This process is simpler than baking, and superior in resulting flavor, since the fish is basted in its own juices, and is delicately browned by the direct action of the fire. The surface of the fish is lightly moistened with olive oil (first choice) or butter; lacking these, use drippings, or bacon grease, or lard. Then place the fish in the pan and add two or three morsels of grease around it. Roast in front of a good fire, just as you would bake biscuit. Be careful not to overroast and dry the fish by evaporating the gravy. There is no better way to cook a large fish, unless it be planked.
More expeditious than baking, and better flavored. Split and smooth a slab of sweet hardwood two or three inches thick, two feet long, and somewhat wider than the opened fish. Prop it in front of a bed of coals till it is sizzling hot. Split the fish down the back its entire length, but do not cut through the belly skin. Clean and wipe it quite dry. When plank is hot, spread fish out like an opened book, tack it, skin side down, to the plank and prop before fire. Baste continuously with a bit of pork on a switch held above it. Reverse ends of plank from time to time. If the flesh is flaky when pierced with a fork, it is done. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the fish, moisten with drippings, and serve on the hot plank. No better dish ever was set before an epicure. Plenty of butter improves it at table.
Clean, remove fins, but leave on head and tail. Prepare a stuffing as follows: put a cupful of dry bread-crumbs in q frying-pan over the fire with two tablespoonfuls of drippings, or the equivalent of butter, and stir them until they begin to brown. Then add enough boiling water to moisten them. Season this stuffing rather highly with salt, pepper, and either celery seed, or sage, or a teaspoonful of highly chopped onion. Stuff the fish with this and sew up the opening, or wind string several times around the fish. Lay several strips of salt pork or bacon in the pan, and several over the top of the fish. Sprinkle over all a little water, pepper, salt, and bread crumbs (or dredge with flour). Bake in a hot oven, basting frequently. When flakes of fish begin to separate, it will be done. This is best for coarse fish.
"Take a fresh-caught fish and rub it in soft clay from the river bank, against the scales and gills. When the clay is set a little, roll the whole fish in a blanket of clay, till the body is completely covered. Dry in the heat of the fire for fifteen minutes; bury in the hot coals and ashes till the clay is hard. Rake the brick out of the fire and crack it open with the hatchet. The fish will split in two pieces; the spine can easily be taken out; the 'inwards' are shrunk to a little ball, which can be flipped off; and the scales are stuck on the clay. Dust on a little salt, and you have a meal fit for—a hungry hunter." (Frank Bates).