How is brown sugar measured in Q recipes?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by tjones96761, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. tjones96761

    tjones96761 Newbie

    Tons of recipes calling for brown sugar. But I'm not used to brown sugar in anything except baking. Baking recipes are specifically called out as a PACKED cup, Tbsp, etc. Occasionally there will be a SIFTED measurement, but again always specified.
    So are these great sauce, rub and brine recipes calling for PACKED brown sugar or SIFTED brown sugar? Or maybe there is a 3rd direction, like you guys are drying the brown sugar before use so it's just like white sugar and won't pack at all and you just measure it.
    Just please don't tell me you guys are winging it somewhere between packed and sifted. My OCD will go into overdrive and I'll completely lose it. :102:
  2. I think you are over thinking it. Baking is chemistry and needs to be a little more exact. Rubs not so much. I just usually loosely measure the cup, teaspoon, whatever
    grillard likes this.
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I avoid sugar, as it burns, especially over long cooks, or hot cooks. Used in a glaze it works well. It can work well in rubs if you pay attention to your pit temp.

    As far as amounts it depends on what you are cooking. A tablespoon may be enough, or in the case of smoking fish, and using it as a brine it can be a 2:1, 4:1, 5:1 ratio depending on how salty you like your fish.

    There are plenty of recipes here with precise amounts. Use the search feature, it works really good.
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I usually weigh it along with the salt , cure ,  etc. so I know how much I'm adding compared to the weight of the meat...   I try to do everything based on a percentage of the meat so I can repeat the recipe....
  5. tjones96761

    tjones96761 Newbie

    I don't really care for sweet + meat in any fashion, but figured I'd try a few and hope the sweet cooked out/off and adjust the recipe on later cooks as needed.

    For the search feature working "really good" I disagree. It works, but not well. I've spent more hours cruising search results than I care to admit. The problem with it is that it can't be queried. For instance if you search for honey sriracha you get results containing honey or sriracha but not necessarily both words. There is no way to make the search so only results that contain both words populate. Typically a search engine uses quotations to make exact phrase match ("honey sriracha") , minus to exclude words (sriracha -honey) etc. some sites have a drop down bar with "exact phrase" "any of these words" "all of these words" . That's what makes a search work well. Not to change the subject...
  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well sorry it doesn't work for you.

    If you don't want sweet keep it simple. Light amount of sugar, or as I prefer none in the rub.. SPOG is a good place to start then add sugar in the glaze to if others want it. Glaze those hunks of meat.

    The search feature here works better than most forums. Just saying. You Amy not get an exact direct answer, but you'll get a bunch of good reading and more than likely a good idea on how to accomplish what you want to do.

    As for your original question on brown sugar, when baking I pack it, for hot smoking I hand rub it. For fish, it's a packing it thing, mixed with the salt.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  7. I wonder why I keep large scales in my kitchen. Now I have to say I have packed brown sugar thick on my butt before but never really found it to be sweet meat. Generally it runs of with fats and condensation.

    Here is a suggestion. Use a molasses rather than mustard or oils for a binder if you use one. Then just liberally douse with S P and Maybe some O G
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    FWIW....  Sugar takes 5-10 times longer to penetrate meat than salt...
  9. Dave are you saying you may get less of a smoke ring? I sense a side by side.
  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I noticed that you mentioned the meat is not really sweet....   This article says sugar molecules are 10 times larger than salt...  Then they did tests to find out how deep the sugar penetrated the meat....   very interesting article and they verify the sugar penetration rates...

    Sooooo, my interpretation is...   It appears you need at least 14 days for sugar to penetrate a nominal thickness of meat...    The meat structure will have an effect on the sugar penetration...  some meats will act differently...  if you use 1/4 cup or 3 cups of sugar, the sweetness will not be effected all things being equal....  

    Now....   if you cube the meat into 1" cubes say, there will be more sugar per pound of meat, then if you have a pound of meat whole, as in a roast...  due to surface area...

    But the difference in the size of the sugar molecule is still the limiting factor....

    Curing a slab of belly bacon, as an example....  in order to have the sugar tackle some of the salt and neutralize it's harshness, time is your friend...   more time, less saltiness....
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  11. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I use turbinado sugar in place of brown sugar in rubs, the molasses content is the same for each but the turbinado has a higher burn temp. It also won't "pack" like BS.

    IMHO, however, it does not matter whether you pack the brown sugar or not. It's BBQ, no need to over think things.[​IMG]
  12. mr t 59874

    mr t 59874 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Well stated Dave, facts are facts.

  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    To answer the original question...By Culinary convention, Brown Sugar, cups, teaspoons, etc, is measured packed unless otherwise specified. In Rubs, Turbinado is my first choice but on the fly, I measure out packed Brown Sugar according to my recipe, typically 1/2C, and dry it at 200°F, spread thin on a cookie sheet, 15-20 minutes. I rub the cooled sugar to break it up and add the rest of my Rub ingredients. I only dry the brown sugar so any left over Rub will not get lumpy.

    The Search Function, is what it is. It works best as a general search like, Dry Cured Bacon and the Common Name or Terms used here. Things like MES40 Mods or Low and Slow Pulled Pork. A search for BBQ Sauce with Honey and Lager, will give every BBQ Sauce anyone has ever posted. The exception being, you know specifically that there is a specific post named, " BBQ Sauce with Honey and Lager" and you are trying to find it again...JJ
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  14. This thread really has made me start to think about how our rubs really affect the curing process by smoking. Although more along the guidelines of hot smoking, and how it affects the smoke flavor absorbed by said rubs and into the meat compared to no rub on meat being smoked.
  15. garyhibbert

    garyhibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I hate to admit it, but I'm just not real picky when it comes to measuring out brown sugar.  I generally half pack it and then fill in the holes.  I adjust my rubs by taste.  Like its been said.....its BBQ

  16. phatbac

    phatbac Master of the Pit

    I agree with several of the replies, i use turbinado sugar for rubs for ribs and things.Last weekend i was doing some meat for a wedding and i was asked to make low sugar content BBQ for diabetics and i used splenda brown sugar mix.The bag say use half what you would normally use. so i adjusted my rib recipe for it. It did burn a little but made a nice rub that was sweet and a nice sauce when i used it in some BBQ sauce. It doesn't seem to have that "sugar free" taste you get from aspartame or the like. If anyone it looking for a reduced sugar alternative for BBQ i recomend the brown sugar splenda it works well.

    As far as not like sweet meat BBQ - i am the same way when it comes to beef. SPOG is a great place to start for a rub that isnt sweet and if you wanna get funky throw in some paprika to the mix. try 2 parts salt 2 parts garlic 1 part black pepper 1 part onion popwder and 1 part paprika. put in a shaker and coat your beef liberally. 

    Experiment with things that taste good to you like chili powder or dry mustard and see what you like. my rule of thumb when it comes to rub is if i don't like the way it tastes when i mix it i don't put it on the meat. 

    Happy Smoking,

    phatbac (Aaron)

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