Pineapple Serrano Chile Rub


Ingredients: pineapple powder, paprika, roasted garlic, smoked serrano chiles, vinegar, sea salt, ancho chile, coriander

One of the emerging flavor trends in this country over the last several years has been America’s growing obsession with “sweet and heat” flavors. We know about this first hand, as one of our most popular blends is our Honey Chipotle Rub. Now, heat is subjective, as “burn your face off hot” to one person may be relatively mild to a more experienced chile head who has a higher threshold for heat. Sweet, of course, is equally important. Many companies will take the boring tired approach of using just plain white sugar, maybe some brown sugar or if they are a bit more adventurous a raw sugar like demerara.

Sugar is especially critical when it comes to a rub for chicken or pork, as sugar is instrumental in helping form the "bark" or crust and can really lock in the juices. We certainly understand the fact that sugar and salt can wreak havoc on the body (rising U.S. obesity rates, diabetes, high blood pressure etc.) when not used in moderation. In general we find ourselves gravitating to using little to no additional salt and sugar in our own cooking, while also realizing that they do have their place in creating some spectacular rubs for the grill or the smoker.

Now, while we don’t use much in the way of sugar, we’ll use it as a way to enhance the flavor of the rub. Most commercially produced rubs and seasonings tend to be heavy on their use of salt and sugar as these are "less expensive" ingredients. So for those companies, it is more about "maximizing profits" rather than an “optimizing flavor” decision.

We are always experimenting with new rubs. We constantly either look for inspiration, sourcing ingredients, blending or testing in our test kitchen. For this rub, we were obsessing over a “heat and sweet” that was a bit more out-of-the-ordinary. We was reading about various hot sauces and one in particular caught our attention – a pineapple habanero.

Now, we have plenty of blends where habanero plays a starring role. And while it is one of our go to chiles, we wanted something a bit different for this next rub. We still wanted something with a nice heat and decided on the smoked serrano chile as the heat base. Serrano chiles have a spicy crisp flavor with citrus undertones, and our dried Serrano chiles have been smoked before they are ground which provides additional nuanced layers of flavor.

Pineapple has a vibrant tropical flavor that balances the tastes of sweet and tart and we thought that it would be the perfect sweet that would be a nice twist on boring sugar in this rub.

After analyzing the first couple of test blends it was still missing something, and wasn’t quite where it needed to be. We thought that it needed a bit of tartness to better harmonize the heat and the sweet. Dried vinegar powder hit the spot.

As a rule of thumb, you should use about 1 tablespoon of dry rub per pound of chicken or pork. If you’re using our Pineapple Serrano Chile Rub on fish or shrimp, we recommend using about 1/2 that much to start. In general, we always recommend using a bit less the first time you are experimenting with any new rub, as you can always add more flavor if desired but you can’t take flavor away if you over season.

We’ve seasoned both chicken and pork with this rub and have then let them sit in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours to allow the seasoning to marry with the meat before smoking or grilling. For fish, we only tend to let the seasoning sit for 30 minutes and for shrimp about 15 minutes before cooking.

First you will pick up an understated sweetness from the pineapple, next some smooth flavor from the roasted garlic, then the middle of your tongue will pick up some tartness from the vinegar and finally the back of your throat will feel the subtle heat of the serrano. This is not a burn your face off heat.


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If you are unhappy for any reason, please contact me (Marty) at 702-370-0035. Since most of our items are classified as food items, we can only do returns if we mistakenly sent the wrong item.

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