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John Raven, Ph.B. answers your questions
about Traditional Texas Food
Online Since 1997
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Dateline: February 2, 2004
It looks like 2004 will be a busy year for Dr. John. We have a locker full of questions. Let's get to them.
Mike writes:My daughter is doing a report for her Spanish class this week. She is doing it on Fajitas. After searching the web for a while, we found that there are several different versions of where they came from. Some reports say Texas, while we even found one article claiming that they are actually French in origin. You can imagine how much this upset her since, if they are from France, she cannot use them for her Spanish report. Can you please clear this up for us? Thanks.
Hi Mike: I'm sure fajitas are of Mexican origin. After all, they do have a Mexican name. If they were from France, they would be called crepes. I first heard of them in the mid 70's. Since then they have turned into something way different from the original.
The original fajita was grilled flank steak with pico de gallo in a tortilla. Thanks for writing.
Richard writes:Richard in Reno, Nevada here. I heard that you can get leprosy from undercooked armadillo. Is this a fact or just an urban legend? Thanks, and I enjoy your website.
Hi Richard: Part truth, part fiction. Some armadillos do carry leprosy. They are found only in the marshy, coastal regions of Texas and Louisiana. I don't think there is a documented case of anyone catching leprosy from an armadillo, but it's a good idea to avoid the little critters from the above areas just in case. I don't think enough armadillos make it to the table for there to be anything to worry about. Just avoid those from South Texas and Louisiana. Thanks for writing.
Mike writes:I recently got a turkey deep fryer. Don't know why I waited so long. The turkey was great. After Thanksgiving my aunt suggested when we get together for Christmas we deep fry a pork roast. I've been checking the Internet for recipes, but don't find any. Are there any you know of? Is this not a recommended thing? We're gonna try it anyway, just wanted to have an idea first. Thanks.
Hi Mike: The only thing we haven't deep-fried so far is shell-on armadillo. I've had several deep fry sirloin roasts. But you may be the pioneer in the pork division. My best information on frying the beef is about 3-1/2 minutes per pound. You would want to check internal temperature about two-thirds through the cooking time to see where you are. Here's the kicker. The outside is going to get overcooked and crusty. That may be good with pork. I would advise using two small roasts instead of one big one. They will cook through quicker and cut down the crust. Let me know how it works. Thanks for writing.
Galbers asks:Is it acceptable to freeze eggnog?
Hello Galbers: I think it would be okay. I don't know if the texture will change when you thaw it. If it does, you can just thaw it a little and eat it like ice cream. If it has alcohol in it, it will just get mushy; it won't freeze. Thanks for writing.
Robert writes:Why do cookbooks all say to peel poblanos? Is there any harm that can come from eating the skin? Any problem with eating them raw? I like them that way.
Hey Robert: We have so many folk with delicate constitutions nowadays that they don't want to have to chew anything. If you like the potatoes raw and unpeeled, have at 'em. Probably healthier to eat them that way anyway. Thanks for reading and writing.
Here's Dan:Hi! I am new to smoking meat and making good Texas brisket. I have yet to buy a smoker. Do you have any advice or recommendations on them? I have seen both electric and charcoal. Which works best? I appreciate your help on this!
Hey Dan: Go with the charcoal. I've had several people complain that the electric smokers just won't hold the heat up to snuff. I also think you get a far better taste with charcoal. I'd shop for brand name in smoker. Weber or Brinkmann both make fine products. Shop around a little. Prices may still be down from the long winter season. They will get more expensive when the weather warms and folk go to buying them.
Thanks for writing.
Becky writes:I was wondering if you can freeze pinto beans after cooking. Also, can you make bean and cheese burritos and freeze them?
Ah yes Becky: The beans freeze well. Best way is to put them in freezer bag and be sure to get all the air out. Same goes for the burritos. Thanks for writing.
From Ashley:I recently bought a CharGriller Super Pro for my boyfriend for Christmas. If you're not familiar with the brand, it's a cast iron grill with a side chamber for smoking. The grill is in the shape of an oil drum set horizontally.
We were informed by his father that we needed to season the grill before we used it, in order to remove the impurities or residue and residue metals from the grill. The instruction manual that came with the grill did not have suggestions on how to do this. I have hopelessly been searching for hours on the Internet, and have only found a few suggestions on how to correctly season a grill. Since all the suggestions I have found are completely different from each other, I was wondering what you would suggest to be the best method for seasoning a grill. Thank you for your time. I greatly appreciate your help.
Hi Ashley: Here's what I would do: First wash the grill with hot soapy water to remove any coating the manufacturer may have put on it to keep it from rusting. When the grill is dry, give it a light coating of shortening such as Crisco all over top and bottom. Install the grill and build a hot fire in the smoker. Just let the fire burn down. When things are cool, wipe the top of the grill with a clean cloth. Before each use, give the grill a light brushing with oil or melted shortening. This will keep the food from sticking. I think that should do it. Thanks for writing.
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