Fail to prepare, prepare to fail, so the saying goes. That rings true with healthy eating as much or more than anything in life. You should see me food prep and pack just to leave the house for a few hours. I’m packing more supplies than Pedro Pascal getting ready to cross post apocalyptic America.
If I have to take a flight somewhere, forget counting underwear and socks. My luggage is filled with pre-measured bags of protein powder, nuts, dark chocolate, and other snacks needed for my daily success. I’m sure I’ve confused the hell out of some TSA agents. Not to mention the one time I spilled protein powder all over my jeans before flying home…that one got me all up close and personal with several agents in my own private room.
I still have to send out extra Valentine’s day cards from that experience. They are a handsy bunch, and no, I was not happy to see them. Give me one second while I repress those memories back in their cage, so we can get on with the topic at hand.
Whew…I need to get a bigger box, I almost had a jailbreak there.
Where was I? Oh yes, food prep.
Lean protein is key to building and maintaining lean muscle mass. That’s an important thing to do in case a random bunch of airport employees ever start poking at your midsection…or stations south of there. You don’t want to be loose in the cage in that event.
Lucky for us, lean protein sources also are about the easiest food to mass prep for a week’s worth of eating. Chicken breasts are the most obvious choice. They are lean, packed with protein, and versatile. I’ve been ordering my chicken in bulk from a local Arkansas company called Cooks Venture, as they have the only truly pasture-raised slow growth birds I have found in this area.
Those chicken breasts look like they came off of an ostrich, have the texture of a rubber mallet, and are rife with fat striping. That’s where the muscle atrophies from not moving and becomes saturated with fat, and that is not good eats. The Whites Stripes…great band, terrible chicken.
I can walk through every meat department and see it a mile away. The cheap chicken breasts and the expensive ones all look the same, and none of them are worth your money. Super large, white striped chicken breasts are a clear sign of a bird pumped full of growth hormones, lived in a dark cage, and harvested much earlier than nature would have ever intended. If you see this, do what that chicken never could do in life, and just walk away:
Now, if you have ordered your true pasture raised birds that weren’t capable of destroying Tokyo, and you happen to have an outdoor electric smoker, you are in luck. If you don’t have an outdoor electric grill/smoker combo, they can be found for just over $100 and once you have one, you will wonder how you ever lived without it.
Being a smaller cut with little fat, chicken breasts do not fair well with traditional low and slow smoking. We need to go direct heat and hit it with as much smoke as possible in the shortest time, so think chips instead of chunks for this application. Just remember to presoak the wood so they don’t catch fire. Smoke is tasty, fire is not.
I remove the smoker part of my combo, and just use the grill feature, and they turn out perfect every time. You can smoke enough chicken breasts for the week and not have to think about where you are getting your lean protein from for several days. You can eat it on it’s own, slice thin for salads, or mix a half cup of grass fed plain Greek yogurt and a half cup of avocado oil mayo, through in some chopped pecans and grated Parmesan cheese, and you have instant smoked chicken salad:
So to prepare for your food prep, find your source for real chicken, order your grill/smoker combo, and get smoking.
Smoked chicken breasts:
6-8 slow growth pasture raised chicken breasts
Soaked wood chips of your preference
Sea salt, fresh pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika to your preference
Line the bottom of your grill with foil, and place the soaked wood chips directly under the heat element:
Turn the element to high and crack the hood vents just a bit for air flow. Prep your chicken by sprinkling each side with the spices to your desired amount. Once the smoke starts rolling out of the grill, cook the breasts 8 -10 minutes per side:
Once cook time is complete, place the chicken on a platter and cover with foil. Let them rest for 10 minutes before slicing if eating right away:
Heat up an egg white wrap and use for a smoked chicken salad lunch:
See the list of all the Shirtless Chef recipes at www.mysaline.com/shirtless.