Blueberry-Cherry Rub on Spares: Q-View

Discussion in 'Pork' started by forluvofsmoke, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I had some leftover rub from my butt smoke (which was quite tasty, according to the family) and the wife brought home two rather massive slabs of spares (both over 5-1/4lbs) several days ago, so I just had to try this rub again today. Really, how could I go wrong, anyway?

    Here's the recipe again, in case you missed that thread:


    This rub is intended for low & slow cooking only, as the natural sugars in the fruits will scorch quickly with high-heat cooking.

    All measures are pre-grind, except for the powdered ingredients, of course.

    4 Tbsp dried whole Blueberry
    3 Tbsp dried Tart Cherry
    3 Tbsp dried diced Red Bell Pepper
    3 Tbsp dried chopped Onion
    2 Tbsp dried minced Garlic
    1-1/2 Tbsp Black Peppercorn
    1 Tbsp ground White Pepper
    2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
    1 Tbsp Spanish Paprika
    1 Tbsp Rosemary
    2-1/2 tsp Thyme
    1 tsp ground Cumin
    1/2 tsp rubbed Sage

    Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, then portion 1 to 1-1/2 Tbsp into your blade-type (coffee) grinder at a time. Use less if the grinder stalls/jams. Grind to near your desired particle size and place in a second container until all ingredients are ground, then repeat grinding for smaller particle size, if desired, and to aid in blending the dry rub for the best consistency.

    Note: grinding the dry ingredients with the fruits will aid in preventing the fruits from forming a paste and stalling your grinder, as well as making for much easier clean-up. This is a very effective method for grinding dried fruits. The only draw-back to grinding all ingredients together is if you want larger particle sizes with certain spices but not others, although some of them could be ground separately, if desired, such as the Kosher Salt.

    This particular recipe, even in the semi-arid climate of my location, tends to clump soon after blending if tumbled in the container, so a regrind may be necessary prior to application onto your pork. This is due to the sugars in the fruits and is normal. Application with a shaker container may give the easiest results. Do not compress this mixture until it is on your meat, or it will pack to a very firm consistency, making a re-grind difficult.

    Yield is approx. 1-2/3 cups.

    Today, I went as simple as possible on prep: no trimming or membrane removal (comes off easy after cooking, anyway)...just a quick rinse, sprinkled on the rub and went straight to the smoker, which I started up cold (76* ambient temp), heating the the smoke wood with a torch and adding pre-heated briquettes, then bumped up the burner flame to pull a 220* temp within about 15 minutes. SO, cold start-up with a heavier smoke up front, then thin blue smoke after about 30 minutes, for the duration of open grate cooking.

    4.5 hours in with hickory, apple and cherry smoke, along with a dozen charcoal briquettes for even more depth of flavor, 220* start-up with wet-to-dry smoke chamber (pan went dry @ approx 3.5 hrs), and increased temps to 225-230* after 4 hours...needs more pull-back yet before going any further:

    I decided to pan these ribs after I got more pull-back, just to soften the bark a little, so they're going to ride in a little steam for an hour or so before being dined upon.

    6.5 hours in...bend test looked and felt about right for my liking...had a little sag, but was looking like it was going to tear open on the top bark, so called it quits on open grates and panned them up with a foil cover, no added liquids:

    Lower slab, heavy end (brisket section):

    Lower slab, light end:

    Upper slab, heavy end (brisket section):

    Upper slab, light end:

    Bend test was satisfactory, so into the pan you go:

    1 hour panned/tented @ ~250*, and...:

    I sliced them all into 2-rib portions, except for the very gives a nice representation of the bite, tug and chew, IMHO.

    This finishing method (panned/tented) is not new to me, and when cutting back on the panned time as I did today (usually 2+ hours), it does yield variations in texture with untrimmed spare ribs without going so far as having bones popping out, so it's a nice way to provide a rib everyone will like, with a light bite between the ribs and bit heavier bite near the brisket section...but that's not what I really wanted to post about, but since I was on the subject, figured why not toss it in as well.

    Now, for the real reason for this post...the rub...again, a big hit, by unanimous vote. And the flavor of the rub is very similar to what I described in the pork butt thread, and was a nice way to bring the smoke and ribs home to the finish line. I was a little surprised by how well the overall flavor profile came together...very good on butts, and every bit as good on spare ribs. My next pork smoke I'm sure will include this recipe, and I'm not big on re-do's of recipes, even if they are really good, as I'm a tinkerer and I'm always looking for something new, but I want to explore this rub further. It's just so enticing, I can't resist the thought of eating it again. This is another rub I'll be making for larger gatherings in the future...that I'm quite sure.

    Thanks for peekin'!!! Hope you enjoyed the ride, and can get your hands on the ingredients...PM me if you can't figure out where you can get them.

    Great smokes to all, and to all a good night!!!

    disco and dukeburger like this.
  2. Those are some great looking ribs Eric  [​IMG]    I'm still working on tracking down some cherries but I will definitely give your rub a try once I do  [​IMG]
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Interesting Recipe thanks...JJ
  4. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    Man that rub sounds amazing! Maybe a dumb question but were the berries dried?
  5. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Your ribs look fantastic! Thanks for the rub recipe.
  6. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Looks great, Eric...thanks for sharing!

