Ode to Fall … how I love thee!!

Greetings Carnivores,

The skies are grey, change is in the air. I can feel it, see it, taste it. My house, high on a hill is bearing witness to the trees beyond the lake, turning as I write.

Just a few short weeks from now, when the night time temps dip, the trees will blossom with beautiful hues of Autumn Red, fading to Orange, Gold and Yellow.

Today is nasty in a wonderful Fall sort of way. It’s raining and a bit chilly.

I REALLY DO hate to see the Summer days grow short but … I SOOOO love the Fall. Bright sunshine and cool nights. NO BUGS to spoil any outside leisure activities and, those beautiful colours in the trees.

According to Wikipedia, An “Ode”  is elaborately praising or glorifying an event, describing nature intellectually as well as emotionally.

And so, this is my Ode to Fall … how I love thee!!

Ahhhh, but the promise of Winter … my favourite.

Yes, I know some have a problem with that. Perhaps I’m one of the strange ones.

I SOOOO love to ride my motorcycle. Sadly, I just don’t do very well with the crazy heat and humidity that goes hand in hand with the Summer months here, where I have lived almost all of my life.

Being a Butcher for 35+ years has messed up my internal thermometer. I used to DREAD going to work. “How in the WORLD am I going to stay warm for 8 hours ???” Crazy thing now, I LOVE it !!!

I ACTUALLY look FORWARD to spending the ENTIRE day in the COLD !!! Seriously!!!  I can work my butt off and NEVER break a sweat !! It’s BEAUTIFUL !!

Again, I digress …

Here’s the deal … I SOOOOO look forward to the cold and SNOW !!!

I want to be clear … I LOVE the change of seasons we are blessed with in this part of my beautiful country (Canada) and, I really wouldn’t have it any other way.  As much as I look forward to Spring, and the rebirth of everything green, I ALSO SOOOOOO look forward to the COLD, exhilarating slap of WINTER!!

I am a skier. I love all things out-of-doors, especially in the Winter. I guess that makes me a bit of a “Winter weirdo” and, let’s not forget … a FOODIE too!

For me, the Winter presents a WHOLE new experience for folks that just love to cut, cook, prepare, present and serve FOOD to appreciating people (mainly my Marital equivalent, family and friends). Comfort food to warm the heart and soul. Spicy chili’s, hearty stews and crock pot recipes that beg for a crackling fire, glass of wine and a big sweater.

Coming home today, as I drove up my long driveway, I was wondering “how am I going to impress my marital equivalent for dinner tonight ” and, … I’m SERIOUSLY drawing a TOTAL blank.

I put the key in the door, my beautiful four legged Princesses meet me as usual, and … dinner is gone. Out of my mind like the flush of a big Porcelain throne.

History. It’s play time and … Daddy’s home!!!

I usually give dinner serious thought during the day. Today however, I’m waffling between pulling nasty, last minute, got-no-time-for-anything-else, burgers or worse out of the freezer … OR, (wait for it …) the dreaded “Breakfast-for-dinner”!!! Fast n’ easy, bacon and eggs with toast (yum … so easy, … AND, sooooo good)

Sadly, my lovely spouse just doesn’t “GET” the whole “Breakfast-for-dinner” thing !!!

Back to the drawing board.

With the days growing colder, my opportunities to smoke (food, NOT tobacco or that other funny stuff!) are dwindling.  As the outside temperature drops I must add more and more time to my overall cook, since I use an old water smoker. One of these days I’ll invest in a Big Green Egg but, I digress, … again.

Back to dinner. I want to use my smoker tonight but, I haven’t presoaked any wood chips … or have I ???

This whole diatribe has been the reason for my Blog post today.

I have a ridiculously obvious and simple tip I actually fell into by accident to share.

Back in the summer, after  smoking some ribs for dinner, I was cleaning up and realized there was still half a bag of hickory chips soaking in my bucket. Not wanting to drain them, dry them and store them for next time, instead, I put them into a ziplock bag and stuck them in the freezer.

