The secret to good barbecue is to know how to get the right amount of sweet mixed with the right amount of heat. Choosing which kind of sweet can be difficult, but an understanding of the different types of ingredients used to sweeten can be of great help when making those decisions. So let's take a look at a few.
We are all familiar with the intense flavor of refined sugar. Brown sugar has a much more complex flavor. There are several other items available to help sweeten up your products. Muscovite is a super rich, molasses flavored sweetener. This is basically dark brown unrefined cane sugar. Also available are dried molasses, which are very easy to work with in rubs. Most molasses are a blend of syrups from different varieties of cane sugar. Blackstrap molasses are thick, strong in flavor, and darker than most molasses and come from the concentrated syrup that is left behind when sugar is refined.
Brown sugar is useful in sauces but difficult to work with in dry rubs. It has a tendency to clump and become hard. Turbinado sugar is a refined sugar with the flavor of molasses and is similar to brown sugar but without the caking problems. Excellent for use in your dry rubs. Honey is one of the worlds oldest sweeteners and its soft, mellow flavor allows you to create excellent sweet sauces. Maple syrup has a smooth rich flavor. It is used quite often with sausage, bacon, and other pork products. Maple sugar has the same bold taste and can be used in dry rubs with excellent results.
Finally, never forget fruits and jellies. Apples, peaches, and plums are excellent fruits to use as sweeteners. My personal favorites are jellies and preserves. I think I like these the most because of all the different flavors available. Next time you get a chance, add some pineapple, apple, blueberry or other flavored jelly to your sauce. About 1 cup per 3 cups of sauce. I think you will enjoy the results. Remember, sugars tend to burn easily on the grill, so be careful.