Light Brown vs Dark Brown Sugar

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
Jul 31, 2007
Glenburn, ND
I know there is a difference in the 2 sugars, but can you subsitute them for each other in recipes (for rubs and sauces) and taste a difference?
Brown sugar is really just sugar that has had molasses added to it.

Dark Brown has more molasses than Light Brown.

Will there be a taste difference? Yes
Could you actually tell a difference after they were smoked? Probably not.


Tanya -

1 cup light brown sugar = 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1 tbsp molasses or dark corn syrup

1 cup of dark brown sugar = 1 cup granulated sugar plus 2 tbsp molasses or dark corn syrup

Not much difference! I gotta post that baking substitute page. Sorry I'm way behind - been busy lately.

Thanks!!! Our local Sams Club sells the light brown sugar but not the dark. And it would be so much cheaper to buy it from there.
I have used both in rub mixes, and after using a smoker at 225* or oven at 350* the difference isn't noticeable.
One trick I like to do is substitute granulated light brown sugar for dark brown sugar in my rubs. There is zero clumping and the rub has a nice consistency.
You're probably good just using regular white sugar for rubs. As mentioned earlier, you'll probably not notice the difference between light and dark sugar when used in a rub. A book I've read suggests use of brown sugar in rubs is not necessary since you're adding smoke to your product and you're caramelizing the sugar as you cook. There may be a difference if you're using brown sugar for a finishing sauce.
A lot of the guys that cook in comps around here are using turbanido sugar in their rubs. It will take the heat better and not turn as dark brown. Ive cooked with both and like the dark brown sugar better, but thats just my own preference.
To any (including myself),

Turbinado sugar is a type of sugar cane extract. It is made by steaming unrefined raw sugar. Turbinado sugar is similar in appearance to brown sugar but paler, and in general the two can be exchanged freely in recipes. A popular brand name is Sugar in the Raw.

from Wiki.......

I haven't seen it available here in bulk quantities, only in little serving packages.
I used Turbino sugar quite a bit especially when smoking. I found this stuff at WalMart about a week ago that looks very similar and tried it. It was cheaper than the turbino and works great. I think it was like $1.98 for this jug but it doesn't burn like brown sugar and you don't need alot of it.

It's also listed in some of the beer recipes I haven't tried yet ...

i use the "sugar in the raw" brand. i buy it in a box, $2.98 at h.e.b. i was thinking of using it instead of the dark brown sugar in a rub recipe i have, wink wink.
On careful exploration of a couple of supermarkets, I did find turbinado type sugars. Curiously, both had them at the very top shelf. They were only available in 1 pound packages, well there was an empty spot for a two pound package.

I had a little laugh when I looked at one package. It stated free flowing, but the sugar was more like a rock.
I've replaced brown sugar with turbinado in my rub recipes for heat, but still use dark brown sugar in my sauce. Especially with ribs, the last hour I brush on my sauce every 15 minutes and I think the brown sugar thickens to a sticky goodness much better than turbinado....I suppose that is the caramelization that you wouldnâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t want going on for 5-6 hours, but is ok for an hour.

(Disclaimer: I'm a rookie and anything I say may be worth its weight in balsa wood)

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