This dry rub has a moderately spicy profile, with notes of rich and zesty fruits. The blueberry adds a subtle rich and sweet flavor, while the tart cherry brings in some zest, with neither being the completely dominant flavor in the overall profile. The blueberry is not so faint that you don't know what you're tasting, yet not overpowering, so I found it to be a very enjoyable flavor combination. I found it to pair very nicely with smoked pulled pork from shoulder cuts, and is surprisingly good with pork ribs as well. I recommend this rub if you're looking for something out of the ordinary, just a change from the same old Bbq flavor profile of typical dry rub blends, are looking for a slightly sweet rub with no processed sugars, or feel a little adventurous and want to experiment with your smoked pork.
BLUEBERRY-CHERRY PORK DRY RUB
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.
I'm just getting ready to start grinding after combining it all together here:
Rub applied to a lean-trimmed and cross-hatch scored 9.25lb bone-in pork butt:
146* I/T @ 7 hours...going nice and slow @ 22* and 5,000ft elevation with a wet pan, transitioning to dry after 8 hours (wet-to-dry smoke chamber method) and letting temps climb into the 240-245* temp range for the remainder of cooking...no foiling to reach finished temps or resting:
164* I/T @ 15 hours:
201* I/T @ 24 hours...I could have pulled it out earlier, but was pushing for an even harder and heavier bark on this, as well as testing the dry rub's ability to hold up to a l--o--n--g smoke:
Rested in a pan with an elevated grate and towel cover to preserve this fantastic bark:
I/T only dropped to 153* after 2.5 hours resting, so I opted to go for 3 hours resting with this one, with 145* @ 3hrs...
...for tender, moist and deliciously unique pulled pork:
To read about this recipe's introduction with all of the details on the above pork butt smoke, go HERE.
EDIT: here's my first spare rib smoke with this rub...TASTY!!!:
EDIT: No-Salt Baby Back Ribs: