Guide to Mopping and Spritzing when you Barbecue

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No one likes to offer dry barbeque, let’s be honest.

And no one wants to eat it.

So it stands to reason that weve been slathering sticky mop sauces and spritzing our grills with fluids since the prehistoric days.

It seems to be elementary mathematics. Adding liquid equals less dry meat.

But, like with anything in grilling, it’s not that easy. When performed appropriately, mopping and spritzing may be an excellent cleaning method. However, it might also wash away the tasty bark you’ve worked so hard to create.

This article will explain why and how to mop or spritz.

How are Mopping and Spritzing Used in BBQ?

Guide to Mopping and Spritzing when you Barbecue

Mopping and spritzing are both methods of moistening meat while it cooks. The key difference between these two methods is in how the moisture is administered.

Mopping, as the name implies, is applying moisture using a brush or mop. People will often refer to the sauce being applied as the mop.

Spritzing is the process of spraying moisture over the surface of the meat using a spray bottle.

In addition to keeping everything wet, you can use your mopping sauce to add layers of flavor to the meat you’re cooking.

A little darker, softer crust or bark will occur from mopping and spritzing your meat. Additionally, the crust will draw more smoke, resulting in a smokier taste. Your meat will also seem plumper and juicier on the exterior.

However, although it may seem that mopping your meat has nothing to lose and everything to gain, not all pitmasters are fans of this approach.

More about this controversy later.

For Grillers or Smokers? A Look At The History of Mopping and Spritzing

Guide to Mopping and Spritzing when you Barbecue

People have been spritzing and mopping their meat for a long time, and the method is documented in numerous civilizations’ history books.

Surprisingly, the word “mopping” has historical roots. The name was coined when US President Lyndon B. Johnson’s favorite pitmaster, Walter Jetton, grilled up meat for the crowd on a massive 40 square foot open air barbecue.

He actually used a mop to wet the meat to keep it from drying out.

Mopping and spritzing may be utilized for both low and slow cooking as well as grilling.

Interestingly, although being traditionally linked with grilling, they have recently been more strongly connected with low and slow cooking.

The Controversy

There is debate over whether to mop or spritz, as there is about practically everything else when it comes to barbeque, and how successful it is.

While many pitmasters do not challenge the significance of mopping and spritzing, a vociferous minority of smokers say there is no need to clean or spritz at all.

Furthermore, they are concerned that the procedure may damage the taste of the completed product.

They claim that a wet mop will remove any rub or spices that have been applied to the meat and will destroy the prized bark.

Regularly lifting the cover to add the sauce (which is normally cold) may also increase the cooking time over longer heats, which some consider a drawback.

Clearly, there is more to mopping and sprtizing than meets the eye.

Let’s learn more about the method and then you can decide if you want to add it to your toolbox.

What Happens When You Mop or Spritz?

There are really six distinct elements to consider.


It is often considered that one of the primary motivations for mopping or spritzing is to increase taste. However, this is not always the case:

  • While the sauce you mop or spritz with will have its own taste, it will lack the flavor of any rubs you may have used on the meat.
  • As a result, if your watery mopping sauce washes away part of the rub you’ve applied, you’ll actually lose taste.

However, if you choose a thicker, stickier sauce to mop with, you will avoid this issue while still adding flavor to your meat.

The same cannot be said for spritzing, since the liquid must be thin enough to be sprayed from a spray bottle.

Cooking Time:

It is common knowledge that spritzing or mopping your meat may lengthen its cooking time.

The sauce is the primary cause of this growth. The increased moisture and cold temperature of the sauce will lower the meat’s surface temperature.

This might assist you in avoiding drying out your meat, particularly if your stove is running hot.

The effect will be determined by how hot and quick you cook.

  • Mopping or spritzing will have no influence on cooking time if you are cooking at high temperatures for a short length of time.
  • Cooking low and slow may result in an increase of 10-20% in cooking time.

The Crust:

Over-spritzing or mopping might result in a less crispy crust by replenishing moisture lost via evaporation.

However, adding additional oil and sugary liquids to your mop or spritz sauce can help brown the surface of the meat.

Browning happens during cooking when the sugars in these components caramelize. This will work especially effectively if you are cooking at a high temperature.

It is important to note that if you are cooking anything with fatty skin, adding a water-based sauce will not increase the quality of the crust.

