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BBQ Blackened Catfish with Garlic Spinach Recipe

The King of BBQ, chef Pat Neely, takes blackened catfish to the next level with his well-loved BBQ sauce. He then serves it alongside garlicky greens with a kick. Add brown rice to round out the meal. Pat likes to start the meal with his Pineapple Wine Spritzer, and who are we to argue?

BBQ Blackened Catfish with Garlic Spinach
Serves 2


For Neely’s BBQ Sauce:
2 cups ketchup
1 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoons light brown sugar
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

For the blackened catfish:
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons ground dried thyme
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 (6-ounce) catfish fillets
2 tablespoons peanut oil
Chopped parsley, for garnish

For the garlic spinach:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 bunches spinach, rinsed and tough stems removed


1. Make the BBQ sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine ketchup, water, vinegar, brown sugar, granulated sugar, black pepper, onion powder, mustard, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer. Cooked uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1 hour 15 minutes. 

2. Make the blackened catfish: In a small casserole dish, whisk together paprika, thyme, onion powder, garlic salt, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Dredge the catfish through the mixture until each fillet is well coated. 

3. In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until hot and shimmering. Carefully add catfish, and cook, flipping halfway through, until no longer translucent, about 3 minutes per side.

4. Make the spinach: In a large skillet over medium heat, add oil. Sauté garlic and red pepper flakes for 1 minute. Using tongs, add spinach a little at a time and toss until wilted.

5. Top catfish with BBQ sauce and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with spinach.

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