Burnt Sugar form Rubs
I have heard many times and seen it posted many times, that the sugar in the rub burned. Well lets consider a few facts about sugar.
Sugar doesn't caramelize till 320*. Doesn't burn till 350*.
Syrup sugars like honey and maple syrup will tolerate a little more heat because they need to boil off moisture. But not much.
Maple sap starts boiling only about 7 degrees higher than water. It also is not considered syrup till it is boiled down to 67% sugar content. So bottled syrup does not have a very large window before all the moisture is driven off and the sugar content is susceptible to burning.
At temperatures as low as 100* honey starts to caramelize converting the sugars something very close to cane sugar. Again it shouldn't really burn till about 365* but it will effect the honey flavour.
So hear are my thoughts.
If you are burning your rub during a low and slow you are:
A) Burning something other than the sugar in your rub.
B) Burning at a temp beyond low.
C) Using way too much smoke creating 'stale' smoke allowing the rub to absorb too much of the acrid nature of the smoke.
D)Using smoke for too long during the cook and discolouring the meat and drying the bark out till it has the quality of charred meat.
If you want a sweetened rub you must go low and slow otherwise you will get a bitter burnt taste. Burnt sugar has a very definite taste and smell. I know many a old hand at this may not agree with the facts above and insist sugar burns at about 265* but it is really not the case.
If you must have sweet and high heat try brining, since the internal temperature of the meat should never come close to these temperatures not even 265*. Try making a sweet sauce to glaze the meat and add a couple of layers of the sauce about before pulling the meat. Or try a pan of water in with your smoke. This will keep hotter temperature smokes cooler though the absorption of heat due to the heat sump nature of the pan of water and then again through the cooling effects of evaporation.
So if you are burning the rub on your meats, don't blame the rub. Look at your technique and adjust where needed.
I am taping pillows to my butt ' cause I know the a$$beating I am gone take for this post.