Doctor John wishes to kick off this month's column by reminding everyone that

NOVEMBER IS NATIONAL HOG LARD MONTH

The National Hog Lard foundation headquartered in Brownwood, Texas, has announced that November 15, 1999, is NATIONAL HOG LARD DAY. The NHLF urges everyone to pay tribute to the food that greased the wheels of a nation from Plymouth Rock to California. The pioneers depended on hog lard for many things, much like the American Indians depended on the buffalo. From greasing wagon axles to preserving meat to frying supper, the renderings of the hog has served America well. Fry something.

The start of the holiday season always brings requests for smoked turkey tips. I've covered the subject in my regular column this month. Check it out.

We got a note from Mary wanting to know how to go about deep frying a turkey and what equipment was needed.

Mary: Deep fried turkey seems to be a Cajun delicacy that has become fairly popular over the last few years. You will need a big pot and a big propane burner to heat it. The Cajun supply stores have the complete set up for $75 to $100. Their kit comes with a "turkey lifter" for getting the bird in and out of the pot. You will also need five or more gallons of peanut oil.

The bird must be completely thawed and as dry as possible as water and hot oil don't mix worth a darn. This is definitely an outdoor project. The bird gets a good dose of Cajun seasoning. Before you invest in the equipment to fry a turkey, find a place where you can sample the end product first. You may find that you prefer your turkey smoked or roasted in the traditional way.

Margaret says her father is a big fan of barbecue and she would like to find some pictures of early barbecue scenes for him.

Margaret: Best I can tell you is to go to your local library and ask them for help. There are some prints at the Texas Institute of Cultures that appeared in "Texas on the Halfshell" which is now out of print. The Institute may be able to help. Perhaps some of our readers could assist, too.

CPT Sean up in Ft. Hood wants to know what to do with leftover brisket.

Sean: My favorite way to handle leftover brisket is to make "Faux Fajitas". Slice the brisket very thin. Warm it either in the microwave or wrapped in foil. Serve on a warm flour tortilla with chopped tomato and chopped onion and some shredded cheddar. Top with a dab of picante sauce. You can also add some guacamole if you like. Texas tradition calls for "Chopped beef sandwich". Chop or grind the brisket very well and heat it with enough of your favorite red barbecue sauce to get a good texture. Serve on a bun with onion and pickle.

Sandy must have a big party coming up as she asked for a recipe for baked beans to serve 150 people.

Sandy: Here's a good recipe for Hot and Spicy Baked Beans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels and drain. Transfer 2-1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings from skillet to large bowl. Finely chop bacon; add to bowl. Add onion and next 7 ingredients to bowl and whisk to blend. Whisk in 4 to 6 teaspoons chipotle chiles, depending on spiciness desired. Stir in beans.

Transfer bean mixture to 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Bake uncovered until liquid bubbles and thickens slightly, about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. Serves 8-10.

[Doctor John note: You can omit the chipotles without harming the recipe. To serve 150, do this 15 times.] Serve these hot or at room temperature.

Julie is wanting a recipe for chili-rubbed chicken.

Julie: Here's something for you to try. Depending on how much chicken you are preparing, start with about three-quarters of a cup of blended chili powder. Add one tablespoon cumin, one teaspoon of salt, and a quarter cup of brown sugar. Mix well. Add enough tomato sauce to get a good stiff liquid that will adhere. Give your dry chicken halves or pieces a good coating of the spice mixture. Grill over medium heat until done. Serve topped with your favorite cheese.

Dennis is wanting a mess of blackened oysters.

Dennis: The Doctor has looked high and low but found no recipe for blackened oysters. Close as he came was blackened scallops. He says that might be close enough. He recommends that you get your oysters as dry as you can and then give them a good coating of blackened seasonings. Put them in a very hot cast iron skillet and move them around until crispy.

David wanted to know what "Texas Style Ribs" were.

David: I sent you an e-mail saying that they were probably referring to the "Country Style Ribs" which are from the pork shoulder. Since then I have run across an advertisement for "Texas Style Ribs". They appear to be beef cut into strips about one inch square and six or eight inches long. I haven't tried them but I'll bet they are tougher than shoe leather. Might be suitable for something you stew a long time. I doubt they could be done in a decent manner on the smoker or grill.

Boppee asks for a recipe for green chili made from pork.

Boppee: It's traditional to use pork for green chili. I've got a recipe that will get you on the road to green chili success.

In your chili pot or in a heavy skillet, sauté the pork until it is browned on all sides. Transfer to bowl with a slotted spoon. Sauté the onions in the skillet until they are transparent. Add the flour to the drippings and onions and mix well and cook for several minutes. Add the pork back to the pan. Add the seasonings plus the green chilies and bring to a simmer. Cook until the meat is very tender. Add salt to taste.

As you get into this recipe, you might want to use some fresh roasted and peeled chiles. Seems to me it would benefit from a jalapeno or two.

Have a good Thanksgiving, and keep those cards and letters coming.