Every holiday season, letters pour in wanting advice on cooking turkeys. Rather than repeat myself annually, I prefer you go to the texascooking.com archives. Everything I know about cooking turkeys is posted there. Look first in "Turkey Time". If there are new developments on the turkey front I will post them here. Let's go to other problems.

Joseph writes:Dr. John - For some reason not readily apparent, my local HEB, Albertson's and Randall's supermarkets do not offer "flank steak" cuts. There's always plenty of "skirt steaks," but very few if any "flank steaks." My question: what cuts of meat can be used as a substitute when recipes call for "flank steak?" Thanks, Joe

Hey Joe: I've had good results with the market people at HEB. Ask them if they can get the flank for you. As a substitute, you can use round steak. It is a lot more tender and won't take near as long to cook. A lot depends on what the recipe is for. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Bob writes: Dr. John - Trying to figure out a good sauce or recipe for ribs using peach schnapps. Thanks, CRAZY Bob

Here we go:

Puree peaches in the blender. Mix all ingredients in a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Enjoy. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Michelle writes: Do you have good recipe for a tasty homemade barbecue sauce? Also how do you keep turkey tips from drying out on the grill?

Michelle: Here is a sauce recipe from my Daddy dated 1939. It is the basic Texas style sauce, good on everything. You might want to add some brown sugar, if it is too tart.

Johnnie Raven's Recipe Bar-B-Q Sauce March 26, 1939

Mix all and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer twenty minutes.

I'm not sure what you mean by turkey tips. If the thinner parts of the turkey get too dry, it is because they cook so much faster than the thicker parts. You can wrap them in foil for about half the cooking time and then unwrap them so they all get done about the same time. You also might want to baste the turkey when it gets dry. Use the following:

Mix all in a non-reactive pot, bring to boil and then simmer 15 minutes. Baste the meat when it starts to look dry. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Anne writes: Dear Dr. John - How would you tell a person that doesn't know hardly anything about grilling to learn how to do it? I don't really know that much about it, but I love the taste and it's also a lot better for you. When my husband works all day, the last thing he wants to do is grill when he gets home so I'd like to be able to do it, but it's kind of expensive to use trial and error. Can you help me? No, I'm not blonde if that's what you are thinking! Ha-ha. But I am serious. Any help would be much appreciated.

Anne: There are hundreds of books on the market that will get you started. Go down to the local bookstore and look around. Better Homes and Gardens puts one out every year. Also go into the www.texascooking.com archives and read one of my articles about grilling. When you get started, if you hit a problem, holler back. Thanks for writing.
Dr. John

Jean writes: Dr. John - It's Monday, October 15. I have a new male friend for whom I will be cooking this Saturday, October 20. He has requested that I make him chili. Now, even though I'm a virtual microwave GODDESS, I know a little about "real" cooking. But, I haven't made chili (or much of anything else, for that matter) in years! I would really like to impress my new friend and want to make the best chili on this planet! Can you help by sharing with me the most fantastic chili recipe you've ever come across? And, can you explain the difference between using ground beef versus sirloin, or whatever kind of "chunk" beef some folks use in place of ground beef? And CAN YOU HELP ME BEFORE THIS SATURDAY!? I REALLY need to impress this man! Thanks for anything! Warmly, Jean

Jean: Big assignment. Here's recipe:

Basic Texas Chili

In a heavy skillet, sauté the meat in a small amount of oil or shortening until it is gray and gives up its juices. Transfer the meat to stew pot and discard juices. While the meat is still hot, mix in the onion and garlic, salt and black pepper to taste. Let it sit for thirty minutes.

Add enough water to cover the meat. Put in the spices and bring to a simmer. Cook until the meat is tender. You may have to add water, if the mix becomes too dry. Add the tomato sauce, and simmer another twenty minutes.

If the chili is not spicy enough for your taste, add a small amount of cayenne.

Mix two tablespoons flour with one half cup of water. Raise the heat under the chili until you get a good boil. Stir in the flour/water mixture, and continue stirring until mixture thickens. Reduce heat and simmer about fifteen more minutes. Serve with saltines or tortillas.

If this is too complicated for you, go to the big grocery store and get a pack of Wick Fowler's 2-Alarm chili mix. Probably get better results with this. Just follow directions.

I prefer rump roast cut into ½-inch cubes. Remove anything white from the meat.

Then we come to the problem of where your feller comes from and what he thinks chili is or ought to be. Best of luck.
Dr. John