Review: Hardcore Carnivore Red

When the venerable ( Jess Pryles first launched her line of ( Hardcore Carnivore rubs last year with ( Carnivore Black (a bold steak and meat rub that featured activated charcoal as a main ingredient), the barbecue world went a little crazy. My Instagram feed quickly became inundated with pics of delicious, awesome steaks with a fantastic black crust. I’m not complaining, they all looked awesome.

In December, Jess launched her second rub, ( Hardcore Carnivore Red. This rub promised to have a lot of the same flavour profile of Hardcore Carnivore Black, without the activated charcoal, but with the red hue you typically find on poultry and pork rubs.

As a Canadian, I had to wait a little while to try Hardcore Carnivore Red. I mean, I could have ordered direct from the Hardcore Carnivore site, but shipping to Canada is a tad expensive. Luckily, come January, the guys at ( Dickson Barbeque Centre in Toronto got some in stock. 

My reaction was as expected:

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My first cook was on a couple of bone-in pork chops on my gas grill. Before you hate on me for the gasser – I’m the father of a 2 year old who doesn’t understand yet that his food would taste better prepared over charcoal. He also doesn’t like to wait for his food. I also get off work at 5:00, and he goes to bed at 7:00. So, yeah a gasser is kinda necessary if I want to get any weeknight grilling in.

Anyway, I lightly dusted the rub, and let the chops sweat a little while my grill came up to temp. Once the grill hit around 400°F I threw the chops down for about 3 mins each side to get a nice sear, then moved them over to the cool side to finish.

The chops definitely had a red hue to them, and I found the flavor to be more savory than sweet – which I like. Too many times, I find pork and poultry rubs to be over the top sweet. That’s great on ribs, and maybe even on pulled pork, but I find sweet doesn’t really jive with something like a pork chop.

For my next cook, I moved onto something a little bigger – a couple of pork tenderloins. I had liked the flavor of the rub on my pork chops, so this time around I went a little heavier with the rub. I put the rub on the pork tenderloin, and then laid them in the fridge for an hour or so.

When it came time to cook, I set my ( Weber Kettle up for indirect cooking using a couple of fire bricks, and lit a full chimney of ( Fogo Charcoal. I cooked the tenderloins at a temp of around 350° - 375°F for about an hour, turning the tenderloins over at the halfway point.

Then I finished them with a quick sear over the hot charcoal.

After resting for about 5 minutes, I sliced the tenderloin up. There was a nice smoke ring from the Fogo, and the meat was very tender and moist. I found this time around that the flavor of the rub was amplified, no doubt because I had used more. This time the pepper that was in the rub really struck me. It wasn’t spicy, but it did give the pork a nice kick. I also noticed that the pork had a nice crust, similar to the crust I get when using Hardcore Carnivore Black.

All in all, I liked Hardcore Carnivore Red as much as I like Hardcore Carnivore Black. The flavor is a very nice blend of salt, pepper, garlic, onion, etc. – without being overpowering, or too sweet. If you’re in the US of A, you should pick it up direct from Jess’ ( website. If you’re in Canada, you can pick it up from the guys at ( Dickson Barbeque. 

Tell ‘em Jeff from Man Meat BBQ sent you!