IDNR to hold Asian carp cookout

IDNR to hold Asian carp cookout
Matt O'Hara with IDNR holds up a 20 pound black carp that was caught at Horseshoe Lake in Alexander County in 2018. O'Hara is leading an effort at the lake to catch hundreds of Asian carp and study the rare black carp.

CARTERVILLE AND MAKANDA, Ill. (KFVS) - The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), in partnership with Sorce Freshwater Company and the Midwest Fish Co-op, will be hosting nine free Asian carp cookouts across the state on Saturday, October 17.

Two of the locations will serve up free meals in southern Illinois.

The first cookout on Saturday will be held at the Giant City State Park Visitors Center in Makanda from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Chefs with Cristaudo’s Café, Bakery and Catering in Carbondale will prepare and serve a Jamaican Escovitch fish taco. The bakery will also serve the dish at upcoming Southern Illinois Collaborative Kitchen events in the coming weeks.

The second cookout will be held a Walker’s Bluff Vineyard from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Chefs from Walker’s Bluff Vineyard will prepare and serve Asian carp in the winery’s tasting room.

The following are the seven other locations serving free Asian carp meals on Saturday:

  • Chicago, Logan Square from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Asian carp tacos will be prepared by El Rancherito Restaurant.
  • Chicago, Lincoln Park: Dirk’s Fish & Gourmet Shop from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Asian carp burgers will be prepared and served by owner Dirk Fucik.
  • Chicago, Pilsen: Open Books Chicago, 905 W 19th St. from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Asian carp tacos will be prepared by Mole Village Mexican Restaurant.
  • Peoria: Kelleher’s Restaurant from 11:00 to 1 p.m. In partnership with the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, Greater Peoria Economic Development Council and Distillery Labs, Kelleher’s will serve a chef’s choice of regular Asian carp daily specials.
  • East Peoria: Levee District, at a tent near Target parking lot, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. In partnership with the City of East Peoria, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, Greater Peoria Economic Develop Council and Distillery Labs, a chef provided by Sorce Enterprises will prepare and serve Asian carp.
  • Springfield: Carter’s Fish Market from11a.m. to 1 p.m. Owner Clint Carter will prepare and serve Louisiana style Asian carp hush puppies drizzled with a Remoulade sauce. Beginning Oct. 21, customers can enjoy a fish taco special at The Barn located at 1501 Wabash Ave.
  • Quincy: Red Light Bar & Grill from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Red Light Bar & Grill will prepare and serve Asian carp sliders. The sliders also will serve as a daily special for the week following the Asian carp cookout.

In addition to these locations, students at the Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campuses will also have a chance to tastes Asian carp creations at select dining halls.

Asian carp are an invasive species wreaking havoc on the Mississippi River and other waterways for years. The fish are damaging native aquatic populations and habitats.

“Removing Asian carp from our waterways has long been one of our best and most well-known tactics when it comes to keeping these invasive fish from the Great Lakes,” said IDNR Director Colleen Callahan. “But what is lesser known when it comes to Asian carp is the overwhelming benefit as both a food source and potential menu item for restaurants. To showcase its nutritional benefits and adaptability as protein source, we’re partnering with businesses to provide free meals across the state.”

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