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The waiting room is full of patients again. Nothing really serious today, just a few allergies. We did get something new to share with our readers from the Poteet Country Winery, one of many wineries now operating in Texas. (Poteet is near San Antonio.)

Bob Denson of the Poteet Country Winery writes: Did you know that the Mustang wine made at Poteet Country Winery is aged in Mesquite wood? Most red wines are aged in oak, but we use chips form WW Woods of Pleasanton, Texas in stainless steel tanks to impart a subtle hint of mesquite to the wild Texas Grape wine. It has won two awards so far, and is now our best selling wine. It goes good with Texas-style cooking and grilling.

Hey Bob: Thanks for the news on mesquite flavored wine. I'll pass it along to my readers. I'm gonna send someone over to get a jug of your best for my personal testing. I have an Uncle-in-law who makes mustang wine that is to die for. He's up in Williamson County. He'll give you a glass, but keeps the big supply for himself. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Mark writes: I'm using my new smoker -- the kind with a box on the side -- and trying to get the heat where I want it seems impossible. It is hard to get it hot and keep it hot for the most part. Is there something I'm doing wrong? I smoked some ribs today and they didn't turn out as good as they should have. Please any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.

Mark: Without seeing your smoker, it's hard to figure out the problem. First of all, is the smoke stack on the end opposite the firebox? I've seen some with the smoke stack right at the firebox, and the heat goes up the stack without heating the cooking chamber. Or, the smoke stack may be too large. Try covering it with a tin can or something and see if the heat comes up. If it does, you may have to put on a restrictor and cut down on the outlet size. Do you have an air inlet on the firebox? You need air to get a hot fire. Theory is to start with a lot of air and then cut down on it after the chamber comes up to heat. You should be able to get a good roaring flame on the wood if there is enough air. If there is not an air inlet, try leaving the door open just a little to see if that helps. You are using wood aren't you? Charcoal won't work in a firebox unless you use a lot of it.

Check this out and get back to me. We'll get you smoking one way or the other.
Dr. John

James L. writes: I have lost my recipe for Black Bean Chicken Chili. I have searched the net but to no avail. If you have one or know where I can get one, please email ASAP as my family is craving it. I got the recipe from either Woman's World or Good Housekeeping a few years ago. Thank you . . . Hankering for Chili in Kelowna BC Canada

James: Here's what I found:

Black Bean Chicken Chili

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small chickens, cooked
  • 4- 16-oz. cans black beans with liquid
  • 2- 16-oz. cans Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
  • 1- 8-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1- 6-oz. can tomato paste
Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sauté the red and green pepper and onion until tender. Add garlic and the remaining seasonings. Reduce heat and sauté for another couple of minutes. Add chicken meat to the pepper mixture and sauté for another two to three minutes. Add beans, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste to the mixture.

Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until the chili thickens.

Thanks for writing. Dr. John

My editor forwarded a letter from Sam who was asking about cooking a goat.

Hey Sam: The boss forwarded your question about cooking goats to me. It's no big deal. I'm supposing you get your goat already dressed and don't do the slaughtering yourself. That's a whole other story.

If you have a pit big enough, the goat should be split down the backbone to make two halves. Season him up real good with your favorite seasonings. Goats like the smell of oak or mesquite wood smoke.

Start cooking him bone side down. Don't get the smoker too hot; 250 to 300 degrees should be about right. About every 45 minutes give him a good mopping with Italian dressing.

When the little darling is done, let him set about ten minutes off the fire before you slice him. This should get you decent results.

Okay, here's something we keep to ourselves. The best goat I've ever had was treated this way: When he's done, wrap him tight in foil. Put him back on the fire for about 30 minutes. Then you remove all the meat from the bones like you would pulled pork. Mix the shredded meat with a little of your favorite finishing sauce. It just don't get much better. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Lin writes: I read your recommendations for selecting the proper wood for smoking. My question is, what about plum? Is it good to smoke with?

Lin: Plum wood would fall in the fruit wood category. It will make a mild, sweet smoke. Should be very good for your lighter cooking such as chicken, fish, etc. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Mary B. writes: I bought a turkey fryer and would like to do a prime rib roast. Would you have a recipe that I could use? Thanks in advance.

Mary: There has been some speculation as to whether or not large cuts of meat such as the rib roast can be fried. I am of the opinion that it won't work very well. I think the outside would be completely cooked to death by the time the inside got done. As far as I know, no one has tried it. The reason it works on a turkey (again, my opinion) is that the oil goes inside the turkey and cooks it from both sides. The thickest part will be about three inches thick. That would equal cooking a cut of beef one and a half inches thick.

If you want to be a pioneer and try it here's what I would do. Big problem is getting seasoning inside the meat. I would put my seasonings on the roast and put it in a zip-lock bag and let it marinate in the refrigerator for about two days. I would season with equal parts of black pepper, salt, onion powder and half a part of garlic powder. If you try it, report back to me and we will share the information gained with the texascooking.com readers. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

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