National Hunting and Fishing Day is traditionally celebrated on the fourth Saturday of September every year. In 2021, National Hunting and Fishing Day falls on Saturday, September 25. Those who enjoy outdoor pursuits like fishing & hunting celebrate the day by enjoying these activities while highlighting conservation efforts.
At BBQ Outlets we are proud advocates for all things outdoors and want you to enjoy your time outside as much as possible. Since we know fishing and deer hunting season 2021 are already popular topics, we decided to write up a quick guide for you on the best grills and accessories for grilling meats and smoking fish, popular fish and game types to prepare, as well as some tips and tricks for grilling and smoking fish and game.
Popular Fish & Game Types
Depending on where exactly you are located in the United States, the kind of game meat you are hunting for and the type of fish you’d like to hook that night can vary. If you’re in an area with fresh water, fish like bass, walleye, and pike are great options for when it comes to cooking fish, as they can be poached on the grill. If you end up catching some salmon or trout, keep in mind that these are generally heavier and oilier in flavor when being cooked up.
Popular types of game meat also can vary depending on what region you are hunting in and if you are hunting for small, medium, or large-sized game. If someone is newer to hunting or wants to hunt for smaller or medium-sized game, then rabbit can be a particularly good choice of game to look for. If you live in the southwest, hogs like javelina are another great choice. Also on the smaller and more medium-size for game are duck, goose, pheasants, and turkey, all of which are great options for cooking on the grill. When it comes to larger game, deer, elk, and bear are always top choices for hunters too.
Best Grills & Accessories for Grilling Meats and Smoking Fish
Once it’s time for grilling up some meat or smoking fish, charcoal-based grills are usually some of the best to use. Unlike gas grills, charcoal grills usually help bring out better flavoring when smoking fish or grilling venison. Gas grills can also be used to create a smoky flavor, but it’s generally easier to do this more naturally using a charcoal grill.
Some of the charcoal grill brands we recommend you try out in your backyard this hunting and fishing season are Blaze, Fire Magic, and Twin Eagles Grills. If you’re looking for a grilling accessory that could change the way you go about smoking fish forever, you could simply start using a grilling basket or fish basket. A basket largely helps prevent the pieces of the fish from falling through the grates. It also works well for grilling vegetables too if you want a tasty side for your smoked fish.
Tips & Tricks for Grilling and Smoking Popular Fish and Game Types
The biggest thing to keep in mind when hunting for any game meat is that it is by and large very lean. You have to be careful not to dry it out. Some ways you can avoid this from happening is by basting it throughout the cooking process or by using a rub or marinade on it before cooking. If you are using a marinade on bigger game, then make sure to marinate it for several hours right before grilling.
For larger game like deer or bear, make sure to cook the meat so its doneness is never above medium because that would mean the meat is going to become drier and not as flavorful. For smaller game like duck, goose, pheasants, and turkey, etc., you can take a goose breast (for example) and turn this into a tasty filet of sorts by bacon-wrapping it.
Like we mentioned above, the best tip we can give for smoking fish is to use a fish basket. Otherwise, you can always try soaking a cedar plank of wood in water or apple juice for several hours and then put it on the grill over indirect heat. Herbed salmon filet or even a piece of game steak can be put on the plank itself. The plank will then heat up and make the meat smoky.
Finally, if you catch freshwater fish like walleye, bass, pike, etc., all of these can be poached as the whole fish on the grill. Once these fish have been cleaned and scaled, you can put slices of lemons and other herbs inside the body cavity. After the fish has had the lemon slices and/or herbs placed inside of it, then you can wrap it in foil and place it on the grill until it’s nice and white, until flaky and done.
No matter what type of game or fish you might end up hunting or fishing in honor of National Hunting and Fishing Day, always remember to hunt only during the open season for that particular game. Wildlife resources, like the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) page for your state, should have a list of when each particular season is open.
Also, make sure you have the appropriate licenses for when participating in either or both activities. Something to note is that a lot of states offer discounts for hunting or fishing licenses for those with disabilities or for veterans who are disabled. You can also buy non-resident licenses for hunting or fishing, especially if you are visiting from out of state for a shorter period of time.
Regardless of where you are or what you’re hunting or fishing, we hope you stay safe, have fun, and enjoy grilling up some game meats or smoking some fish on one of our top-rated charcoal grills. Don’t forget to check out our Secret Recipes for bison, elk, whitetail, and more.