21 July 2014

No Boots on the Table, Please

When you think of the Pioneer Hall area of Fort Wilderness, in particular the food that is available in the various restaurants, more often than not we all think of fried chicken. To be sure, this is the marquee attraction for Hoop Dee Doo and Trail’s End, but it also isn’t something that is easy to recreate at home. Today, let’s look at a recipe that allows you to bring a little bit of Pioneer Hall into your home, the Pork Rib Rub.

A couple of notes before we start, while Pioneer Hall utilizes this rub for ribs, it is also recommended for chicken, pork chops, and smoked pork butts. The Pork Rib Rub yields 3 cups of rub, or enough to cover 4 full racks of ribs.



1 ¾ Cups Granulated Sugar
½ Cup Paprika
¼ Cup Granulated Onion
2 Tablespoons Coarse Salt
2 Tablespoons Dried Marjoram
3 ½ Teaspoons Chili Powder
3 ½ Teaspoons Black Pepper
2 ½ Teaspoons Dried Thyme
2 ½ Teaspoons Ground Ginger
1 ½ Teaspoons Cumin Powder
1 ½ Teaspoons Granulated Garlic
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
¾ Teaspoon Dry Mustard
¾ Teaspoon Cinnamon
½ Teaspoon Celery Salt


Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix well
Store in airtight container for up to six weeks

To give the rub a taste test, I opted for a smoked pork butt that smoked with apple wood. I applied the rub the night before giving the pork time to absorb the flavors and then smoked it over a period of about 8 hours.

There is a definite heat present throughout the flavor of the meat from the Pork Rib Rub, but there are also some zinging flavors from the ginger and mustard, along with hints of sweet from the sugar that quickly forms a glaze on the meat. Overall, this rub gives an excellent range of flavors to the pork, really amps up the dish in a simple fashion.

While the rub is easy to put together, apply to meats, and adds a wealth of tastes to the meal, it does have one drawback, the ingredients. Nothing here is hard to find, in fact they should all be located in the spice section of your local grocery store, but the need for fifteen ingredients means that the rub is going to cost quite a bit up front. That said, as some of the portions are minor, repeated rub creation shouldn’t be as expensive as you will only need to purchase a couple of items.

Some of my fondest memories of Fort Wilderness had to do with sitting at my campsite around the charcoal grill, barbecuing something for dinner with my dad. The Pioneer Hall Pork Rib Rub reminds me of all of the simpler pleasures Fort Wilderness has presented us with over the past 40-plus years, and it also makes for one heck of a barbecue!

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