one way to skin a cat," is an old saying that most people who don't live on the bayous might think refers to some sick kind of feline cruelty.  Those of us who do love being out on the bayous for some good canoeing, fishing and all-around outdoor fun will tell you that old saying has nothing to do with furry little pets and everything to do with good, southern eating!

On our troop's last fishing adventure in the wetlands of southeast Texas we caught a few good-size catfish --- mostly channel cats.  

We had a lot of fun out on the water, but when we hauled our catch back to camp for cleaning and cooking, I got an eye-opening experience:  there really IS more than one way to skin a cat!

Up until this trip I had always done it one way, and only one way. After all, it's the way my grandpa did it, so I just KNEW it was THE right way!  A couple other scout dads did it other ways, and by George! Those guys got their cats in the pan even quicker than  me!

Hmm. Not only is there more than one way to skin a cat, but it's even possible to teach an old dog (like me) a new trick!

So here's 3 ways our ASMs "skin the cat"...

My way:  
The way I've been doing it for years...

1.  Clamp or nail the cat's head to a plank at the cleaning station (could be to a picnic table or even a tree).
2. Take a filet knife and cut a slit through the skin, top to bottom, just behind the cat's head.
3. Make a place to grip the skin by slicing with the knife far enough to get a good grip.
4. Use some pliers to grip the cat's skin.
5. Pull down from the head towards the tail.
6. Slice off the head and gut the fish.
7. Cook however you like your fish...

The Filet-Way:
Another ASM is a good ole boy from Louisiana. This is the way he's been doing it for years...

1.  Take a filet knife and cut behind the head, at an angle from the dorsal fin to the pelvic fin. Cut into the flesh, but not through the spine.
2. Cut along the spine from the cut line you made towards the tail.
3. Pull the filets back and cut the meat off the skin. 
4. Cut away the small piece of rib cage.
5. Cook however you like your fish...

The "Vietnamese" Way:
One ASM is from Viet Nam....he said this is the way it's been done in the old country for years...

1. Gut the cat.
2. Cut shallow lines through the skin in a  criss-cross pattern.
3.  Slap that fish on the grill and cook it your way.
4. The skin will fall off the fish as you eat.

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I'm not a very successful fisherman. But when I have a bit of luck, and there isn't an ambitious scout around to do the work for me, I do the "Filet-way".

I've tried the criss-cross way when I had an open fire and no utensils besides my knife. The skin does peel away, but there's more bones left to reckon with. Also, I've found it hard to season this way. It's not like steak, where a good dry-rub makes for a perfect opportunity to roast it on the coals.

But, like I said, I haven't caught enough to perfect a methods.

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