Let’s talk about real food. What exactly is “real food” and why is it so important? 

Real food is food that is as close to its natural state as possible. It’s primarily unprocessed, free of chemical additives and rich in nutrients. Our bodies constantly require nutrients to function, and replenishing with wholesome, real food is absolutely essential for optimal performance and health. 

One of my most favorite quotes I have come across is “processed food can support life, but real food supports health and adds to quality of life.” That is, in a nutshell, why it’s so important to eat real food. Sure, you can stay alive by eating processed, factory-made foods, but you certainly won’t be feeling your best. 

So visit those farmers markets and meet the farmers who grow our fruits and veggies. Get to know our local fishermen who spend their days out at sea to bring us the freshest and healthiest fish and seafood. And it never hurts to make friends with hunters who harvest their own wild proteins free of antibiotics and hormones — sometimes they even share. 

Best yet, get outside and do it yourself. There is truly nothing more rewarding than harvesting your own meal. Whether you’re growing a garden in the spring, picking berries in the summer, foraging for mushrooms in the fall, or stocking that freezer full of nutrient rich proteins all year round, having a connection with your food is life changing.

Smoked Salmon Recipe by Smoked Meat Sunday 

Ingredients

• Whole salmon or whole salmon ribs 

Smoked Salmon Brine

• 1/2 cup kosher salt

• 1/2 cup brown sugar

• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1 tablespoon paprika

Smoked Salmon Glaze

• 1/4 cup honey

• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 

• 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions

1. Combine the brine ingredients in a food safe container.

2. Place your salmon in the container and then liberally sprinkle the brine over your fish. Every nook and cranny of the fish fillet should be covered with your dry brine. Once the fish is adequately covered, cover the pan with saran wrap and place the whole pan in your refrigerator.

3. Let the fish brine for at least 3 hours, and up to 6 hours. Any longer and it will be too salty.

4. After the salmon has been brined, rinse each of the fillets thoroughly and then pat dry.

5. Place the fish on a grill rack and then put the rack on the sheet pan you were using before, and back in the fridge with the fish! If you don’t have room in the fridge, you can put the fish in a cool, well-ventilated area. The fish will need to sit out for at least three hours. This step produces a tacky film on the surface of the salmon, called the pellicle. The pellicle will help your trout or salmon hold more of that smoke flavor you’re looking for, and it keeps the fish from cooking too quickly.

6. Set your smoker up to cook with indirect heat at around 140 or 150 degrees, and then place your salmon fillets on the grill grates.

7. Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.

8. Stir the ingredients until the honey and brown sugar has dissolved, and then set aside.

9. At the end of each hour, brush your fish with the glaze.

10. After two hours, increase the temperature in your smoker by 20 degrees. Repeat this process every two hours. 

11. Smaller salmon only take a few hours to smoke, but larger salmon pieces can take several hours. Check the temp of your fish with a good meat thermometer after a few hours, and when the fish has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees, you can pull the fish from the smoker.

12. When the fish is done smoking you can eat it warm, or let it cool for about 60 minutes before putting it in an airtight container in the fridge.

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