5 Mop Sauce Recipes to Give Your BBQ the Edge

Mop sauce has traditionally been used in the Texas coal commercial pits and in other regions of the US to moisturize and cool the meat during the slow and low smoking and barbecuing.

By basting the tougher cuts with a mop and a suitable mop sauce, the meat comes out tender, juicy, and flavorful.

But it is not only the pros that can benefit from the use of this technique and of mop sauce. You can try it out too in your backyard, with one of these excellent mop sauce recipes.

What is mop sauce, and is it different from the traditional barbecue sauce?

As the name suggests, mop sauce is applied by mopping over the surface of the food before and during the cooking over smoky wood chips. In many cases, the BBQ sauce is applied to the meat at the end of the smoking and barbecuing. Learn how to thicken it here.

The main difference between the two traditional sauces used for making the perfect slow and low grilled, smoked or barbecued meat and food is that mop sauce has a much thinner consistency than barbecue sauce, almost like water. This is the reason why a cotton mop is used for applying it because a regular basting brush simply cannot hold the thin liquid.

The most common ingredients used for making the mop sauce for basting include apple cider, vinegar, tomato juice, beer, Worcestershire sauce, wine, and others.

Here are some of the best mop sauce recipes used by professionals and backyard barbecuers alike.

Coffee Texas Style Mop Sauce

Coffee-Texas-Style-Mop-Sauce
Photo credit: nospoonnecessary.com

This coffee-based mop sauce used in Texas is a favorite ingredient to making the perfect low and slow beef brisket.

The sauce has a flavorful peppery coffee taste and is suitable for basting large cuts of meat to add flavor and keep them moist and tender during the cooking process. With the gradual application of every layer of this sauce with a mop, the meat will form a mouthwatering sweet bark.

Ingredients for preparing 2 cups of the mop sauce:

  • Dark strong coffee – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 1 tablespoon
  • Catsup – 1 cup
  • Freshly coarse ground black pepper – 1 full tablespoon
  • Kosher salt – 1 tablespoon
  • Butter – ¼ cup
  • Worcestershire sauce – ½ cup

Instructions for making the Texas coffee mop sauce:

  • Mix all of the ingredients in a saucepan or pot which is large enough to fit the mop as well
  • Simmer the mix for about 20 minutes, but do not thicken too much, so it can be mopped on top of the meat
  • If you want to serve some of the sauce with the cooked meat, you can thicken it over medium heat until most of the liquid evaporates

Basic Beer Mopping Sauce

Basic-Beer-Mopping-Sauce
Photo credit: beeflovingtexans.com

I think we can all agree that barbecue and beer are the perfect matches. But instead of simply pouring some of your beer over the meat while you are preparing it, you should try this delicious basic beer mopping sauce which you can use to baste the meat as it is slowly cooking.

It is perfect for grilling and low and slow smoking of brisket or other tougher meats.

You can pick a lighter beer for a milder flavor or a darker one if you want your brisket to have a more distinct flavor.

Ingredients for the basic beer mop sauce:

  • Beer of your choice – 12-oz
  • Cider vinegar – ½ cup
  • Water – ½ cup
  • Canola or corn oil – ½ cup
  • Chopped ½ medium-sized onion
  • Minced garlic cloves – 2pcs.
  • Worcestershire sauce – 1 tablespoon
  • Brisket seasoning – 1 tablespoon

Instructions for making the beer mop sauce for beef brisket:

  • Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and whisk them together
  • Bring the pan to a boil and then lower the heat until thickened
  • Keep the mop sauce lightly heated during the cooking of the meat
  • Mop the meat every hour during the cooking

Check our guide on how to make the best beef brisket injection

Spicy Texas Mopping Sauce

Spicy-Texas-Mopping-Sauce
Photo credit: saveur.com

This is another spicy sauce originating from Texas, which is a great way to add some spiciness and kick to your low and slow-smoked ribs or other meat by mopping over them throughout the cooking process.

Ingredients for making the spicy Texas mopping sauce:

  • Apple cider vinegar – 1 cup
  • Ketchup – 2 cups
  • Light brown sugar – 2 tablespoons
  • Worcestershire sauce – 1 tablespoon
  • Crushed red chili flakes – 1 tablespoon
  • Finely chopped cilantro – 1 tablespoon
  • Kosher salt – 1 tablespoon
  • Anise seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Garlic – 2 chopped cloves

Instructions for preparing the spicy mop sauce from Texas:

  • Use a blender to puree all of the ingredients without the ketchup until they are pureed
  • Pour the ketchup in a large saucepan and add the other pureed ingredients while stirring the sauce
  • Simmer over medium heat, and continue stirring for about 30 minutes while the sauce thickens

Vinegar BBQ Mop Sauce

Vinegar-BBQ-Mop-Sauce
Photo credit: jesspryles.com

This is another vinegar-based mopping sauce from Carolina, which is especially suitable for low and slow roasting and cooking pork.