It will make the skin limp and prevent the creation of the desired brown, crispy surface. When preparing poultry or duck, it is generally preferable to let it alone and allow the skin’s natural characteristics do their job.

So, in most situations, how you want your crust comes down to personal choice. Crispy and crunchy? Or is it sticky and brown? We’ll leave the solution to that one to you.

Smoke and Smoke Ring:

Mopping and spritzing will help to generate a smoke ring.

Because the moisture you provide to the surface of the meat attracts smoke, mopping and spritzing will aid in the formation of a smoke ring.

This permits the smoke’s sodium nitrite to penetrate the flesh and react with the myoglobin. This reaction results in the highly valued pink ring immediately under the surface of the flesh.


You will be replenishing part of the moisture lost throughout the cooking process when you mop and spritz.

While it won’t make a big difference in size, your meat will seem plumper and less dried out when it’s done.


There’s a chance you’ll infect your meat if you don’t use proper hygiene while mopping it.

For example, if you wiped the meat before it was completely cooked, you may have taken up microbes from it. You may be spreading the bugs if you use the same mop.

Similarly, if you use the marinade liquid as a sauce, you will be transferring microorganisms onto the meat as you mop it.

Most bugs will be killed off if the meat is cooked above 155F.

So, before mopping, consider where your mop has been, where the liquid you’re using came from, and what temperatures you’ll be exposing the mopping liquid to. This manner, you may prevent becoming ill from germs in raw meat.

To Spritz or Not to Spritz

We finally understand the science behind what happens when we mop and spray our meat. But how does this effect the result in practice?

Everything is Barbeque chose to roast ribs side by side. One with and one without spritzing.

If you want to see how things turned out, you can watch the video here.

In the end, both techniques of cooking created a good product. However, there were some distinctions. And which way each person favors is a question of personal preference.

  • Texture The bark on the un-spritzed ribs, for example, was crisper and dryer. It’s up to you whether you want your crust crunchy or softer. The spritzed meat was also noticeably plumper than the unsprayed meat.
  • Flavor The spritzed beef had a more mild taste than the un-spritzed counterpart. The addition of the spritz looks to have muffled the zing of the spice rub. Again, whether you want your ribs zingy or subtle is a question of personal preference.
  • Cooking Time The cooking time was perhaps the most noticeable variation between the two alternatives. The meat that was spritzed during the cooking process took roughly an hour longer to cook than the dry ribs.

Tips For Mopping and Spritzing

  • Use components with a high sugar content in your mopping sauce to help develop a sticky dark bark. A simple mopping sauce made with apple juice, an alcohol such as bourbon, and olive oil yields a wonderful bark.
  • Before you begin mopping, wait until a crust has formed. If you wait 90 minutes before mopping or spritzing, you will lose less of your rub than if you start mopping earlier in the cook.
  • Mop the side of the meat facing up immediately after flipping it while it is still frying and hot. This gives the mopping sauce time to settle and absorb into the meat.
  • Some pitmasters favor spritzing because they believe it does not affect the surface of the meat as much as mopping does. Keep in mind that if you spritz then quickly turn the meat, you will lose part of the rub you have applied to the surface of the meat.
  • If you’re cooking food with a smoky taste, like bacon, mopping will guarantee that the meat absorbs the most of the smoky flavor. When the surface of the meat has dried up, it will no longer absorb smoke.
  • If you are concerned about the surface of the meat cooling, you should warm up the brush and mopping sauce.

Basic Mop Recipe

If you want to try your hand at mopping, start with a beautiful, basic sauce.

Steven Raichlan’s basic mop recipe from his book Barbecue! The Bible is an excellent choice.


  • 2 cups apple cider
  • cup cider vinegar
  • cup bourbon
  • cup water
  • cup Worcestershire sauce
  • cup lemon juice
  • teaspoon salt

Check out the link above for the full recipe

Once you’ve mastered this basic mop sauce, you may want to branch out.

If you want to try some other kinds and tastes, check out our list of the greatest mopping sauces.

Basic Spritz Recipe

We’ve covered the mop, so let’s move on to the spritz. Smokin with Myron Mixon includes a spritzing recipe that works nicely with pig. The sugar in the spritz will also color your meat nicely.


  • 3 cups apple juice
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons liquid imitation butter


  • Mix all ingredients together and use immediately

Best gear for mopping and sprtizing

The benefit of mopping or spritzing is that it is a very simple method that does not need a large investment of money to attempt.

