Grill spit for small fish

Grill spit for small fish outdoor cooking on a spit

Smaller fish of up to about 20 cm in length are typically put on to a grill spit, which is just a split stick. Often in Thailand, this will be Pla Kod (Thai: ปลากด) (Hemibagrus wyckioides) commonly known as Asian Red-tail Catfish. This fish species is omnipresent over the whole of Southeast Asia in every sizeable puddle of water up to lakes and streams. The fish got very tasty, white meat with not too many bones.

Pla Kod has only got one main disadvantage. This fish species has three about 2 cm long, strong, and heavily barbed spines. Out of these three, one spine is located in front of the dorsal fin. Another spine is there in front of each pectoral fin. Due to its relatively small body size, Pla Kod is mainly caught in nets. The removal and handling of Pla Kod can be read in my post called ‘Small catfish in Thailand got dangerous spines’.

Processing of small fish

Let’s assume Hemibagrus wyckioides was extracted without harm from the net and the fish was killed by a blow on the head. This is strictly spoken not killing, but only stunning the animal. After removing the guts and gills, the fish will be washed and put in between the split stick on the grill spit.

The species of wood used for these sticks is currently not known, but it was a species with straight, green shoots, large piths, and no smell. And the shoot was easy to split in the middle. After squeezing the fish bodies in between both stick halves, the split stick was bound together with the bark of the same wood.

Lessons learned for cooking small fish on a spit outdoors

  • Pla Kod is a readily available fish species throughout South-East Asia
  • It should preferably be caught with nets
  • Its three spines are very dangerous when handling
  • Split stick method is a convenient way of roasting several small fish

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