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Sugar and rubs

InksmythInksmyth Posts: 308
edited 7:12AM in EggHead Forum
I have always believed that sugar in rubs glazes the meat. Sometimes this is good, but when smoking, this glaze prevents smoke penetration and a good smoke ring.
I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

Comments

  • Interesting question. It could work the other way too. Maybe the sugar liquifies and takes the smoke particles into the meat. I can't say I've noticed a difference between my smoke ring when I use rubs with sugar versus those without though. Wouldn't sugar work like salt and pull moisture from the meat?
    Paul
  • BENTEBENTE Posts: 8,337
    with the egg it is sometimes difficult to get a good smoke ring.. here is a link from somewhere else that they had a discussion about it...

    http://www.rbjb.com/rbjb/archives/653084/messages/652600.html


    as far as the sugar goes it is not the reason you do not get a smoke ring.. the smoke ring is a chemical reaction... if you want a good smoke ring your are supposed to use something called tender quick .. thirdeyes site tells you how to do this properly

    http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.com/1996/03/brisket.html

    happy eggin

    TB

    Anderson S.C.

    "Life is too short to be diplomatic. A man's friends shouldn't mind what he does or says- and those who are not his friends, well, the hell with them. They don't count."

    Tyrus Raymond Cobb

  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    I don't find this to be the case. I put a good amount of raw sugar on briskets and still achieve a great smoke ring.

    Smoke penetration is really more of a myth. Smoke does not technically penetrate meat.
  • InksmythInksmyth Posts: 308
    I don't have a problem getting a good smoke ring. Been smoking low and slow for years, but have always stayed away from rubs with sugar.
  • InksmythInksmyth Posts: 308
    The next brisket I do I will try different rubs on each half and see how it turns out.
  • BENTEBENTE Posts: 8,337
    it should have read good smoke ring i edited it so it is right now...

    happy eggin

    TB

    Anderson S.C.

    "Life is too short to be diplomatic. A man's friends shouldn't mind what he does or says- and those who are not his friends, well, the hell with them. They don't count."

    Tyrus Raymond Cobb

  • ZippylipZippylip Posts: 4,700
    Light brown sugar is a substantial component of my homemade rub & I have always gotten a nice ring and, more importantly, nice smoke flavor
    happy in the hut
    West Chester Pennsylvania
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    smoke doesn't get absorbed in the way folks think. a quarter inch smoke ring doesn't mean smoke penetrated a quarter inch into your meat.

    smoke rings are formed from a chemical process that occurs when smoke lands ON the meat, and the nitrites in the smoke become acidic and are wicked into the meat thru good old capillary action. funny thing is that sugar might actually help it. as essexco points out, sugar is quite hygroscopic, and will suck out as much if not more liquid than salt. i don't know if the meat drying out during the cook causes some of that liquid to get sucked back in, but if it did, it would carry the nitric acid into the meat, deepening the ring.


    all i can say for sure is that we newenglanders are used to sugar on our ribs, and my rubs are almosr half brown sugar sometimes. and i always have a smoke ring, despite (or maybe because )of it
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • InksmythInksmyth Posts: 308
    I checked out the links you provided. The "playing with smoke and fire" link stated that he never uses sugar based rubs on brisket although he did not state why. Also tenderquick is a cure. The cure changes the color of the meat, such as the red of pastrami. This is not a smoke ring. This would happen if a tenderquick brisket was cooked in the oven with no smoke. This can be achived with many cures such as Hi Mountain.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    tenderquick, and cures that make hams, bacon, etc. pink, all contain nitrites and nitrates. what do they do? they, like the nitrites in smoke, turn to nitric acid, reacting with the myoglobin of the meat and turning pink. when the meat temp hits 140, the chemical reaction isn't sustained, and no more meat turns pink.

    if you want a smoke ring, the meat should be cold, the smoke should be plentiful, and the ambient temp as low as possible.

    smoke rings are not juged in competitions for many reasons, one reason is because you could simply paint it on with tenderquick....

    smoke is not absorbed, nitratess and nitrites cause the smoke ring, and sugar will not interfere (or help) much
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • InksmythInksmyth Posts: 308
    I was under the impression. In competitions, at least the ones I have been involved in in the Kansas City area, such as the American Royal, do look at the smoke ring on brisket as one of many criteria in the judging. At least that is what we have been told by competition officials.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    the smoke ring contributes to the appearance, of course, but i believe (judges, correct me if i'm worng) that the smoke ring is not suppose to count for much, simply because it can be created with tenderquick in the rub, and because evidence of the smoke ring doesn't do anything for flavor.

    there are many more factors involved how deep the smoke ring goes than the amount of sugar in the rub, and i was simply trying to explain that i, personally, haven't experienced any less of a smoke ring with our without suga in the rub.

    glazing at the end should have no effect at all on the ring, because the smoke ring only forms when the meat is under 140 or so (not the internal temp, but the temp of the surface meat, where the rings forms)
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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