Chris I have not read all of the post yet, it may have already been discussed. Your very first experiment Here states, "White Cane, granulated (C&H) - Tasted kinda hammy. Very good, not burnt at all."
Now I wonder if all those threads referring to usually what is ribs or pork, having a hammy taste and most of the time they were left overnight with the rub on, giving it time to soak in. Do you think this may be some of the problem?
When the going gets tough, I take more fiber.