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John Raven, Ph.B. answers your questions
about Traditional Texas Food
Online Since 1997
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Cooks Need to Know
Handy substitutions, equivalent measurements and metric conversions
for your food business
If you have a question for Doctor John, send an email to moc.oohay@nevarkeerc
Doctor John is running a little late with his advice this month due to the ravages of the flu bug that is going around. But, he's feeling a lot better now.
The Doctor gets a lot of e-mail asking about how long to cook things. Questions like,"I'm going to cook a 110-pound hog on a smoker -- how long do I cook it?", "How long do I cook a 15-pound turkey?", "How long does it take to cook a 14-pound brisket?"
The obvious answer is "Cook it until it is done." But The Doctor can't bring himself to give a snippy answer like that.
How long you cook something depends on the temperature being used for cooking and the thickness of the meat being cooked. It obviously takes longer to cook something at 250 degrees than it takes to cook the same cut at 350 degrees. Everyone needs a thermometer in the smoker or grill. You also need a good meat thermometer to check the progress of the inside temperature of the meat. Any good kitchen shop will have either or both kinds of thermometers. What temperature to maintain in the smoker is a matter of opinion. It will take some experimenting to find the one that suits you best. A good place to start is between 250 and 300 degrees. The meat thermometers usually come with instructions or a built-in scale to tell you what a particular reading means (for instance, 160 degrees = beef medium, or 140 degrees =beef rare).
Ed N. asks for a recipe for Chili Colorado sauce. Here it is:
Chili Colorado Sauce
Brandi B. is looking for the classic King Ranch Chicken to warm up some visitors.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Put the dish in the refrigerator for at least one day to let the seasonings mix. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
Ann Mc. wants a recipe for dressing to serve with her smoked turkey.
Cornbread Dressing for Smoked Turkey
Crumble the cornbread into a large mixing bowl. Crush the saltines and add them.
In a heavy skillet, sauté the onion and celery until limp and slightly browned on the edges. Add to the mix. Add in the chopped giblets.
Ladle in warm broth and mix well until you get the consistency you like. Should be just a little wetter than you would think. Place in baking dish and bake at about 350 degrees until it is golden brown on top and just a little crusty. Dish looks good decorated with sliced hard boiled egg.
Thanks to everyone for being patient with us this month. Keep the requests coming in. We can't get to all of them but we try to use the ones that will be useful to the largest number of our readers.
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