By now you’ve probably seen the pictures of Gaston’s Tavern in the Magic Kingdom, part of the new Fantasyland expansion, but have you seen the pork shank? Gaston’s Tavern, decorated with comically masculine touches like antlers and pictures of the man himself, has only one real entree, the pork shank. And while it’s tempting to compare it to that other theme park staple, the smoked turkey leg, it’s so much more than that.
My mission to try the pork shank was a covert one: My husband had the kids and I was “on my way” to Tom Sawyer Island to meet up with them when I noticed that the Fantasyland expansion was open. Knowing that the expansion was only open sporadically at the time and that I might not get a chance later, I did what any curious blogger would do and detoured into Gaston’s and ordered a pork shank.
I mean look at this. Can you blame me?
To give you an idea of how large it is, there’s more meat here than on a turkey leg, making it a great deal at $7.99 if you’re looking for a substantial snack. But then again, you’d expect a manly snack at Gaston’s right? The question is, does it taste good? In a word, yes. But you’d better like pork, because this is a lot of porky goodness and, considering it doesn’t come with any sides or even a sauce to dip it in, nothing else.
The pork shank is heavily seasoned with a salt, pepper and garlic-based rub and then slow roasted in a way that keeps it moist and tender. I caught hints of smoke flavoring as well, but it wasn’t as strong as it is with the turkey legs you’ll find elsewhere in the parks. People who complain that the small bones and gristle keeps them from eating turkey legs will be happy to hear that this is mostly just meat (plus a little fat) and one large bone. Coming from North Carolina where we’ve perfected pulled pork, I thought this meat was somewhat similar in taste, although the texture was very different.
Of course, it’s not the healthiest treat, but look at it this way: It’s low carb, deliciously greasy, and quite filling. No question, it’s high in fat, but you could do a lot worse. I only wish they offered some sides to go with it.
In the end, my mission to try the pork shank wasn’t all that covert after all since I dropped part of it on my shorts, leaving a predictably greasy stain. In my defense, it’s really messy and difficult to eat with a plastic fork. I ended up confessing my mission to my husband, who told me it served me right sneaking off and getting one without him, and I spent the rest of the day with the pork stain of shame on my pants. Next time, I plan on sharing a pork shank with him. Probably.