Here are our suggestions to get you started.

Best for Spritzing – Solo 418 One Hand Pressure Sprayer

This handy spray bottle might be used for a variety of tasks, but we’re more interested in how helpful it is for spritzing.

This pressure sprayer carries one litre of liquid, which is plenty for spritzing your barbecue meats.

This spray container is pressurized, and the nozzle can be adjusted to spray at almost any angle. This is a very useful feature for spraying the meat rapidly without keeping the top open for too long.

Remember that this is a plastic bottle. If you are tempted to use it for anything else that contains chemicals, it is best not to use it for spritzing your meat again.

Best for Mopping – 12” BBQ Basting Mop

This mop has a cotton fiber head and a genuine hardwood handle. The benefit of using a mop made of natural materials is that your mop head will not melt.

This mop comes as a pair, so you’ll always have one clean and ready to go. In fact, these mops also work well as dishwashing mops, so have one on hand for cleaning inside jars and glasses.

Cotton-headed mops take up a lot of mopping sauce. Brushes with silicone heads, according to several pitmasters, do not distribute enough sauce to the meat. Because mopping and sauces may be relatively thin, a mop with an absorbent head comes in handy.

Get the latest price on Amazon.

Wrapping It Up

If you’ve been grilling for a long, you’ve probably heard a lot about cleaning and spritzing. Similarly, if you’re new to grilling or slow cooking, you may be wondering why so much is made of cleaning and spritzing.

The basic conclusion is that mopping and spritzing are not required for grilling, as some claim. If you do decide to attempt mopping and spritzing, there is a new universe of tastes and textures to explore.

Do you spritz and mop? Or maybe you don’t see the point and want your barbecues crispy and spicy? Please share your opinions in the space below. And, if you found this information useful, please spread the word.


Should you mop or spritz brisket?

Spritzing Brisket versus.

Mopping and spritzing are two alternative techniques of applying liquid on meat. Mopping entails using a brush to apply a thicker sauce over the meat, while spritzing entails spraying a thinner liquid via a spray bottle.

When should I start spritzing my BBQ?

While smoking, the optimal moment to spray your meat is right after the bark has developed. The bark on meat usually appears between 1:30 and 2 hours into the cooking process. To prevent the meat from drying out, spray it every half hour to 45 minutes.

What do you spritz on a BBQ?

There are several liquids that can be spritzed. Apple cider vinegar, beer, and wine are the most common options. However, tomato juice, vegetable juice, or any form of broth may be substituted. If you want to amp up the taste, use a BBQ sauce, honey mustard, or teriyaki sauce.

What do pitmasters spray?

Spritzing – Many pitmasters have a spray bottle loaded with stock, apple juice, or spray butter on hand, spritzing the meat as it begins to dry on the surface.

Do you spray brisket with water or apple cider vinegar?

Vinegar of Apple Cider

This is a popular liquid for a brisket spritz, particularly for Carolina-style barbecue. To somewhat dilute it, apple cider vinegar is often blended with a little amount of water or apple juice.

Should I spritz my brisket with apple juice or apple cider vinegar?

Ingredients for the Best Spritz

Apple cider vinegar can provide a pleasant tangy taste to your meat. Just be sure to use a modest quantity so the vinegar doesn’t overpower you. Meanwhile, apple juice and other fruit liquids might contribute to a sweeter taste profile in the brisket. Beef broth helps to amp up the flavorful tastes.

How often do you mop BBQ?

After the third hour of smoking, we apply the mop by gently wiping the ribs in an up and down motion to prevent loosing bark or pushing off the dry rub. Applying the mop with a brush is OK; just be careful. Use a brush or a mop head to apply the mop (for basting). Around the third hour, the bones should be extracted.

Does spritzing prolong the stall?

When we baste, whether by mopping, brushing, or spritzing, we chill the meat simply by using cold liquid. It then floats to the surface and evaporates, extending the stall.

How often do you mop a brisket?

Mop the brisket every hour until it’s done. Maintain a low temperature for the mop mixture throughout the procedure so that it is not frigid when you apply it.

What is the difference between mopping and spritzing?

Mopping, as the name implies, includes applying moisture with a brush or “mop.” People will often refer to the sauce being applied as the “mop.” Spritzing is the process of spraying moisture over the surface of the meat using a spray bottle.

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