Dateline: July 1, 2005

Happy July one and all. One of the Doctor's patients has come up with a good place to get medicinal chili. Here's what he says:

I went to Waterloo Ice House on Burnet Road (in Austin, Texas) the other day for lunch. I saw that they had chili on the menu, so I asked the girl (as a little test) if it had any beans in it. She "thowed" her fists up onto her hips with mock indignation and said, "Of course not! This is TEXAS chili!".

I almost hugged her right there in front o' God and everybody. Brought a tear to my eye! Anyway I've never had better chili at any kind of restaurant/diner/greasy spoon. This stuff was good! I haven't even tried Austin Chili Parlor yet, but they're gonna have to work pretty hard to beat Waterloo's. It was almost as good as my homemade chili.

Now there's an endorsement for you.

If you have had a really good experience at some eatery and would like to share it with our readers, drop the Doctor a line at the usual address. We are not going to do negative items. After all, Texas Cooking is about the best.

Now it's time to answer some questions. Here's one now from Marquisha.

Hi. I just moved here from California and I would like to grill a Tri Tip, but nobody knows what I am talking about. Could you tell me exactly what cut of meat it is so I can ask the butcher to get it for me?

Hi Marquisha: Your butcher should know tri tip as either bottom sirloin butt or sirloin tip of round. I hope that gets you your tri tip. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Leonard is homesick: I was raised in Beaumont and lived there until recently. I remember getting hotlinks at Patillos barbecue joint. These were the greasy, garlicky hotlinks that would begin eating back at you after a couple of hours. I have tried to find the recipe for these links all over the Internet with no success. I notice that you have described them very well in your article about barbecue joints so we are on the right track here. You refer to them as "hot guts". Do you have a recipe for these sausages?

Hi Leonard: Back on, under my Traditional Texas Fare column, there is an article I wrote called The Wurst of Times. It tells all I know about sausage making. For the hot guts, you would use the pork sausage recipe and add crushed red pepper in the amount to your liking.

Do you know how to test raw sausage for flavor? Pinch off a piece about as big as a golf ball. Flatten it out to a quarter inch thickness. Fry it in a non-stick pan with just as little or no grease as you can get by with -- you don't want the added flavor. When the patty is done, it will give you a good idea of how your finished sausage will taste. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Here's one from Anthony: Do you know how to cook a goat in a ground pit covered in dirt? If so, can you send me some recipes and cooking times? Thank you.

Hi Anthony: This is not something you can send instructions for. You have to learn it firsthand from someone who knows the ropes. It requires digging a hole, lining the hole with the correct type of rocks, building a fire of the right size in the hole, and wrapping the goat correctly. Most of all, you have to know how long to let the thing cook. In the end, you just end up with steam-cooked goat. A goat cooked on a smoker is a lot better. Wish I could be of more help. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Carol has a seasoning problem: I just bought a cast iron griddle that said "pre-seasoned". So what is the black stuff on the griddle that makes my food taste bad? I thought pre-seasoned meant ready to go? So I am gonna try your process on this web site to season it today. But will that make the black stuff go away? And do I need to do both sides of the griddle at the same time? Thanks in advance for your wisdom!

Hi Carol: Lodge Manufacturing says to wash their pre-seasoned iron in hot water before you use it. Give it a light coat of shortening before first use. The seasoning, properly installed, will be black.

I suggest you give your piece a good scrubbing with a scrubbing pad and soap in hot water. Dry it and then season it according to instructions. Use solid shorting like Crisco or use hog lard. Don't use butter-flavored products. Don't use any spray-on products. You put the shortening inside and outside on the iron. If this doesn't cure the problem holler at the manufacturer. Let me know how it works out. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John