Dateline: February 3, 2003

We have a waiting room full of patients with laps full of goat, venison and chili fixin's . Let's see if we can get them all feeling better.

Cris writes: A friend gave me some goat meat because it was given to him and he didn't know what to do with it ( being single and doesn't cook much). I was wondering if I should treat it like beef (same marinade and the grill), or is it a little or very different? Any advice would be helpful.

Hi Chris: Goat likes to be smoked or grilled. Go to my January, 2003 column, Oh Deer and Other Wild Game in Texas Cooking and use the venison tips for your nanny. It's as close to wild game as you get on the farm. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Charles writes: How do you make a chili starter? Mine tastes like nothing even smelling like chili. I want to be able to make my own and not use the store chili starter; it's like cheating.

Hi Charles: In my thirty years of chili study, I've never heard the words "chili starter" before. I'm assuming you mean the basic chili seasonings on which you build your pot. Commercial chili powders are a mix of ground chiles plus cumin, garlic and other spices. You can find the pure chile grinds and mix your own. I would use about two-thirds ancho powder and one-third New Mexico red and go from there. You can get a real boost by using comino seeds, toasting them and then grinding them to powder in a spice grinder. And use garlic powder -- not garlic salt. Cayenne for heat. White pepper for up-front heat. You'll just have to experiment until you find your signature mix. The cumin (comino) is what makes the lovely chili aroma. Good luck and thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Christine writes: Hi Dr. John. I just found your site today, and I'm all eyes. It seems you answered a man's question today about how a buddy did an Eye of Round on the grill with newsprint. Well, as it happens, I was given a nice piece of Eye of Round, and I would really like to know, step by step, how to smoke and cook on my 22-1/2& Weber. I know it is a lean cut, but is there a simple or common way to keep it moist? And what internal temperature should it be when done, and what type of rub, etc.? This girl needs some help!

Hi Christine: Wrapping the meat in newsprint is just a gimmick. I wouldn't recommend it. I don't know what all is in the ink they use. I don't know how advanced your grilling/smoking skills are. You might go back to Texas Cooking and read through some of my archived barbecue articles.

I would season that eye up real good, sear it over some hot coals and then wrap it tight in heavy-duty foil and let it steam a couple of hours. You want an internal temperature of 140 degrees for rare, 160 degrees for medium, and 170 degrees for well done. You can poke a hole in the foil and stick the thermometer in. Be careful, some hot juice may squirt out. As the round is very lean, you might want to give it a good coating of cooking oil before you put your dry seasonings on. Good luck and thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Barry writes: I grew up in Texas, but have not cooked goat for way too many years. I now have one in the freezer and would like to slow cook this Texas delight for my friends for the Superbowl, but need some how-to directions, time, etc. I have a New Braunfels smoker and use a propane setup in the firebox to keep the temperature at the desired setting. I have mesquite, apple, etc. available for the smoking flavor. Help would be appreciated.

Hi Barry: Check out my January, 2003 column, Oh Deer and Other Wild Game for the wild game recipes. Use that mop/baste for your goat. The best goat I ever had was made like pulled pork. It was grilled until done, then wrapped in foil and steamed a couple of hours until the meat was falling off the bone. Then the cooker removed the meat from the bones and served it that way, kinda shredded. If you try this, you might mix some of your favorite sauce in with the meat after it's shredded. You'll have to cut the critter into portions that you can handle. I wouldn't try wrapping a whole goat. I hope this helps. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Don writes: I am looking for a good recipe for chili with venison. I am not what you would call a cook, but I really would like to try my hand at making a good chili. I hope you can help me.

Hi Don: Venison makes great chili, but you have to mix it with pork. Use equal amounts of venison and pork. Go back to Texas Cooking and look up my article in Traditional Texas Fare Stop the Presses - Gotta Be Chili. You'll find my basic Texas chili recipe there. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Jane writes: Do you have any suggestions for chili that is too spicy? I have tried adding more tomato sauce, but it's still too hot.

Hey Jane: I hate it when that happens. Sugar will take out some of the heat, but that will make the chili taste funny. You might try heating the chili and adding some instant mashed potato flakes and cooking them in. And here's something else you might do: Mix about a cup of the chili with a can of refried beans and about a quarter pound of Velveeta cheese. Heat it until the cheese is melted. Call it your "Superbowl Spicy Dip". The guys will eat anything.
Dr. John