As the colder winter months descend upon Colorado, our thoughts here at The Fort naturally gravitate toward filling our belly’s with scrumptious comfort food in front of a roaring fire. This, paired with the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, has inspired us to share two iconic recipes from our historic cookbook library, in hopes that you might celebrate the glorious indulgence that is comfort food, as well as the return to the rich traditions of craft fermentation and distillation that took place on December 5, 1933.
World’s Best Beef or Buffalo Prime Rib Roast (serves 8 to 10)
We recommend using buffalo to prepare this mouth-watering favorite, but it is tasty with beef as well. We’ve been serving juicy prime rib buffalo since the 1960s and our customers have always loved it.
We roast it surrounded by onionskins and the outer layers of the onion, which impart amazing flavor to the meat as it smokes and chars in the oven. When the roast comes to the table, you might be tempted to shout “Hip, hip, huzzah!”— and for good reason! This dish is currently offered each weekend at The Fort as part of our $39 three-course dinner special, for a limited time only.
- 1 (5- to 6-pound) beef or buffalo prime standing rib roast or 1 (4- to 5-pound) boneless prime rib roast
- ½ cup beef base concentrate (available at meat markets or in specialty stores)
- ¼ cup freshly pureed garlic (about 2 heads)
- ½ cup dried rosemary
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- Outer peels of 4 large onions
Rub the roast with the beef base concentrate and then the garlic. Sprinkle the rosemary and pepper over all, letting it stick to the beef base. Wipe the oil on your hands, gently rub the herbs into the roast and let it stand for one hour at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 500°F. Place the roast on a foil-covered roasting pan. Arrange the onion peels around the base of the roast and place in the oven. Roast for 8 minutes, so that the onion peels burn and the smoke lightly penetrates the meat, then lower the heat to 250°F. Roast for 18 minutes per pound, or until a meat thermometer read 125°F for rare or 138°F for medium rare. The low temperature will keep the roast tender. Don’t cook buffalo any longer; because of its leanness, it will be tough if cooked more than medium rare.
Remove the roast from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. The temperature will rise about 10 degrees while resting, bringing the meat to the correct serving temperature. Pair it with a potato and vegetable dish of your choice and enjoy!
Trader’s Whiskey (serves 36 as shots)
During the temperance movements of the early nineteenth century, there was a lot of underground contraband liquor sold across our young country. If you cut the liquor with water and other flavorings, handsome profits were to be made. Traders often watered it down to as little as 3 percent alcohol to extend its profitability. Many strange additives were used to give an interesting taste: red chile, tobacco, or even a liberal pinch of organic black gunpowder (sulfur, charcoal and saltpeter). Some said the sulfur was good for a spring tonic; the charcoal kept teeth bright. When ordinary whiskey was later made available to the American Indians, they rejected it because it didn’t have the good, old-fashioned flavor they were used to. This menu staple at The Fort has been available to our guests since 1964.
What You’ll Need:
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons cut tobacco (Virginia Burley is best)
- 4 small dried red peppers, such as piquines
- 1 liter Old Crow or similar bourbon whiskey
- ½ teaspoon old-fashioned black gunpowder (do not use modern, high-speed powder; it is poisonous!)
Make a tea by boiling the water, tobacco, and red peppers together for 5 minutes. Strain and add the tea to the whiskey, little by little, to taste. Add the gunpowder.
The drink should have a gentle nip from the peppers and an herbal taste from the tobacco, while the small amount of saltpeter in the black powder will have no effect.