  7. Erik  I love the sound of the rub ingredients   do you think if you had fresh blueberries and cherries etc..  you could make a wet rub with it?   I'm sure if I look hard enough I'll find dried blueberries I've just got some fresh ones that are on the verge of being too ripe.   Just wondering?
  8. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    Eric, you are killing me with these rubs!!! They sound so delicious, just wish I had the time to try them all!
    I found some dried cherries last week but still can't find any dried RBP so I think I'm going to buy a dehydrator and make my own.
    I ground the cherries and mixed with a simple SPOG and put it on a beef roast. It was fabulous! The cherry really gave it another element but wasn't an overpowering cherry flavor. I really like it and now want to try it on everything! I'm even thinking some cherry in some sausage, I think it will work!
    I think it's time to hunt down some blueberries and buy some ribs!!!! Yours look Awesome!!!
  9. Man oh man do those look good ! Off to get some ribs. :yahoo:
  10. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thank you! Yes, you could make a wet rub, and I have in fact done a wet rub for spare ribs a while back with similar ingredients, but used 15-yr aged balsamic vinegar and water as the wet ingredients, although the balsamic would be omitted for the obvious reason of change in flavor profile. Just to give you some idea of how I made that rub, and the outcome (you may want to try this recipe as well):

    Thread (has all the details and resulting discussions..if I recall correctly, I tossed out some thoughts on substituting dried for wet ingredients a bit on this thread):

    Wiki Article:

    If I had a dehydrator, I'd be drying my own blueberries, cherries, apples and red bell peppers for rubs, just to name a few items. PM me if you can't find a way to get your hands on some of this...I may be able to hook you up or give you some ideas where to look for local sources.
    Thanks! PM me for sources if you can't locate any. They're not widely available, but can be had online as well as through local reps in some areas.
    Thanks JJ!
    Thanks! Yes, the blueberries are dried, but they do still have some natural moisture, and when combined with the natural sugars it makes processing them a bit of a challenge if you don't have a good method up front.
    Thank you, and you're welcome!
    Thanks Red, and you're most welcome!

    To any and all: there are quite a few members still looking for sources for some of these dried ingredients for several of my rub recipes, so you're not alone if you don't yet have a source. If you need help, PM me and I'll do some more digging and see if there are any new sources or ones I missed in the past few years.

    The Blueberries I stumbled into @ Sam's Club several months ago...dried tart cherries are not easily found, but Alison's Pantry is one source, and they do carry blueberries as well, but may be out of stock at this time for shipping...just keep looking on their site periodically. Just don't give up...once you have a source, you'll be in for a treat!

    Enjoy,  everyone!

  11. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks, hey, if you have all the ingredients for this particular recipe, please PM me with your sources so I can hopefully get a few others hooked is not always the best route for some (but if there are more sources I don't know about will help), and any local sources will help tremendously.
    Thanks Dave! Yeah, the cherry is with a simple and basic spice blend is pretty, when you add red bells, it smooths things out even more. The blueberry rub was another one of those "what if" ideas I had a while back that really has turned into a very enjoyable way to put together a smoked's just such a great flavor to play with, and it didn't take me long to go into a more complex rub after the first trial run with beef a few months back. After tasting that basic rub, I just couldn't resist the urge to take it up a few notches, and, well, here we are.

    The sausage I think would be a great experiment...a basic blend of spices along with the cherries should do it justice. Just start with a theme to base your flavor profile on...but then, what would that be, really? Hmm, maybe you'll just have to wing it and use what you like with beef, but either way, I'm sure it will make for an interesting project and great eating.

    Just curious: were you planing on a cured/smoked, cured/dried/smoked or fresh/smoked sausage?

  12. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looks stunning. Thanks for the recipe and great qview.

  13. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    I'm thinking a cured/smoked or maybe just a fresh bratwurst. I want to start playing around with some small batches and I want to come up with a lower fat very low sodium sausage so I think I need something to stand out to replace the sodium. Should be fun trying and maybe come up with some interesting flavors!
  14. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ah, OK, I'm no pro @ sausage, but if you get away from Tender Quick for curing you can reduce the sidium, but you still need some for proper curing. With fresh, I think if you add the zesty flavor of the tart cherry, it should offset the reduced/omitted sodium flavor somewhat. Also, any other acidity you add will take the place of sodium to some extent..I'm .thinking small amounts of fresh lemon and/or orange zest...if that sounds a bit too tart, add a bit of pineapple juice in place of any water in your mix, and you could also add dried ground pineapple in the mix...either will add even more acidity but will also add a slightly sweeter note to help balance any excessive zesty flavor. Oh, mango is sub-acidic and doesn't have that strong of flavor, so it may be something you could use as you main flavor profile...just tossing a few thoughts here.

    OK, I just remembered a fruit classification chart I found a while back...had to dig to find them...will pop you a PM with link and Copy/Paste...might help you find a good mix to work-up for a start on a no-sodium fresh sausage.

    Hey, if you do fire-up a dehydrator, you could really go to town with dried fruits to grind and add to sausage mixes, not to mention powdered fruits for dry rub blends.

    Man, all this talk about dehydrators...I was going to buy one a couple years back and dropped the idea...didn't think I could justify it because I thought I wouldn't use it that much. Now I wish I had one...oh, the possibilities are literally endless!!!

    EDIT: speaking of reduced fat, I have done lots of un-stuffed cured/smoked salami in the past several years...some being heat-treated semi-dry...all of it has held together very well with a crumbed beef fat, beginning with semi-frozen, cubed and crumbed in a food processor with standard blades, then added/mixed to rough/coarse ground lean dark chicken meat or lean beef...I go as low as 17-18% fat by weight and have no issues with the smoked chubs getting crumbly when slicing, so the reduced fat can be done, at least with cured/smoked. Never tried it for a fresh sausage with reduced/no sodium yet, but I don't see why it wouldn't work, other than with too low/no salt the proteins won't bind very easily, so a reduced sodium should still be a viable option.
    Thanks brother! You're welcome for the recipe...always looking to share my goods with everyone here.

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013

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