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Old 11-03-2010, 09:01 AM   #21
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Here is what I found about sugar in a brine...

Sugar has little if any effect on the texture of meat, but it does add flavor and promotes better browning of the skin. (Brining A-to-Z! What Is It? Why It Works! How To Do It! Basic Brine Recipes! [tabacco.blog-city.com])
Sweetening the Brine: Sugar is optional to any brine, but works to counteract the flavor of the salt. (Brining Turkey - Turkey Brine Recipes and Information)
The December 2001 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine included a universal formula for brining. Actually there were two universal formulas, one for the typical meat cooking temperature and another for high-heat cooking such as broiling or grilling. The Cook's Illustrated authors (and many other brining aficionados) complement the salt in a brine with sugar. Though I do not typically use sugar in brines, many people swear it masks or takes the edge off the salt, adds flavor, and promotes browning. (Brining for Flavor)

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Old 11-03-2010, 09:56 AM   #22
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GB has posted some fabulous links. I can't remember where I read that bit about the sugar being important in the denaturing process (I'll find it eventually!) but most of what I've been reading suggests exactly what GB posted, that the sugar is not essential. It does help in the crisping of the skin and imparting flavor to whatever you brine. I'm off to look at my pork links. I suspect that was where I found it...

Edit: Just this bit,
Once inside the cells, the salt and, to a lesser extent, the sugar cause the cell proteins to unravel, or denature.

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Old 11-03-2010, 11:55 AM   #23
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I don't think the sugar acts to denature the proteins.

But it does help to create a more savory, less salty flavor.

I've brined with and without sugar and much prefer the added sugar. It just makes the food taste better.

I also always use soy sauce in addition to the salt.

Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
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