Waiting for wood chips or chunks to soak can be a pain (at least 30 minutes to 1 hour). If you’re eager to begin smoking food as I am tonight, the wood needs to soak before being added to the grill in order to maintain a slow smolder rather than a quick burn, which can impart an acrid taste to your meat.

In my freezer, I have pre-soaked, ready to use wood chips!! By the time I get the old smoker rockin’ , my chips will be thawed and ready to use!

Necessity is the Mother of Invention AND, the end result of many happy accidents around here !!

BTW, … the same tip is great for soaking bamboo skewers as well.  This is a must before grilling since soaking will help keep the wood from burning before the food is cooked.  You can even use frozen chips for your gas grill too.  Just place them inside a foil pouch with holes poked into it for ventilation and add them to your BBQ while cooking your favourite protein.

Chicken leg quarters, brined, smoked and finished in my little water smoker, served with foil wrapped potatoes and steamed, buttered broccoli.

Comfort food for a chilly night … ahhhh the crackling fire.

Honey? … can I pour you some wine ???

All is good.

Until next time Carnivores, stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

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1977, long hair, an overdue road trip, Lobster carnage and … the Bummer.

Greetings Carnivores,

In 1977 KISS, still reeling from their wildly successful Destroyer album (YES, they were called albums … go ask your parents) were back on the road supporting their new recording, Love Gun.

Back then, a certain wide-eyed, long-haired, teenaged kid was VERY excited to see them play the famous Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto … again.

Kiss1977_7

Flash back to 1977

Around the same time, a 28 ft Bendix Centurion motorhome, shiney as a new penny, rolled off the assembly line at the General Motors Recreational Vehicle Operations plant in London Ontario, Canada.

Fast forward almost 40 years, the old Gardens (in da ‘T’ to da ‘O’ … ask your kids) is now a multi level grocery store with an ice surface as its centrepiece (tragic), the glam rockers are still doing what they do best … touring (albeit older, fatter and minus two original members … tragic), and that young, wide-eyed teenager is now somewhat older and wiser albeit, still … long haired (some ‘might’ say … tragic).

Hey … I’m embracing my inner Peter Pan … I just refuse to grow up. (go ask your parents)

The focal point of my story is not the length of my hair, nor the resilience of my favourite band (or the pounds that seem to creep up on ALL of us) but … the lasting enjoyment of an old 1977 land yacht my friends own and, so lovingly call “The Bummer”.

I often get carried away telling a story … back to the MEAT.

Where am I going with this, you ask ???

EASY kiddies … stay with me on this one … I won’t go too fast.

Turns out, as I write this (through the magic of Wifi internet connections) I am on a road trip in the beautiful New England State of Maine. My Marital equivalent and I are travelling in that ancient relic I mentioned earlier, with our good friends, owners of “The Bummer”

We came East this year, to enjoy the spectacular New England coast and …

EAT SOME LOBSTER !

Although this is a vacation, I really HAVE been paying attention (between beverages) and, I’ve learned a great deal. I particularly wanted to glean some fodder for my blog along the way so, grab yourselves a nice Summer libation and pull up a chair … I’m feeling long winded.

Here goes … the State of Maine licences Lobster fishermen, who set over 3 million (yes … with an “M”) traps seasonally to ply their trade. This sustainable fishery is closely regulated by the Maine Department of Marine Resources, who make sure this fishery is healthy, and these tasty crustaceans are not overfished.

Still … 3 million FREAKIN’ traps? Is there anyone else here that thinks these numbers are MASSIVE ??? HUGE ???!!!

I mean really folks … how many of you can SERIOUSLY wrap your head around THAT MANY ZEROS ??? If traps are hauled twice a day … and each one had a MINIMUM of ONE Lobster in it … WOW !!!

Unless we’re dealin’ with a Lottery check (and I would STILL have trouble) … that many zeros is just outside my scope of understanding …

AND, (here’s the CRAZY part) … THAT’S JUST THE STATE OF MAINE, NEVER MIND THE OTHER NEW ENGLAND STATES  … AND THE CANADIAN FISHERY AS WELL !!!

