Catfish is a local favorite in Texoma with several restaurants serving up their version of the popular fried fish. The Best of Texoma has narrowed down the best places to order catfish locally: Catfish King, Pop’s Place and Huck’s Catfish. All three eateries serve the fish crispy fried, but as two of the owners explained, the differences are in the details.

“We do it the way that David Beard taught us,” Gary Watson the owner of Catfish King said.

Watson has owned the Sherman and Paris restaurants since 1982 when they opened. Beard, the man dubbed the Catfish King, once owned 47 catfish restaurants and started in the industry in 1968. Watson said they follow Beard’s recipes even today.

“We start with keeping it very clean,” Watson said. “It’s fresh daily, thawed daily. We wash it good and salt it the way he taught us and we still use the same meal and flower mixture that we’ve always used. Main thing is our consistency. We try to be as close to the original Catfish King we were in 1986 as we are today.”

Huck’s Catfish could not be reached for comment for this feature.

Over at Pop’s Place, owner Michael Lowery, also known as “Pop,” said he has fish brought in fresh, never frozen.

“It’s brought in because we only sell it on the weekends,” Lowery said. “It’s brought in on Friday. We use a special breading that has some seasoning in it. We use corn flour instead of corn meal.”

Both restaurants fry the fish in deep fryers using vegetable oil.

Along with the fish are dipping sauces. In the South, tartar sauce is a fan favorite. Both eateries make their own cocktail and tartar sauces, and you can’t have fried catfish without hushpuppies.

At the Catfish King, the hush puppies are called Texas sticks because they are not the traditional round shape.

Pop’s Place serves up round jalapeño hush puppies, that are handmade.