Each week I get several requests for information on cooking brisket Texas Style. That information is available online under "Traditional Texas Fare" at Texas Cooking Online (www.texascooking.com).

In the great pea salad chase, I got two great recipes. If you'd like to have a copy, send a SASE to Dr. John, RR 2, Box 200, Johnson City,TX 78636.

Our first question, from Patty, is about Tri Tip Steak. She writes:

I can not figure out what they use for marinade. I thought it was Italian dressing sort of, but I can't figure it out. Any ideas?

Dear Patty:

After a little research, the good Doctor has come up with two marinades for your tri tip. Tri Tip seems to be the West Coast version of sirloin tip. Has a Hawaiian flavor to it.

Marinade #1:

Mix all the ingredients well, cover the meat with them and place in plastic bag in refrigerator at least an hour, better overnight. Grill over hot coals

Marinade #2:

Mix ingredients and proceed as above.

Thanks for Asking Dr. John

Our next request comes to us from Canada. A nice lady says that on her recent visit to Texas her son discovered flautas and now that is all he wants to eat. She asked for flauta recipe.

Flautas (Crisp-Fried Beef-Stuffed Corn Tortillas)

For the filling:

In a large saucepan combine the beef, 1 of the onions, sliced, 1 of the garlic cloves, chopped, the salt, and water to cover. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer the mixture, covered partially, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, until the beef is tender. Let the beef cool in the broth, drain it, reserving 1/3 cup of the broth and, with forks, shred the beef. Finely chop the remaining onion and mince the remaining garlic. In a large skillet, cook the onion and garlic in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened. Add the shredded beef, tomato sauce, the jalapeņo, cumin, reserved broth, and salt and pepper to taste, and simmer the mixture, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until thickened. Let the filling cool.

Working with 1 warmed tortilla at a time and keeping the others covered, spread about 2 rounded tablespoons of the filling down the center of each tortilla, roll up the tortillas, enclosing the filling, and secure the ends closed with wooden picks. Keep the rolled tortillas covered with plastic wrap. The flautas may be prepared up to this point 2 hours in advance and kept covered tightly with plastic wrap and chilled.

In a large skillet heat 1/2 inch of the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot, but not smoking. Fry the flautas in batches, turning them, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they are crisp. Transfer them with tongs as they are fried to paper towels to drain. Spread the lettuce on a platter or divide it among 6 plates, arranging the flautas on top. Garnish with the guacamole and sour cream.

To warm tortillas in the oven, wrap up to 6 tortillas at a time in foil, and place in the middle of a preheated 325°F. oven for 5 minutes for corn tortillas and 15 minutes for flour tortillas. If the tortillas are very dry to begin with, pat each tortilla between dampened hands before stacking them. To warm them in your microwave, wrap up to 6 tortillas at a time in microwave-safe plastic, and heat them at high power (100%) for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until they are heated through and pliable.

Back to Brisket - Here's another brisket query from Rob.

I am working on the perfect brisket. I start with 2 hours on a Weber grill after 8 hours of marinade in the fridge. I use foil bags of wood chips for smoke. Here's where I need the help. I have experimented with many temps and times in the oven to finish the brisket, but my brisket is never as tender as those of my friends. Right now I'm using 7 hours at 200 degrees with the brisket in a heavy-duty foil boat, fat side up.

Dear Rob:

Here's what I want you to try. When you finish smoking the brisket, instead of using a foil boat, wrap the brisket tightly in the foil. Give it about three hours at 300 degrees. If that don't tender it up, your butcher may be selling you parts off old rodeo stock and you need to change your brisket brand or supplier.

Thanks for writing Dr. John