Wow … the proliferation of these little Sea Cockroaches boggles the mind … the shear numbers !!! THEY’RE LIKE FREAKIN’ RABBITS !!! Anyway, … I digress … again.

Ok so, I knew Lobsters shed their hard outer shells (because I was paying attention in Biology class), what I didn’t know was how often. According to the guide that took us out for a beautiful Sunset tour of the Bar Harbor area, it depends. During the first year of life, a young lobster might molt a dozen times or more. As a juvenile, he will probably molt a couple of times a year. By the time it’s as large as the ones you see in the market, which are typically about 6-8 years old or older, they are probably molting only about once a year. As a lobster grows even older, there will usually be several years between molts. Since I was kinda fascinated about the process I researched it a little bit and came up with this newsletter from The Commercial Fisheries News – August 1999.

“The larger the lobster, the longer it takes it to shed. A legally sized lobster spends about 1/2-hour escaping from its old shell once it has rolled over on its side. To begin shedding, the carapace (part of shell covering the body) lifts up away from the tail. The lobster raises the carapace by swallowing water. Then, the whitish colored membrane between the body and tail bursts, the fluid escapes, and the lobster rolls over on its side. Lobsters shed the body and head first. Next, the eyes pop out under the old shell. By now you can see the new shell covering the body. Throughout this time the lobster pulls and pulls until it finally frees the bulky claw meat from the narrow joints. Once the claws are shed, the entire lobster is freed with the flip of the tail. An intact shell now lies beside the helpless rag. For the next 1/2-hour, the lobster flops around unable to support itself on its legs. The claws are shriveled up and the antennae fall to the bottom. The lobster swells up again with water to build itself a hydrostatic skeleton. Gradually, the claws swell up to fill in the new shell. In a few hours, the new shell grows to its full size.”

Cool huh??

It stands to reason the time it takes to grow a new hard, outer shell is a very dangerous time to be a Lobster indeed, since their main method of protection is their exoskeleton. Something I didn’t know however is this … “soft shelled” Lobsters are cheaper to purchase than their “hard shelled” brethren. We’ve been told there is an abundance of them going through the ‘molt’ right now.

Guess what ???  CHA-CHING !!! CHEAPER! (and, I LIKE cheaper)

Who knew??

The difference in price is extreme too!!!  $3.99 vs $8.99!!!

Apparently these “Soft Shells” are not as coveted because they have less meat. You end up paying for the larger shell (according to the fishmonger) BUT, their meat is considered to be sweeter. We tried them both, side by side and I can tell you something I DID learn: to me, there doesn’t seem to any discernible difference in the ‘amount’ of meat each rendered BUT … the “soft shells” were noticeably sweeter and DEFINITELY more tender!

I have never seen “soft shells” for sale where I live so, if you ever have the opportunity to travel east and visit the beautiful New England coast, BUY THE “SOFT SHELLS” !!

We bought 3 “Soft shells” @ $3.99 for $19.96 vs 2 “Hard Shells” @ $8.99 for $40.49!

My Mama didn’t raise any fools!! (I don’t think)

JUST BUY THE SOFT ONES!!!

The strangest thing I learned however is the fabled “Blue” Lobster is a real, live truth.

blue-lobster

Why so Blue ???

I met some very nice people yesterday who were returning home to Buffalo from a trip to Bar Harbor Maine. We were discussing the “Blue” Lobster and they were convinced it was a tourist hoax … why else would every “Lobster Pound” have at least ONE “Blue” on display in their tanks??? Have they been dyed???

Apparently this “anomaly” is a very rare (one in 2 MILLION!) natural occurrence and NOT tourist trickery.

I learned Lobsters “can be” olive-green, greenish-brown, sometimes even orange, reddish, dark green, or black with speckles, but it is apparently extremely rare to find a lobster that is completely blue.

Unlike true albinism, where there’s a complete lack of pigment, a “Blue” Lobster is caused by a genetic mutation where the lobster’s body makes TOO MUCH of a certain protein, … which turns its shell this crazy electric “Blue”.

