Cooking With Beer: Pan-Fried Catfish Sandwich with Kale Slaw and Hot Sauce Mayo

This crispy, spicy catfish sandwich deserves a cold lager—with a spash in the breading and the rest to cool off your palate. Special occasion not required.

Christopher Cina Dec 31, 2023 - 4 min read

Cooking With Beer: Pan-Fried Catfish Sandwich with Kale Slaw and Hot Sauce Mayo Primary Image

Photo: Christopher Cina

Serves: 2

Pan-Fried Catfish Sandwich

  • 2 pieces catfish, 5 oz (142 g) each
  • 1 cup (237 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup (118 ml) pale lager
  • 2 cup (473 ml) panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 cup (946 ml) canola oil for frying
  • Two 4.5" (11 cm) brioche or burger buns

Set up a breading station for the catfish. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, Old Bay Seasoning, and salt. Mix well and set aside. In another mixing bowl, combine the eggs and beer and whisk together. Set aside. Place the breadcrumbs in a third bowl.

Pat the catfish dry and dip into the bowl with the flour mixture, making sure to cover well. Knock off any excess flour and place the catfish in the egg mixture. Coat well. Allow any excess to drip off and place the catfish in the breadcrumbs, pressing the breadcrumbs into the fish. Once the catfish is breaded, you can refrigerate until you are ready to fry.

Pour the canola oil into a heavy-bottom pot or cast-iron skillet. Oil should be deeper than 1" (25 mm).


Using a thermometer, heat the oil to 325°F (163°C). Gently place the fish in the oil and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip the fish in the oil and cook until an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) is achieved, about 3 more minutes. Remove the fish from the oil and allow to drain on a paper towel.

Toast the brioche buns and spread 2 Tbs Hot Sauce Mayo (see below) on the bottom bun. Place the fish on the bun and top each piece of fish with ¾ cup (177 ml) Kale Slaw. Finish with top bun and serve.

Kale Slaw with Hot Sauce Mayo

Makes: 1 cup (237 ml)

  • ¾ cup (177 ml) mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbs Cholula hot sauce (Tabasco is fine, too)
  • 1 Tbs lemon Juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup (177 ml) shredded green cabbage
  • ¾ cup (177 ml) Tuscan kale, julienned

For the hot sauce mayo, combine the first 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. Reserve covered in the refrigerator. Just before serving, in a small mixing bowl, combine the cabbage and kale with ¼ cup (59 ml) of the hot sauce mayo. Mix well.

Beer Tasting Notes: The lime-citrus character in some Noble hops and many contemporary American-grown hops complements the sweet crunch of the catfish breading. So, you can go two ways with this: either an expressive West Coast pils or a particularly lime-forward German pils or Czech pale lager. In a pinch, you can go over the top with a Mexican-style lager with lime, but avoid any with artificial flavoring.

Beer Suggestions: BKS Pivo Project Bohemian Style Pilsner (Kansas City, Missouri), 12 West Radial Spines (Mesa, Arizona), Firestone Walker 805 Cerveza (Paso Robles, California).