In competition(at least around KC), I think you pretty much have to go sweet in most categories (brisket being the exception) in order to have any real chance of winning. A lot of the guys on this forum either compete or judge, so that could be part of the reason sugars are common in the recipes. Personally, like it either way, as long as the flavors are balanced and complement the meat, as opposed to overpowering it.
"Bacon is the gateway meat." - Chef Ryan Farr
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