Like my Dad always said “I’m from Missouri” (go ask your parents)

Who knew???

One thing’s for sure … the Lobsters never saw us coming. It wasn’t even a fair fight. For almost a week, claws and tails have been flying, shrapnel-like in a frenetic carnage the likes of which normal humans would scorn. It’s as though my friends and I had never been fed.

Maine 019

These guys never even saw us coming … yum!

Oh ya … and that 28ft Centurion?

Maine 015

The Bummer

It’s STILL alive and well, rumbling down the highway, belching black smoke and breakin’ hearts … and, why do my friends call it the “Bummer”?

As Dan puts it … “it’s not a Beemer, it’s not a Hummer … it’s a “Bummer”.

Now you know.

I know I’ve been a little delinquent Carnivores … forgive me, the Summer has been BLAZING by at Lightspeed. Until next time, stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

Pickling, Curing, Salting and Smoking … a primer for preserving food.

Greetings Carnivores,

I enjoy answering questions from people who have a particular meat puzzle. I sometimes hear from those of you who follow my Blog.

Today’s post is an answer (hopefully) for Teresa, regarding Curing salt.

I have been meaning to write about this topic but to be honest, I didn’t think it would make a very interesting read.

I guess I’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not I’ve hit the mark.

Here goes.

For thousands of years people have been Pickling, Curing, Salting, and Smoking their meat, fruit and vegetables as a way of preserving and prolonging it’s ‘normally’ very short shelf life. I fondly remember my Mom and Grandmother, every Summer and Fall ‘putting up’ the harvest veggies and fruit. Making jams, jellies and pickles of all shapes and sizes was a real event around our house back then.

Sadly, today’s family has little, if any time for this tradition. Modern techniques have all but seen this form of home preserving go the way of the Pterodactyl.

Pterodactyl

Just wanted to help you out with a visual here …

Salting meat and fish helps prevent microbial growth by drawing the cellular moisture out of the flesh, thereby retarding the natural spoilage timeline. The salts used in this process are usually a mixture of Sodium Chloride (common table salt), Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite. The Nitrate and Nitrite are both forms of “Pink Salt” and are coloured so they’re are not confused with the common ‘white’ table salt.

Including smoke as an additional preserving technique, adds chemicals (depending on what is being burned) to the exterior which further enhances preservation and adds a strong depth of flavour. There has been some concern in the past that certain chemicals released in smoke are carcinogenic but, as I like to say … “everything in moderation”.

Unless you eat smoked or BBQ’d food Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner … you’ll find these levels much lower than being exposed to tobacco smoke.

A few words about ‘Pink Salt’ aka, Himalayan salt or Prague powder #1 and #2.

Past studies have raised concern regarding both Nitrate and Nitrite … I refer you to the following:

http://chriskresser.com/the-nitrate-and-nitrite-myth-another-reason-not-to-fear-bacon”

Don’t fear the Bacon people !!! 🙂

Up here in Canada, we’re famous for a particular treat, known around the world as, Canadian Back Bacon.

peameal-bacon

World famous, Peameal Canadian Back Bacon

It starts off as a boneless loin of Pork. It’s then injected and pickle cured in a strong brine of ‘Pink salt’ and water. This process makes the cut product a nice looking, pink colour but the outside of the loin has a rather unappealing grey hue. To fix this problem, the whole loin is rolled in peameal (Corn meal) for looks more than anything else, VOILA ! Peameal Canadian Back Bacon.

For those of you who would like to experiment at home making your own Sausages or Cured meats you’ll need to source out your ‘Pink salt’. Start with the ‘net’ … you’ll find LOTS of resources.

Until next time Carnivores stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

Don’t have a Smoker? You don’t need one !!

