I just had to try this after reading S2K9K's thread on trying this w/o salt on his ribs. His description of the flavor just pushed me over the edge. We've been trying to plan a dinner for my 2 daughters to come down for over a week, and the weather pushed things up a bit...we're under a winter storm warning beginning tonight, for 36 hours, so we decided to get this done this evening while roads are still drivable for the girls to make it home this evening, realizing that Friday was not an option at all. Anyway, fast-forward from the spare-ribs and pork butt (with recipe) with this rub to today with a no-salt version on 3 slabs of BBs for my canvas (dropped the salt, all other ingredients unchanged), and this is how it looked when the paint dried...er, uh...when the smoke cleared...LOL!!!.
EDIT: Recipe added
BLUEBERRY-CHERRY-RBP 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.
Rinsed and still semi-frozen, so the rub didn't want to stick very well, but, this means that the smoke WILL stick quite well...ha-ha-ha!!! I left them sit for about 20 minutes and sprinkled on more rub, then hit the Smoke Vault @ 210-215* with wet chamber for good smoke (not worried about these drying out much, and I wanted less bark than the wet-to-dry will develop, so I decided to try a little compromise today), cherry and apple smoke wood chips for heavy smoke up front, tapering off after about 45 minutes, running thin for about another 3 hours thereafter:
When I say heavy smoke, I mean exactly that...:just into the Vault
6 hours into the smoke, pull-back and bend-test are just about perfect for what I'm looking for tonight, so it's time for a foil-tented pan to soften the bark just a bit and we'll be dining on some nice ribs after another 45-60 minutes (probe is dangling between rib slabs just below grate level):
Still some water in the pan, so I did get a wet smoke all the way on this round...used 2qts, which is about right for a 7-8lb butt for wet-to-dry chamber with my rig:
Pull-back is looking good right now...:
Panned-up for a tent and ~240* ride to sweat a little:
Notice the droplets of rain on the foil pan...been raining almost ALL day...will turn to snow later tonight:
And the moment of truth...:
Retained moisture was decent, not super-juicy like I get with a wet-to-dry chamber, instead of wet-only, but reasonable. Smoke was dead-on perfect. Rub wasn't quite right, as I'll explain below...very good, but probably just not enough of it on the ribs to do it's job. Texture was very nice, with a light bite and chew, and not quite a clean bone when you took a bite...just a little tug to go with the tender chew...love 'em this way!!! Anyway, here's the goods:
Condensed water vapor on the foil and pan, with a small amount of rendered fat in the bottom...should be just about right for what I wanted tonight, indeed:
Two slabs are sliced into 2 to 3-bone portions...:
7 of us killed 2-1/3 slabs plus about 3lbs of one of my renditions of Dutch's wicked beans with a few twists:
My first plate with 4 short bones...second round had 2 long bones...:
Ah, that was a GREAT treat for all, and especially the girls and one spouse who all made the short road trip here to join us for a meal tonight!!! Very good, but we did notice it was a no-salt dry rub...I told 'em after they finished eating...I said, "anybody notice something missing?" Could use a little salt...OK. We all concurred, but, I do feel I had a pretty light rub application due to the ribs being semi-frozen and my not taking extra measures to correct that issue for a better rub application...with a little more foresight, even just a simple water mist would have worked wonders for the amount of rub the ribs would hold onto. I now wish I had more time to plan for this smoke so they would have been fully thawed, as I just took the ribs out of the freezer last night after work, once we decided "hey, let's do dinner Thursday night", or skip it for another week or so until we could plan another date when I was off work. Lesson learned, but then not every smoke comes out perfect, either, so I can't complain. I do feel that a little tweeking could make it even better without a heavier application like I wanted today, so I'll be having thoughts about that the next time around and see where it takes me. Overall, I do feel Dave was right about the rub's ability to hold it's own w/o salt, though...I just needed more rub on the ribs to bring on that extra flavor.
Thanks for the experiment you did earlier, Dave!!! I think you're right about the potential as a no-salt rub...definitely worth trying it, and has me wanting to do it again.
So, until my next adventure in smoke...
Great smokes to all, and to all a good night!!!
Edited by forluvofsmoke - 10/4/13 at 6:05pm