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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Barbecue Secret Number 16: Preparing Brown Sugar for Use in Rubs

If you make your own rubs and use brown sugar as an ingredient in them, you know that it can be problematic because the molasses in the sugar introduced moisture which can cause lumps of sugar coated in other ingredients and other unwelcome problems. Here is a barbecue secret to avoid the problems associated with using brown sugar in barbecue rubs. Before mixing your barbecue rub that includes brown sugar, dry the sugar first. Here is how I do it.

I preheat my oven to 180 degrees F. I line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I then put a layer of brown sugar on the paper that is about 1/4" thick.

Next, I place the baking sheet with the paper and sugar in the oven and let it dry for about 20 to 30 minutes. I remove the sugar laden baking sheet from the oven and let it cool. The result is a brittle sheet of dried brown sugar.

I break the sheet of dried brown sugar into pieces that will fit in a gallon sized plastic bag. I seal the bag being careful to remove as much of the excess air in it as possible. Then, I crush the pieces of sugar by gently pounding it with a rolling pin. I tried using a food processor and a spice grinder but both of those created something more akin to powdered sugar than granulated sugar.

The final step is to sift the crushed sugar through a fine strainer. That larger pieces that don't pass through the strainer go back into the plastic bag to be crushed. I continue this process until all of the sugar is back to the state of granulated sugar.

The resulting dried brown sugar maintains the flavor and sweetness of brown sugar but it will no longer clump up or introduce unwanted moisture to my barbecue rubs.

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