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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

  • 1 Whole clove garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 Medium onion, diced fine
  • 1 pound, fresh or canned peeled tomatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons fine grind red chile (New Mexico Red would be best here)
  • 1 Small pinch coriander (ground seeds of cilantro plant)
  • Pinch of oregano
Fry the whole clove in the oil until it turns brown. Discard the garlic. In the oil, fry the onion until limp, then sieve the tomatoes into the pan. Add the herbs and simmer until mixture is reduced by one-third. Keeps well in refrigerator.

Brandi B. is looking for the classic King Ranch Chicken to warm up some visitors.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

  • 1 3 to 4-pound hen
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 Stalks celery, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
In a large pot cover the hen with water and add onion, celery and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer until the hen is very tender. Remove chicken from water and cool until it is cool enough to handle. Strain and reserve all the broth. Remove meat from the bones and discard anything objectionable. Cut into bite-size pieces.
  • 1 Large onion, chopped
  • 1 Large bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Can mushroom soup
  • 1 Can cream of chicken soup
  • 8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Chili powder & garlic salt
  • 12 Corn tortillas
  • 1 Can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
In a 9 x 12-inch baking dish, layer the ingredients as follows: First, soak the tortillas in simmering reserved broth until they are well soaked but not falling apart. Line the bottom of the baking dish with them. Add chopped onions, pepper, chicken and cheese. Season to taste with chili powder and garlic salt. Repeat the layers using plenty of broth. When you have the final layer in, top with the can of Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles using all the juice. The juice should come about half way up in the dish. If you need more, add more broth.

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

  • 1 Recipe of day-old cornbread
  • 1 Large onion, chopped
  • 2 or 3 Stalks celery, chopped
  • 12 Saltine crackers
  • Salt, pepper, celery salt
  • Turkey stock
Boil up the turkey giblets along with some rough-chopped onion, 2 stalks of celery and salt and pepper. When the giblets are done, remove them from the broth, strain the broth and reserve it. Chop the meat from the giblets very fine. (If your family doesn't like liver, omit it.)

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.

If you have a question for Doctor John, send an email to moc.oohay@nevarkeerc
end article

Traditional Texas Food Articles
By Dr. John, Ph.B.

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