Greetings Carnivores,

I have written Blog posts about smoking, and the joy of eating food prepared this way but, I understand not everybody owns a smoker. Like I’ve said before, … smoking meat is a labour of love that takes HOURS and, I’m pretty sure not everybody shares my addiction. For me, it’s a bit of a passion. I read about it, watch it on the food network, and try endless recipes and methods in my smoker. I suffer TERRIBLE withdrawal when the weather turns cold because for every one degree drop in outside temperature I have to add 20 minutes to my overall cook time. Winter smoking (with my water smoker) is NOT very practical. I once put my very first electric (Little Chief) smoker in my living room fireplace, and smoked some ribs in the Winter. I wasn’t very popular at my house since the whole place smelled like a smokehouse for DAYS (I thought it was GREAT!!) My poor, long suffering Marital Equivalent didn’t share my enthusiasm however. Through it all though, … she  has endured all my successes AND even some epic fails.

Ok so, where am I going? Here’s the deal. YOU DON’T NEED A SMOKER!

Grilling with charcoal or briquettes is making a HUGE come back and, if you have one of these obviously you can cook/smoke with indirect heat, thus making your grill a wonderful ‘smoker’. BUT … for those of you who use gas grills, you can STILL achieve the same results.

I’m quite sure you’ve all heard about BBQ’ing Salmon on a Cedar plank. Have you ever tried it?  MAN … you’re missing out if you haven’t. But, … did you realize you can cook pretty much ANYTHING on a cedar plank??  The secret is … you have to use a THICKER plank for extended cooking time.

Seems pretty simple when you think about it but … the planks sold at any home improvement,  or big red box store (starts with a “C” and ends with an “O”) are fine for a nice Salmon filet since the total cook time ‘may’ be as much as 7 minutes but, probably no more that 12-13.

When using a plank for cooking, you must soak it for 20 minutes or so before placing it on the grill. Then, you get it rocking ’till it starts to ‘smoke’ (essentially it’s ‘starting’ to smolder) add your fish and … Bob’s your Uncle. 7 to 10 minutes later … NIRVANA!

The problem is … planks sold at the big box stores are EXPENSIVE! Sure, you get 6 or 8 of them in a pkg., BUT, they’re so thin you really only get (if you’re lucky) 15 minutes of cook time out of them before they REALLY start to burn so, they’re not much good for anything OTHER than fish.

Know what I do?

I go to the same home improvement store BUT … I buy a 10 foot, 1 x 6 cedar fence plank (for about 12 dollars) and cut it to any length I need, depending on what I’m cooking.

PLEASE, … DON’T BUY GREEN, PRESSURE TREATED FENCE LUMBER TO COOK ON … THEY’RE INFUSED WITH TOXIC STUFF TO INHIBIT INSECTS AND ROT!!

Ok so, since the 1 x 6 is SO much thicker than the cedar ‘wafers’ they sell FOR the BBQ … you can cook for MUCH longer. Back ribs for instance … cut the board to accommodate the length of the rack, weigh it down and soak it (use the laundry tub if it won’t fit in your kitchen sink) then, put it on the grill, get it rocking ’till it just starts to smolder (smoke),  add your ribs and Voila! Go pour yourself a nice Summer libation, take a chair (spray bottle at the ready) and enjoy the wonderful smells emanating from your BBQ!

Just so I’m clear … always keep a spray bottle of Apple juice handy (you can use plain old water but … where’s the adventure in that?). This serves double duty. First, it helps to keep whatever you’re cooking/smoking  moist (and sweet) and second, to quell any errant flames that ‘may’ want to caress the wood and burn your planked treasure.

Try your favourite Chicken preparation, Lamb, … you can even cook Burgers like this! The cook time will be much longer so please, make sure you use a good digital meat thermometer to insure the correct doneness … I don’t want any of you getting sick. 🙂

I like to transfer whatever I’m planking (except fish … it’ll fall apart) to the grill for some nice grill marks at the end of the cook … it just looks better.

There you have it Carnivores, now … get out there and smoke something. I love to read your comments and answer any questions you may have.

In the meantime, stay tuned and … please click “follow” at the top of the page (Carnivore Confidential). You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new.

Until then, stay hungry Carnivores and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

Salmon … your OHMYGAWD moment has arrived.

