When I first started fishing, every single time I headed to the river I was on a mission, mission to learn from observing other anglers. I would follow other people around, sit on the bank and watch their every move – trying to figure out how and why they were doing things the way they were.
At some point, after I felt I had absorbed enough through observation of others my mission changed every time I went to the river and my objective became to catch as many fish as I possibly could. It became a purely numbers game for me – it was a badge of honor that I would wear proudly when I reported in with my father or other friends that I’d sometimes fish with.
A few years down the line, the numbers of fish game eventually gave way to quality of fish. It was no longer about how many fish I caught and it was now about the quality of fish I caught. I wanted big fish.
Now…..now, I’m basically back to square 1, but for different reasons. I find myself sitting on the bank more and more observing others – usually friends I am fishing with. My fishing pals are all exceptionally talented and of course I learn all kinds of new things from them similar to how I learned from others in my youth, but thats not whats important. What’s important to me now is hanging out, on the water, in nature with people that I enjoy spending time with.
Sure it’s all still about the fish – after all they are the reason to bring us all together. But even more it’s about the laughs, the experiences, the jokes, the banter, the food, and the fellowship.
An often overlooked, and incredibly easy meal to grill riverside is pizza. Pizza’s only take a few minutes to put together and cook on the grill – and there really is no wrong way to do them, and the best thing about them is they can be complete personalized to everyone in your group.
In the International isle of your local grocery store, you will find pre-made 8″ pizza crusts (I prefer Boboli brand). Brush the underside of the crust with olive oil. Place a liberal amount of sauce and top with cheese and anything else you’d like. Heat grill to medium, place pizza directly on the grill grate. Since the crust is pre-cooked, all you have to look for is the cheese on top to completely melt, turning brown and bubbling near the edge of the crust.
- 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 (4-1/2- to 5-pound) boneless pork shoulder
All you need to do is place the onions and garlic cloves in a layer on the bottom of a crock pot – as well pour in the chicken broth. Combine the spices and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl, and rub into the pork shoulder until completely covered.
Cook on high for 7 hours.
Pull the pork out – and place into 8″x8″ foil cake pan, strain the onions and place over the pork. Shred the pork using 2 forks – cover with foil and place in the fridge.
I like to serve this on lightly toasted pretzel buns, with a slice of cheddar, and heap of slaw on top of it.
Chicken Fajitas are a great option for stream side lunch, and are able to be heated up and served without much of a time commitment, as a lot of the preparation can be done at home before heading to the river. Its an easy meal to serve that hits the spot especially when served with Bud Light Lime – or Lime-a-Ritas.
- Prior to heading to the river: soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. Slide boneless/skinless chicken onto skewers and sprinkle with Fajita Seasoning (I use a gourmet seasoning found at my local super market)
- Prior to leaving for the river I cut Pablano, Sweet Red Peppers, onions and cherry tomatoes on skewers as well
- Prior to going I finely chop cilantro and place into a plastic bag
- Place skewers of chicken on a hot grill, be sure to cook thoroughly
- Place skewers of peppers, onions and tomatoes on grill to heat through (cook until the outer skin of the peppers starts to darken in color)
- While the chicken and vegetables are cooking peel skin off of 2 avocados and slice length wise into thin slices.
- When chicken and vegetables have finished cooking, move off to the side and place flour or corn tortillas onto the grill, lightly covering with cheese.
- While tortillas are on the grill slide chicken, vegetables, and tomatoes off of skewers onto them
- Sprinkle finely chopped cilantro, place avocado slice, and sprinkle additional cheese onto each
The guys I spend a lot of water time with all have several things in common, obviously the fishing thing, bourbon, micro brews, photography, etc. But the single biggest common denominator might be everyone’s sincere love for good food. There is something about cooking riverside that greatly enhances the experience, and for some reason food always seems to taste better midway through a long float – sitting on the bank enjoying company over a plate of hot grub.
I’m always trying to push the limits a bit and get out of the standard run of the mill burger and hotdogs on the grill, and as a result have found that many time consuming and somewhat complicated dishes can be pre-made and simply reheated on the grill. Here is my favorite main course to chow down on when on the water:
Prepare the ribs by peeling off the tough membrane that encase the non-meaty side of the rack. Heat oven to 300 degrees.
Coat the ribs with the dry rub mix, cover with brown sugar on both sides separately.
Bake in oven safe glass covered with tin foil for 2.5 hours.
The ribs will be cooked completely through when pulling them out of the oven. I cut them in half and wrap in foil to place in the cooler for transport to and on the river.
Heat up the ribs on the grill – typically 10-15 minutes per side. Coat with your favorite BBQ sauce.
This is a quick 30 minute meal on the water.