Your Guide to BBQ Basting, Spritzing, & Mopping - Tips & Tricks You Should Know

Like many things in the world of barbecue, basting, spritzing, and mopping are a hot topic; some swear by it and those who think otherwise. This guide to BBQ basting, mopping, and spritzing will provide you with all of the tips and tricks that you need to know to get the best out of these techniques. Like delicious bark on your smoked brisket, develop your own opinion on spritzing, mopping, and basting with the information provided in this article.


What is Basting, Mopping, & Spritzing

Each of these are a technique to apply flavored liquid to a meat that you are cooking, whether it’s hot and fast grilling or low and slow smoking.



Usually done with a marinade. Basting with marinade can be tricky. You run the risk of adding back the bacteria from the raw meat to the food. To avoid cross-contamination, you can either set aside some of the marinade before adding the meat. Alternatively (if you forgot) you can use the leftover marinade; however, the last application must be at least 10 minutes before the end of the cook and the grill has to be higher than 155°F.

RecipeBlog - Dr. Pepper Ribs - sauce



Mopping is done for low and slow smokes more than anything. As you would guess, a mop-like accessory is used for this. The “mop” is a very liquid – like water – that is liberally slathered onto smoking meats. When considering a mop for purchase we recommend using a silicone-based one to prevent odors and bacterial growth that can happen when using a cotton mop. The additional benefit to a silicone barbecue mop accessory is that it cleans easy, just toss it into the dishwasher.

After cooking in foil for 2 hours; it's time to get saucy



Spritzing or spraying is another technique that is generally used when the cook is going to last longer. Instead of splashing on a very liquid concoction, a spray bottle is used to mist the liquid onto the meat. Naturally for this, you would require a very thin mixture without spices. A combo of juice and vinegar is a prime example of this. Check out our recipe below. Equipment-wise, you can go crazy and expensive with pressurized stainless steel bottles or you can go super inexpensive with dollar store spray bottles. It’s all about the comfort and preference you have.



When to Baste, Mop, & Spritz

Whether you are grilling hot and high or smoking low and slow there is a proper time to use a baste, mop, or spritz. If you are cooking something quickly, over high heat, it’s best to baste or mop fairly often and quickly. The liquid will caramelize thanks to the high heat and you will have something delicious to eat when all is said and done. Just remember not to flip right away after basting or mopping because the liquid will just drip off the food if you do. When smoking low and slow, it’s a different matter. You want to wait for the seasonings on the outside of the meat to form a crust or bark. If you don’t, you will run the risk of your baste, mop sauce, or spritz washing the seasonings off, taking your chance of bark with them. To ensure that doesn’t happen, wait 45 (smaller things like thick steak and ribs) to 90 minutes (for larger things like briskets and shoulders).


Why You Want to Baste, Mop, or Spritz

Depending on the liquid and technique you are using, basting and mopping are intended to add flavor. All three will help your meal retain moisture, they help by attracting smoke to the meat because smoke likes wet surfaces. The sodium nitrite in the smoke will melt on the surface of the meat you are smoking where it will bond to the myoglobin and help to create the pink ring. All three techniques also aid in caramelization as there are usually sugars present in the liquid which will respond to the heat during the Maillard reaction.


Tips & Tricks

  • Basting, mopping, and spritzing can extend cook time on low and slow meals. There are two factors. You are opening the lid and allowing hot air to escape and more oxygen to enter the grilling chamber, while this is done swiftly, and the loss of heat is negligible, it can cause heat fluctuations with charcoal. The second is that you are adding moisture to the meat and grilling chamber, this can cause or exacerbate evaporative cooling and extend the stall.

  • There is a fine line between just enough and too much when it comes to mop sauces, bastes, and spritzes that contain oil and/or sugars. These can and do assist in the browning process through caramelization and the Maillard reaction, however, you need to be cautious as excess moisture will also prevent browning and soften the crust that you are working so hard to build. So, when smoking err on the side of caution when using a baste, mop, or spritz, but you can be a little more generous when BBQ-ing at temperatures over 300°F.


How to Baste, Mop, & Spritz

  1. Quickly and smoothly lift the lid on your grill after the food has been cooking for a bit.

  2. Efficiently apply your liquid of choice. Use a spray bottle to quickly spritz the meat. Conversely, you can use a basting brush or basting mop to apply the marinade or mop sauce to the meat.

  3. Replace the lid.

  4. Wait 30 minutes and repeat until your food is nearly done.


Basic Mop Sauce Recipe

Basic Spritz Recipe

2 cups apple juice

2 cups apple juice

¾ cup cider vinegar

¾ cup cider vinegar

½ cup beer or bourbon

2 tbsp. liquid butter or oil

½ cup water


3 tbsp. salted butter, melted





What is your opinion on basting, mopping, or spritzing? Do you have a hard and fast rule or favorite recipe for the perfect liquid addition to your smoked meats? Tell us, share your photos, techniques, recipes, and tips on our social pages like Facebook and Instagram using the hashtags #BBQbaste, #BBQmop, #BBQspritz, and #napoleonGrill.

Happy Grilling!

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