Greetings Carnivores,

The mandate I set for myself when starting this Blog was to write about all things Meaty. How to select, cut, cook and prepare Beef, Pork, Poultry, Lamb, Veal, Seafood and Wild Game.

Being that I’m a Butcher first and a self taught Foodie second, I always thought I’d lean toward teaching about cutting the raw product as opposed to sharing my thoughts about recipes. As far as recipes go, I usually ‘stumble’ onto things by happy accident although … my long suffering, Marital equivalent has endured her fair share of full-on gastronomic flops.

But, I feel the need to share so … why change now?

Today Carnivores, I’m going to Blog about my FAVOURITE way to prepare an old standby in my house, and … as promised: Your OHMYGAWD moment has arrived.

Salmon. Wonderful, pink, fatty, oh-so-good for you Salmon.

Here’s the skinny. I LOVE to poach it. Yup, POACH.

I start with a deep sauce pan (I like using my wok) and I add about 6 or 8 cups of good old fashioned, Chicken stock or, plain-Jane water. To it, I add the following:

(by the way … there are no “measures” here … I just ‘eyeball’ everything)

-Small handful of Black Peppercorns
-About the same amount of Capers
-Rough cut (in big chunks) 2 or three carrots, 3 or 4 celery stalks, and one large onion (I leave the skin on because it adds nice colour)
-A pinch of Sea Salt (if you’re using Chicken bouillon cubes or canned stock, omit the salt)
-2 whole lemons, cut in half and squeezed. Throw them into the liquid as well.

Separately, you’ll need:

-A package of Hollandaise sauce prepared according to the directions.
-A few more Capers to garnish the Salmon when cooked.
-Brown rice.
-Chicken stock
-A green vegetable, your choice.

Bring the poaching liquid to a good rolling boil then, turn it down to simmer for at least 20 minutes. The ensuing aroma will make your kitchen smell OUTSTANDING!!

While the broth is simmering, get another pot with a tight fitting lid and add Chicken Stock and brown rice in a 2 to 1 ratio (twice as much stock as rice, depending on the number of people you’re planning to feed). To the rice/stock, add a ‘pat’ of butter (your ‘pat’ may be bigger or smaller than mine … fake it) and some fresh ground pepper. Lay off the salt if you’re using anything other than home made Chicken stock … TONS of salt already added in the prepared stuff.

Okay, ten minutes before the rice is ready, get your beautiful Salmon filets and slide them into the gently simmering broth. Cook for 7-9 minutes, maybe a ‘little’ more depending on the thickness of the fish. Some people like to eat their Salmon slightly “pink” … if you’re one of them, adjust the cooking time for yourself.

With a slotted spoon, gently remove the Salmon from the liquid, and plate with the rice. Spoon the Hollandaise on the Salmon and garnish with the Capers. Serve with a side of something green for colour.

Your “OHMYGAWD” moment will arrive exactly at the same time you take your first bite.

You can thank me later … 🙂

Stay hungry Carnivores and, as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

Pooped ??? I prescribe … RED MEAT !!

Greetings Carnivores,

My wife related a story to me the other day … one I thought would make a good Blog subject, and it goes something like this:

One day last week she was catching up with her girlfriend Rosalind on Facebook. Over the course of the conversation Ros related that she had been feeling “like death”. Run down, lethargic, out of breath, no energy, in general … pooped. She was at her ‘wits end’ when something crazy happened. She had made herself a steak for dinner and, much to her surprise, she felt SOOO much better after she ate. Her question to my wife was … “is it possible that all that was wrong with me was I needed some Iron?”

Was eating steak the magic potion she required???

Biology and Chemistry classes taught me that Red blood cells contain iron. This is vitally important because this is how these cells transport oxygen around the body. If you have an Iron deficiency, your red blood cells don’t have enough iron to carry oxygen to your body efficiently. This is the reason you feel fatigued, breathless and tired, appear pale, … in other words … pooped.

I’m not a nutritionist but I do know that Beef is an excellent source of Iron. This just happens to be wonderful news for Carnivores since Beef and most other animal proteins contain PLENTY of Iron. The darker the flesh, the higher the Iron content. Example: Beef is higher in Iron than Pork and, dark Poultry meat is higher that white.

