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Hatteras Style Drum

My brother took Elle and me fishing the other night in the sound. It was too windy for me to do a kayak tour but good drum fishing weather, blowing about 20 mph.

We left the dock about 6 and anchored up in one spot but didn’t get any bites. We moved a little way into shallower water and immediately had a fish on.

We hooked a couple sting rays, which are actually fun to reel in because they put up a fight. Elle reeled in the first drum, then me and then my brother. There’s a limit of one per person.

We caught but didn’t keep a giant drum, the biggest one I’ve ever caught. Elle started reeling him in, then got tired and my brother took over. Getting him in the boat was a trick because he wouldn’t even fit in the dip net and had to be hauled over the side by hand.

Hatteras is famous for these big drum and they are very old fish, like 40 plus years. They are scarred up and look like old grandpa fish. Ours had a chunk missing out of his back where most likely a shark took a bite out of him but he managed to escape. You can see the dip in his back in the picture below.

We got a picture and then released him gently back into the water.

Elle and I made Hatteras style drum with our fish. It’s a traditional dish, and very simple. It reflects how simply people lived here up until the paved road was built on the island and grocery delivery became more regular. For a long time this island was very isolated, and most people fished and hunted and grew a garden. Hatteras has gone from being a wild outpost on the edge of the continent to a tourist hot spot in a remarkably short time.

But anyway, Hatteras style drum is simply boiled potatoes and fish topped with bacon. Sounds bland, right? That’s what the bacon is for. Drum is a firm fish that holds up well to boiling. You start with chopped potatoes and boil until they’re soft. Add your fish at the end. You only need to cook the fish for a couple minutes. It cooks quickly and it stays firm if you don’t overdo it. Cook your bacon til it’s crispy, chop it up, and reserve the grease and cracklings from the pan. Put the fish and potatoes into a bowl and top with a drizzle of bacon grease and some chopped bacon. It’s delicious, especially on a cold day when it’s spitting rain and blowing 40 out of the north!

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