There's nothing more satisfying than cooking up a dinner at the campsite after a day spent in the sunshine along the water. However, preparing to cook that shore lunch or campsite dinner rests on one important step: sharpening your knife. If you've ever tried to use a dull knife on anything, let alone to gut a fish, you know how long the process can take when you're sawing through meat and vegetables.
A dull knife cannot cleanly slice filets and you might be missing meat that the family otherwise could have eaten. After a long day on the shore or on the hiking trail, every bite of protein counts. In addition to simply taking more time at the site to prepare dinner, a dull knife causes the food to lose flavor. When the blade presses into it as opposed to through it, the juices from the food are pushed out. Not only are you getting a messier prep station, but you're losing so much of what makes those foods delicious, fresh-caught fish and harvested deer included.
Because a dull knife is a cook's worst enemy (indoors or out), I always carry the compact Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener in my outdoor pack. It's small enough to easily fit no matter how tightly I packed my bag, and it's so simple to run my utility knife along it a few times before doing the dirty work.
So sharpen your knives and get to reading about our favorite 10 shore lunch recipes that will have the pickiest eaters in camp asking for seconds, guaranteed.
1. Original Recipe Breading
The foundation of the fried recipes, once you have the original down pat, you can mix it up however you want.
- 3 cups flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
- 4 beaten eggs, sealed in cooler
- 2 cups crushed cornflakes
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup canola oil
1. Measure and pre-season the flour with salt and pepper. Store in individual food container.
2. Measure and combine the cornflakes and breadcrumbs. Pre-season to taste. Store in individual food container.
3. Beat eggs and store in food container. Refrigerate overnight.
4. Wash and pack lemon.
5. Store canola oil in individual container.
ON THE SHORE
1. Clean and gut panfish well.
2. Slice lemon in half.
3. Pour canola oil in thin layer in pan over the fire.
4. Shake each container well to re-mix the ingredients.
5. Dip the filet in seasoned flour, shake well.
6. Next, dip the fish in the egg wash and coat well.
7. Place in breadcrumb and cornflake mixture and shake well to make sure all are fully coated.
8. Drop filet into pan and fry until golden brown, about two to three minutes per side depending on the fish.
2. Bluegill Parmesan
Though this recipe calls for baking, simply follow step 8 when it comes time to cook these babies up on the shoreline.
Like the original recipe above, you can also prep these ingredients the night before using the storage container method. Find the recipe here.
3. Southern Fried Catfish
This recipe is a double whammy with a delicious breading and a recipe for Spicy Tartar Sauce. Prep the sauce the night before with your other ingredients, and you'll have a decadent fish meal.
Find the recipe here.
4. Cheddar Broccoli Fish Fry
Using the original recipe above, swap in a package of Cheddar Broccoli soup mix for the cornflakes, and combine with the breadcrumbs.
You're getting the best of both worlds: cheese without the need for refrigerator, and it pairs so well with white panfish. Don't knock it until you try it!
5. Beer Batter Fish Fry
Grab a few cold ones from the cooler for this recipe that comes together easily at the campsite. Paired with potato wedges, this is a hearty meal that'll keep you satisfied for hours on end.
Slicing potatoes at the campsite might sound inconvenient, but simply run your knife along the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener a few times before beginning and you'll be quartering those spuds with ease in seconds flat. A sharp utility knife is essential for easily cutting through potato skins.
Find the full recipe here, including recipes for the potato wedges and the tartar sauce.
6. Grilled Fish on Pineapple
What's an easy way to infuse a citrus flavor into your fish without packing the whole kitchen? Simple! Just bring a pineapple. Before slicing and halving the pineapple, pull out the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener to be sure you're getting the cleanest, sharpest cuts so you don't spend your evening in front of the campfire hacking at the tough outer skin.
This recipe is an easy way to infuse fresh fish with citrus flavor and it keeps your fish off the grill grates if you're worried about sticking. Find the recipe here.
7. Grilled Whole Trout
If you were lucky enough to catch a trout in an area where you can keep them, then this recipe was seriously made for you.
Slice open the bad boy with your razor sharp knife and gut it cleanly. Once you've cleaned it thoroughly, stuff with citrus and herbs. Find the recipe here.
8. Grilled Striped Bass
Good ol' bass are some of the simplest eating around and this recipe is a fresh mix of flavors that highlights the fish.
Simple to pack the night before, all you need are six ingredients and the fish you catch! Find the recipe here.
9. Grilled Walleye with Mustard Dill Sauce
If you prep the mustard dill sauce the night before, you'll be all set to head out for some walleye to grill over an open fire.
This is one recipe that would be delicious as a sandwich, too, so if that's more your style, just pack some hamburger buns and toast on the grill before piling it on. Find the recipe here.
10. Texas Grilled Flounder
This Texas spice rub is the best taste of the Lone Star State you can pair with fish and if you're out when the flounder are running, it'll be a family favorite hands down.
Find the full recipe here, but if you're more a fried fish fan, just add the seasoning mix to the original breading recipe and fry until golden brown.
Do you have a favorite shore lunch recipe? Let us know in the comments below!