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Friday, April 19, 2024

Fun with Fiddlers

My goal was to eat eight catfish fiddlers in one sitting. The arena for such an undertaking was KT’s Fire Grill in Wadesville, Ind., where weekends kick off at 4:30 p.m. for “All U Can Eat Catfish Fiddler Friday” ($9.95). The final tally was (mostly) three, and a fourth fiddler sat on my plate taunting me.

One patron boasted to owners Keith and Teri Kelley he could eat 40 fiddlers for dinner. His final tally: eight. Don’t laugh. These are honking fiddlers, and every Friday, the Kelleys serve an average of 160 catfish to a packed house.

The fiddler entree sits on a menu highlighted with meaty meals, including numerous smoked plates with rich hickory and apple wood flavors, in a restaurant best known for steaks and prime ribs. The recipe, which the Kelleys keep secret, came by accident. A former cook “just started throwing stuff in the batter,” Teri says. What luck because the fiddlers’ moist and tender meat has a wonderful cornmeal, flaky crust that doesn’t seem like an accident. “Everybody loved it,” she says, “so we just stuck with it.”

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