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Old 08-12-2007, 04:12 PM   #1
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Sugar Burn Temps

I should know this....

What is the temp that sugar will burn? And is there a different burn temp for brown sugar, white sugar and turbinado?

Thanks for the help!

Dan
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Old 08-12-2007, 04:18 PM   #2
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Re: Sugar Burn Temps

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Originally Posted by Dan - 3EyzBBQ
I should know this....

What is the temp that sugar will burn? And is there a different burn temp for brown sugar, white sugar and turbinado?

Thanks for the help!

Dan
It totally matters at what elevation you are cooking at. Do you want a range? Where are you and what is the elevation? Get some and do an experiement. That's the best way to actually tell....Good question though..Let me ask you one. What's the signifigance of a long smoke stack on a BBq pit?
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Old 08-12-2007, 04:25 PM   #3
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Yes, there are different burn temps for different sugars if you're talking about a rub aplication. Turbinado is the highest at around 350* on a long cook. White sugar tends to get to get bitter on long smokes at 325*. Not sure about brown sugar. I don't use it in rubs.

About the smoke stack question. The higher the satack, the better the draw.

Tim
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Old 08-12-2007, 04:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolinaQue
Yes, there are different burn temps for different sugars if you're talking about a rub aplication. Turbinado is the highest at around 350* on a long cook. White sugar tends to get to get bitter on long smokes at 325*. Not sure about brown sugar. I don't use it in rubs.

About the smoke stack question. The higher the satack, the better the draw.

Tim
Tim, You are the winner!!! [smilie=a_bravo.gif] that was fast too...
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Old 08-12-2007, 04:39 PM   #5
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Why would elevation matter?
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Old 08-12-2007, 04:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan - 3EyzBBQ
Why would elevation matter?
At 5500 feet, the sugar water boils
at too low a temperature to burn the sugar and the water evaporates
completely, leaving granulated sugar again. It isn't a problen unless you live high in the mountains.. Most of us don't though...
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Old 08-12-2007, 11:53 PM   #7
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The temperature at which "sugar" burns, i.e., goes from sweet caramel to bitter $%@! is called the "scorch point."

Scorch temperatures can be a bit misleading in that thermal transference properties of radiant, contact and convection heat are very different. What will scorch in a pan (contact), may not in a broiler (radiant). What may scorch under a salamander (radiant), may not in an oven (convection). As you probably already inferred the hierarchy from most to least efficient is contact, radiant, convection.

Another variable is the heat transference properties of whatever substrate supports the rub (or sugar). Generally the more like a liquid (custard for instance) the better the coefficient of heat transference, and the less likely you are to burn. Of course, the substrate's temperature is important too. For instance, it's easier to "brulee" sugar without scorching on top of a cool custard than it is to make brulee strings in a room temp aluminum pan.

Also sugars in solution as opposed to sugars as granulates are very different beasts. In food prep, it's damn near impossible to burn solute sugar because the evaporation of most (food) solvents keeps the overall temperature of the solution below the scorch point -- which itself is raised because solute sugars have a higher scorch point. When a water/sugar solution goes over 320 deg F, there is no more water. Even though a clear solution, it's 100% sugar and the color change is rapid. Burnt happens at around 350 F.

In a rub application it takes a long time for the rub itself to hit burn temperature in an oven or smoker at 350 because the substrate absorbs so much of the heat energy, as well as supplying moisture to the rub. Nevertheless it's a good idea not to exceed a 325 cook temp if your rub has much sugar in it.

At any rate the process in which sugar goes from sweet to carmel to burnt is called caramelisation and involves the chemical transformation of sugar molecules into a class of chemicals called furfuryls. Sucrose and fructose sugar molecules (sort of) contain water molecules. The furfuryls start to develop as the water is lost. This may be what Sapo meant (?). This is also why I said dissolved sugar has an elevated scorch point.

Caramelisation is analgous to the Maillard reaction and Strecker degradation, the processes by which meats and vegetables brown. Both require amino acids, and the Strecker degradation a special class of chemicals called carbonyls. Barbecue people don't talk much about the Strecker, but the Maillard reaction gets bandied about now and then because of it's association with meat. (8 times out of 10 when someone uses the term "Maillard reaction," he's a colosshole trying to impress.)

As a general rule the more "brown" a sugar has in it, the lower the burn temp. The brown is a sign of molasses which has either been left in the partially refined sugar (as in turbinado or piloncillo) or added to white sugar (as in regular brown sugar). FWIW, turbinado is partially processed raw sugar with only the surface molasses removed. Gur, jaggery and piloncillo are different names for entirely unrefined raw sugar. I thought turbinado caramelised at a lower temperature than white, but apparently was mistaken.

I know there are sugar burn temperature tables on the internet, but I can't find one.

Confused? Me too.

Hope this was more fun than overload,
Rich
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Old 08-13-2007, 04:29 AM   #8
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Now my head hurts!!!!
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Old 08-13-2007, 09:51 AM   #9
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Thanks for the posts! I think I got my answer and then some. Great info there.
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Old 08-13-2007, 02:53 PM   #10
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