Originally Posted by johnmeyer
I did a little quick research. While there are many sugar substitutes that can withstand the heat of cooking, none of them will caramelize. Caramelization is one of the primary reasons you have sugar in these various rubs and BBQ sauces used during the cooking process. The FAQ on the Stevia page confirms that it will not caramelize when heated:
From that link: "Stevia does not caramelize as sugar does. Meringues may also be difficult since Stevia does not brown or crystalize as sugar does."
John, this is good info but Caramelization of sugar happens at 340°F. This is never a factor or concern with the Low and Slow 225 to 275°F smoking most of us do. What happens with getting a great Bark is a combination of the Maillard Reaction, happens quickly over 300° but still happens slowly at 200°F or higher, and the Polymerization of the surface proteins, together giving that crunch and a ton of flavor. Sugar in the Rub also adds to the flavor so a sugar substitute will do the job just fine. Now BBQ Sauce is a different story. A sweet sauce does taste better after caramelization on a hot grill so I agree 100% that regular Stevia won't caramelize and give the same taste. Stevia Brown Sugar however, will caramelize because it is a blend and contains some brown sugar...JJ