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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 04-16-2010, 10:38 AM   #1
Chef Jim
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Question Why so much sugar?

So as not to highjack another thread, I ask this question.

Why do you all use so much sugar?

It seems like I see it in almost every recipe in some form. Be it brine, rubs, sauce. And in different forms too, like honey.

Now if you just like it that way, that's just fine with me, cause I can always leave it out if I want to.

This is not to say that I never use sugar or some form of sweetener, but I don't use it as often or as much.

I truly would like your opinions, I might even learn something.
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Unread 04-16-2010, 10:44 AM   #2
NateOwsley
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I think for me it ads a little more to the bark when your talking about a pork butt
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Unread 04-16-2010, 10:45 AM   #3
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Coming from the North, BBQ means a sweet sticky sauce to me.

First time I visited my uncle in NC, we went to a Q place and I had the PP. I did not like the vinager based sauce.

Now I enjoy both.

(edit) I do get a nice bark with more suger, btw.

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Unread 04-16-2010, 10:59 AM   #4
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I had a few bad experiences early on with sugars in my rub, so now 10+ years later
I still dont use sugars of any kind in the rub. My sauce tends to be a little sweet,
more to give a balance to it. Frankly, if I'm not in the mood for sweet, I eat the pork
sans sauce and am thrilled with it that way. For comps we dont submerge the pork
in sauce; rather pour a small amount over the top. If a judge prefers it without
sauce; there's plenty there with no sauce on it. If they like it with sauce, there's
enough there with sauce on it to enjoy...

For me, personally, I enjoy the differences. Sometimes a little sweet; sometimes not.
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Unread 04-16-2010, 11:01 AM   #5
seattlepitboss
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CJ, I am diabetic so when I started down this journey I didn't use any commercial rubs, instead preferring to "roll my own". I started from rubs I found on the Web and have tweaked them a little. I now have one I use for pork and another for beef. When I eat my own cooking I tend to not use sauce at all, so I just buy commercial sauces to serve to others. However, over time I've discovered my pork rub recipe works better with a little more sweet in it -- then a little more and like that. I still use tablespoons where others use cups, though.

I will probably get into making BBQ sauces sometime but I'm not sure I can save any money doing that. It's really easy to sauce pulled pork with Sweet Baby Ray's and everyone just snarfs that stuff down like nobody's business. I use Cattleman's on beef right now. I started buying the Cattleman's because it was reasonably priced and didn't use any high fructose corn syrup. I've just stuck with it because it works just great on pulled chuck, which I like to make a lot, also on beef back ribs or short ribs.

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Unread 04-16-2010, 11:06 AM   #6
daedalus
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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.
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Unread 04-16-2010, 11:11 AM   #7
Big_T_BBQ
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Sugar caramelizes to give you a crust (bark) on the meat. In a brine it works via osmosis.
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Unread 04-16-2010, 11:22 AM   #8
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Being from Texas, it's no sugar on beef. I do use a small amount on ribs for a light glaze at the end. No sugar on pork butts though.

I guess it all depends on what you grow up with.
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Unread 04-16-2010, 11:31 AM   #9
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It balances out the salty in dishes, and hs a pretty good flavor. I rarely go for sweet unless I'm making a sweet dish, but I do seek a little of all of the flavors to excite the tongue.
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Unread 04-16-2010, 11:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeSmellsLikeSmoke View Post
Being from Texas, it's no sugar on beef. I do use a small amount on ribs for a light glaze at the end. No sugar on pork butts though.

I guess it all depends on what you grow up with.
Yep - salt and pepper are the main ingredients down here.
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Unread 04-16-2010, 11:55 AM   #11
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I agree, I think using sugar in your BBQ sauce or rub is actually a crime in Texas! (or it should be)
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Unread 04-16-2010, 12:04 PM   #12
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My short answer would be, for the same reason that fast food combo meals include a sweet soft drink. Savory, salty and sweet are a great combination, and the marketing folks know it.

My specific reasons are:
  • Balances the salt
  • Balances the acridity and bitterness of the smoke.
  • Bark formation
  • Helps denature (tenderize) the protein
  • Hits one more of the five tastes that the tongue detects (pungent, sweet, sour, bitter, and salty). The more tastebuds you tickle, the better.
John
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Unread 04-16-2010, 12:41 PM   #13
Chef Jim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_T_BBQ View Post
Sugar caramelizes to give you a crust (bark) on the meat. In a brine it works via osmosis.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeSmellsLikeSmoke View Post
Being from Texas, it's no sugar on beef. I do use a small amount on ribs for a light glaze at the end. No sugar on pork butts though.

I guess it all depends on what you grow up with.
Some good opinions here so far, but Big T, I don't use sugar in my rub and have always had great bark. It's not necessary some times.

And having discovered Q while living in Texas, I figure that's the way ya do it!

As far as the balance goes I also think you could add it as something else. Like Patio Daddio said about fast food being served with a sweet soft drink.

Keep the comments coming, and thanks all.
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Unread 04-16-2010, 01:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatioDaddio View Post
My short answer would be, for the same reason that fast food combo meals include a sweet soft drink. Savory, salty and sweet are a great combination, and the marketing folks know it.

My specific reasons are:
  • Balances the salt
  • Balances the acridity and bitterness of the smoke.
  • Bark formation
  • Helps denature (tenderize) the protein
  • Hits one more of the five tastes that the tongue detects (pungent, sweet, sour, bitter, and salty). The more tastebuds you tickle, the better.
John
good job
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Unread 04-16-2010, 04:06 PM   #15
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I like it.... but then again I live up north so....
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