BBQ Tip: How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for a BBQ Mop

Mopping is a barbecue basting method that helps to keep meat moist during cooking. A BBQ mop is the tool you use - it quite literally looks like a miniature version of a kitchen mop! The fibers are designed to hold a lot of sauce. The mop is dipped into the sauce, and then the sauce is in turn mopped onto the meat. Why bother with a mop? It's just a matter of preference, but mops do hold a lot of liquid so you don't have to spend a lot of time basting. This article is about - simple ways to spruce up a quick recipe for added flavor.

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First, a few things to remember:

  • Mop sauces should be thin and runny, like the consistency of water.

  • Too many flavors could result in a weird-tasting concoction (interesting, but weird). Try to stick with a single flavor "theme".

  • Cotton BBQ mops are the most common, but mops with silicon bristles are also available. We find that the cotton ones hold much more sauce than the silicon ones. Both can be a pain to clean properly, but cotton stains much more easily (and can end up looking pretty gross, no matter how many times and how well you clean them). And on that note, if you purchase a cotton BBQ mop, look for one with a removable head (the 'mop' part) so that you can replace it when needed.

Using apple-cider vinegar as a base for BBQ mop sauce:

  • The easiest mop sauce is to simply add a tablespoon or two of your favorite BBQ rub to a cup of apple cider vinegar. Make sure you swish everything around each time you dip the mop into the sauce, so that the meat gets both the cider and the seasonings.

  • If you prefer, you can mix your favorite BBQ sauce instead to the apple cider vinegar, adding water as needed to keep the mop sauce thin.

    ... BUT commercial barbecue sauces tend to contain a lot of sugar which burns easily on the BBQ. If you are cooking at temperatures above 265 degrees Farenheit (approximately), you might want to re-think using a sugary sauce as it may burn and smoke (and not in a good way).

  • Be creative... you can mix in beer, fruit juices, lemon juice, really anything that catches your fancy to the cider. Just remember, whatever you add should have flavors that complement it. Keep it simple! For example, for BBQ pork ribs, sometimes we use an easy mix of 1/4 cup water, 3/4 cup apple juice, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, and a squirt of lemon juice.

  • If you have already basted the meat with some sort of apple-cider vinegar marinade, you can use the leftover marinade as a mop sauce. Bring the leftover marinade to a boil, then add enough water to make the resulting sauce thin and runny.

Mop the meat about every 30 to 45 minutes or so (assuming you're cooking 'low and slow'), or aim for a minimum of 3 to 4 times. As you can see, using an apple cider vinegar sauce as a BBQ mop really isn't hard to do... it just takes a little experimenting with flavors!



This website offers tips on how to BBQ as well as some of our favorite barbecue recipes. We barbecue with a charcoal grill in an outdoor kamado-style cooker called The Big Green Egg. We love food and we love the grill, and hope you enjoy our recipes!