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Friday, December 16, 2011

Chris Lilly's Rubbed Pork Loin w/ Apple Bourbon BBQ Sauce

With old man winter rearing his ugly head, I've been trying to get in as much grilln' and smokn' as possible. Take a look at this beautiful 4lb pork loin - wonderful marbelization, pink and fresh! It's a Bubba's Berk's. A few months back I had posted about Bubba's HERE. Folks, I can't say enough good things about the quality of Bubba's pork.  Hands down, it's simply the best!  Mike and his family are about 1 hour from Glen Ellyn and if you can afford the time, drive out there now before it snows!

I love trying new recipes involving new techniques, rubs and sauces. I recently purchased Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book and thought I'd give Chris Lilly's pork loin recipe a try. As called for, I first applied olive oil as the base and then the rub. Lilly's rub contains granulated sugar, sweet paprika, onion salt, garlic salt, ancho chili powder, cumin, coriander and black pepper.

I then placed the loin directly above medium hot coal for about 7 minutes per side to get some nice char- crust and carmelization goin'. I then switched to indirect heat to finish the cook. After about an hour at 350*, this loin looked absolutely phenomenal.

I also made Chris Lilly's Apple Bourbon BBQ Sauce using Jim Beam (one of my favorite bourbons). I used a Michigan sweet apple and a sweet vidalia onion, both of which I grated coarsely for added texture. Nothing compliments pork better than apple and nothing compliments apple better than cinnamon, which Lilly's recipe calls for, and I added.  With about 15 minutes to go I applied the sauce. If you click on the photo, you can see the chunks of onion and apple contained within it, mmmmm...

  I cook my loins and chops to 160*, not a degree higher keeping in mind that it will continue to cook up a few degrees while resting. I have found that anything higher than 160* tends to dry out exponentially. 

I really don't use a lot of gadgets when Qn' with the exception of electronic thermometers and probes only because they allow me to keep my lid closed a lot longer without having to peak. This Taylor electronic temperature probe works like a charm.  I picked it up at Marcel's Culinary Experience last month. Marcel's is located in Downtown Glen Ellyn and is truly an asset to our town. It's stocked with fine cookware and hardworking professional tools. They also host cooking classes. In fact, I just signed up for one on preparing wild game meats, January 20th.

With quality as good as this, there is no reason trying to make it "more" juicy, nor mask its true pork flavor using a brine. You can see the smoke ring and a very slight tint of pink in the center - perfectly cooked and very juicy. This was the most tender pork I've ever made. Chris Lilly's sauce and rub compliment Bubba's pork in both taste and texture extremely well.  I wouldn't change anything about it at all. The left overs made for some great sandwiches on homemade buttermilk buiscuits. Man, them were some real good eats. Thanks for looking and happy Friday!


  1. picking up alot of pig from bubbas sunday. this looks good. its gonna be a all pork christmas. i hope his cold smoked ham is as good as he says. jim. RUNNING WITH THE BOARS team.

  2. Hey Jim - Glad to hear it. Let me know how the ham is. My brother-in-law made a killer ham for Thannksgiving. I have yet to make one myself. Does Bubba sell is cured and you smoke it? Or is already pre-cooked and smoked?

  3. Yum! Chris Lilly's pork loin and Vidalia Onion in his Apple Bourbon Sauce! Can't get better than that!

    Wendy Brannen
    Vidalia Onion Committee

  4. Hi Wendy!

    Thanks for posting here. I love Vidalia Onions. I love taking them whole, cutting them across the top, adding butter and bbq rub and grilling til soft and tender. Very simple and tasty!

    I was just checking out your recipes at VidaliaOnion.Org and am definately trying the Carmelized Vidalia Onion Dip and Sausage Stuffed Vidalia Onions (Elizabeth on 37th). Those recipes look out of this world!

    Thanks again for looking!

  5. bubba berks is going out of business. cost of feed was too much for a little guy like him. When i saw him i do believe i was the last customer. It was awfull seeing a good man losing what he loved. he is the kind of man that did deals with a handshake instead of a contract. I am proud to know him on a personal level then so sorry for him and his very lovely wife. Thats what the world gets when the little guy is not supported. he has a job and doing well and next time i see him i hope he will be better.

  6. This is just terrible. And you're right about the handshake deal. From what I've witnessed, he's a man of his word. Rarely these days do you meet people in business like that and when you do, it's a real pleasure and honor to interact with them. Not to mention, his product was top-notch! I swear by it.

    You know, despite not having alot he still insisted on donating his pork products for our BBQ Cook-Off and was most concerned about our charity and the revenues we were trying to raise while being least concerned about what was in it for him. That's character!

    Damn, I'll have to give him a call.

  7. I finally called Mike from Bubba's yesterday and as you reported he told me that due to the increase in the price of feed he had to sell off a bunch of hogs; however, has kept a few to fill small orders and will continue doing so.

    Business for him has been real slow. He stated that if it picks up, he'd consider raising more. But for now he just doesn't see that happening.

    I could tell he was depressed.

    On the positive, Mike told me that he has organic Black Angus. I'd imagine for the beef tho, one would have to order a lot of it before he decides to butcher one of them.

    So, he's still in business, just on a very small scale.

    Good news for now!


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