It offers a nice kick, with a subtle taste of sweetness thanks to the added honey and brown sugar, which makes the pork meat even more delicious.

Ingredients for making the Carolina vinegar BBQ mop sauce:

  • Apple cider vinegar – 1 ½ cups
  • Brown sugar – 2 tablespoons
  • Honey – 1 tablespoon
  • Paprika – 2 teaspoons
  • Crushed red pepper flakes – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Ground black pepper – ¼ teaspoon

Instructions for preparing the vinegar-based BBQ mop sauce from Carolina:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and whisk them together
  • Heat the pan over medium heat so that all ingredients dissolve
  • Remove from the heat if the sauce starts boiling
  • Use it for the basting and mopping, or let it cool and store it in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator

Eastern Carolina Mopping Sauce

Eastern-Carolina-Mopping-Sauce
Photo credit: heygrillhey.com

This mopping sauce is also vinegar-based but adds a spicy kick to the slowly roasted meat on the barbecue.

The sauce is used for basting and moisturizing the meat during the cooking and can also be served thickened with the ready meat or as a sauce for your sandwiches.

Ingredients for making the Eastern Carolina mop sauce:

  • Distilled wine vinegar – 1 cup
  • Cider vinegar – 1 cup
  • Red pepper flakes – 1 tablespoon (or more if you want to add heat)
  • Hot sauce – 1 tablespoon
  • Onion powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Garlic powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Brown sugar – 2 tablespoons
  • Dry mustard – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Freshly ground black pepper – ¼ teaspoon

Instructions for making the mop sauce from Eastern Carolina:

  • Mix all of the ingredients together
  • Baste the meat with a mop every hour or more often
  • You can store the leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month and use it as a sauce for your sandwiches and other meals as well

Pulled Pork Mop Sauce by Malcolm Reed

Pulled-Pork-Mop-Sauce-by-Malcolm-Reed
Photo credit: tarateaspoon.com

This pulled pork mop sauce is part of the mouthwatering recipe of famous pitmaster Malcolm Reed. The recipe also includes instructions on how to prepare the brisket injection and the rub for the meat, as well as all of the steps you need to know about how to prepare the perfect pulled pork from Boston butts.

Ingredients for the pulled pork mop sauce by Malcolm Reed:

  • Vegetable oil – 16-oz
  • Cider vinegar – 16-oz
  • Very hot water – 32-oz
  • Dry rub – 1 cup
  • Worcestershire sauce – 2 tablespoons
  • Soy sauce – 2 tablespoons

Instructions for making the mopping sauce for the Boston butt pulled pork:

  • Mix all of the ingredients, and whisk them together until the hot water dissolves the dry rub
  • Apply the sauce on the butt every 2 hours during the low and slow smoking

Learn how to make low and slow smoked pork brisket

Finding the best mop for the mop sauce

Now that you know how to prepare the mop sauce, you should look for the best mop to use for basting the meat as well.

Our top pick is the GrillHogs BBQ basting mop.

It is affordable and will allow you to tenderize, moisturize and add flavor to your food easily and safely. Here is what to expect from this excellent mop for mop sauce;

  • It is a high-quality and versatile cooking tool
  • It can soak up even the thinnest sauce
  • It is excellent for mopping, basting, and glazing
  • A great choice for all Texas and Carolina vinegar-based mop sauces
  • The 18-inch quality handle is ergonomic and will keep your hand at a safe distance from the grill
  • The head of the mop is large and soft, and absorbent enough to apply the mop sauce on large pieces of meat at once
  • It is an affordable mop for basting with mop sauce
  • Suitable for large and small cuts of meat and poultry

Check our list for the best store bought barbeque sauces

Final words

Hopefully, we have helped you understand the secrets behind using mop sauces for slow and low smoking, barbecuing, and grilling of briskets, pork butts, and all kinds of meats.

All of the recipes are easy to prepare with inexpensive and readily available ingredients, and the best part is that you can experiment with each of them by adding other flavors and spices to make the meat perfect for your taste.

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