You can of course get Iron from non-animal sources (but where’s the fun in that???) Green leafy vegetables like Spinach, Kale, Broccoli … the list is quite long. Try adding nuts to your diet too but … here’s the craziest way to add extra Iron to your diet: cook with a cast Iron skillet. Yup … Iron actually leaches out of cast Iron cooking utensils.

So, there you have it folks … feeling down? Lethargic? Out of Breath? Grab yourself a nice big 2″ thick Strip loin and put it to the flame.

Dr. Dougie says you’ll be ship-shape in no time.

C.C Jan. 29 2013 005

Load up those Red Blood cells with Iron … EAT BEEF!!

Stay hungry Carnivores

’till next time, follow me on Twitter @DougieDee and don’t forget to ‘like’ and ‘share’ my posts at http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

Something’s fishy …

Greetings fellow Carnivores.

First, I want to apologize for being absent from my Blog this past week and a half. I was away on vacation skiing (yes it was wonderful, thank you!) I didn’t mention this tidbit because, THAT would effectively announce to the internet masses that my house was going to be sitting here empty while I was away. Call me paranoid but, I KNOW there are lots of bad guys out there, willing to take full advantage of ‘found’ information like that. It STILL amazes me when I see people posting ON FACEBOOK, specific dates they will be away on Vacation and in so doing, letting everyone know their home is an empty, wide open invitation for thieves but, I digress.

Anyway folks, today I want to talk about a ‘Hot Button’ topic that’s front and centre. The raging debate over Wild vs. Farmed Salmon.

I personally LOVE Salmon whether it’s poached, baked, BBQ’d, fried, smoked or even canned but, in the past few years it has become more and more difficult to ignore the growing mountain of information supporting the Wild choice over the farmed one.

I NEVER wanted to use this platform for spouting political views or issues BUT, I believe if given the choice, we ALL want to support a method that is ‘SUSTAINABLE’ vs one that adversely affects the overall health of the food we eat and the industry it comes from. Hopefully you’ll find the following helpful.

In order to understand the industry a little better, you need to first know there are TWO types of “Farmed” Salmon: Open Pen, and Closed Pen. Open pen refers to floating pens usually found in protected Bays or close to coastlines and, Closed pens are huge tanks, usually found on dry land although they can be situated in the water but are sealed from the outside elements meaning: they do NOT contribute to the growth of parasites like Sea Lice nor do they allow fish waste and antibiotics to be washed into the surrounding ‘wild’ environment.

Consider this: Farmed Salmon, has the ‘potential’ to escape their pens and in doing so, pressure is put on Wild Salmon stocks competing for food. Also, because of the Open pens proximity to rivers and streams, parasitic outbreaks such as Sea Lice or Infectious Salmon Anemia can be catastrophic to wild Salmon fingerlings returning to the sea after spawning.

Farmed Salmon has a lower concentration of Omega 3 Fatty Acid (the good stuff) than it’s Wild counterpart and, because of it’s relatively ‘sedentary’ life style, farmed fish have been found to be higher in fat and lower in protein than their Wild brethren.

Closed pen farming on the other hand is SUSTAINABLE and healthier for both the fish and the people who consume them. The fish waste can be collected and used as farm fertilizer, there is no danger to Wild stocks from infectious contamination, the Wild stock would be free to forage for food without competition from tens of thousands of escapees, the Pens could be located close to processing facilities, further benefiting the communities surrounding them and let’s not forget about the job creation too.

As of this writing, Closed Pen farming is still NOT the preferred method simply because of the cost involved in converting but, there is a ground swell and all of us can help.

I know I’ve already spouted off too long here but, I believe it’s an important choice we all can help make. If you really want to make a difference, contact your local politicians and make your case for CLOSED PEN Salmon farming over the current Open pen method.

Until then my fellow Carnivores, you’ll find me eating the Wild stuff.

As usual, please ‘like’ me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential ‘share’ with your friends and families, and follow me on Twitter @DougieDee