Homemade BBQ mop sauce is brushed onto your meat during a low and slow cook on the grill, or smoker. The tangy, spiced mixture enhances the flavor, and keeps your meat from drying out.
No one really loves to mop their kitchen floor, but this homemade BBQ mop sauce recipe is so tasty it will have you thinking of mopping in a whole new light. And since it's used in barbecuing you should have zero mess in the kitchen which means, no actual mopping!
So what is mop sauce?
While you use it for barbecue, it is not your traditional BBQ sauce. Mop sauce is very thin and has an almost water-like consistency. You use it to cook meat on low, for longer periods of time, or for smoking meats.
Mop sauce is most commonly vinegar based because it helps to increase the tenderness of the meat. Other liquids used are beer, Worcestershire sauce, or fruit juice help to enhance the flavor.
This easy, homemade BBQ mop sauce recipe lets you cook like a true pitmaster.
Mop sauce is used to continually baste barbecued meats to infuse your meat with flavor while it cooks. It's used while smoking or grilling over wood chips.
Make sure you are mopping about every 20 minutes. The layers of mop sauce work with a BBQ rub to create a tasty crust on the meat. Mop lightly so you don't rub all the RUB off!
Remember to get the mop sauce on the meat, it doesn't do anything if mopped right on the fat!
Ingredients in BBQ Mop Sauce
The best news is that this bbq mopping sauce is so simple and easy to make. The sauce is made with a base of apple cider vinegar and water for a nice briny flavor.
Simmer the liquid with a pinch of brown sugar, cayenne, and red pepper flakes for a hint of sweetness and touch of heat.
Sugar in mop sauce
Sugar burns at 265°F, so it is a great ingredient for mop sauce, because you are cooking at low temperatures. Regular BBQ sauce has a higher sugar content so you want to save it to apply just towards the end of high-heat grilling, or after, for added flavor.
Mop sauce will keep for up to 3 months, but since it uses such simple ingredients it's often recommended to make new sauce fresh for every time you use it!
Learn how to make a homemade BBQ mop sauce recipe that will take your grilling to the next level!
Not only will this simple mop sauce bring your summer barbecue game to the next level, but you can use it for multiple dishes! It's easy to make my BBQ mop sauce, and you can use it as a quick marinade, put a few tablespoons in your burger meat mixture, or add a few tablespoons to my homemade BBQ sauce.
I love to use my bbq mop sauce on all different cuts of meat on the grill, like ribs, brisket, pork shoulder, and even chicken. Both this pulled pork recipe and Kansas City Ribs recipe are even more flavorful when using my vinegar mop sauce. Whatever you use it for, the flavor will be incredible.
• How to make a homemade BBQ sauce •
What is a BBQ mop?
I know what you might be thinking right about now. Mop sauce? Like, with a real mop? Well kind of. That's where the idea came from, but now we just use tiny mops, that are super adorable, and are made just for cooking and grilling. They are perfect to use with your homemade BBQ mop sauce recipe.
These little mops can be used a few times. After use, just soak them in soapy water for a bit, then wash with your hands. Let air dry. It may get a little stained from the caramelized meat, but it should last through 2 to 3 washings.
You can also get the silicone mops, but I find they don't work as well with this thin mop sauce.
Mop sauce is thinner in consistency than bbq sauce, often with a vinegar base. The mop sauce is used to baste meat every 20 minutes or so over a long cooking time on the grill, or smoker, at a low temperature.
BBQ sauce should be applied at the end of cooking meat since it's thicker and has a higher sugar content. If the BBQ sauce is applied too early, the sugar in the sauce will burn.
Let me know how it went!
Scroll to the bottom of the page to rate ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and comment on this recipe. Leaving comments helps other too!
Try more BBQ and Grilling recipes:
10 Ingredient BBQ Rub from your Pantry
Memphis Smoked Bologna Sandwich
Sweet Chili Pistachio Grilled Chicken
Texas Beef Brisket with Spicy Sauce
BBQ Mop Sauce
- 4½ cups cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan with ¾ cup water. Stir over medium heat until salt and sugar have dissolved and sauce is hot. Cool, and set aside 2 cups for serving or making BBQ sauce; use the rest for mopping meat as it cooks.
- Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Stir before using.
Newest recipes from Tara Teaspoon!
About Tara Teaspoon
I’ve been in the food publishing business for over 20 years, creating recipes & food-styling for magazines, books, television & advertising. Order my new cookbook & stick around for amazing things to eat.
Photos & Recipe by Tara. Photo editing Max Atwood. Updated May 2023.
Pam Greer says
I prefer mop sauces to regular barbecue sauces! I think they add flavor and don't compete as much! Definitely will be trying this!
Good call. They are fun to experiment with
Claudia Lamascolo says
I love this kind of sauce. The sweetness enhances so many meats but especially pork! Looks perfect!
Thanks! it's a good one!
Janette | Culinary Ginger says
I love when I see the BBQ masters mopping the meat and have always wanted to try mop sauce as I love adding flavor as the meat cooks. I've got to buy the mop now 🙂
Agreed! It's fun to do yourself. What a difference it makes!
Homemade BBQ sauce is the best! This looks and sounds amazing!
Oh good, thanks!
I'm planning to get a grill soon so I'll have to add this to the list of recipes I'm going to use when that happens! It sounds delicious!
Oh you'll have the best summer grilling!
Brittany Smart says
This looks so tasty! But I still can't get over how stinking adorable that little mop is... like how many can I have in my house without it being excessive? hahaha
Mary Bench says
I'm anxious to try this!
Diane C Letendre says
Trying this recipe for the first time with a 35 pound pig we will be roasting. Hope it comes out great.. I'll let you know what I think after the weekend.
Awesome!! I hope it’s perfection!
I'm going to make this for my son's football team. I have no doubt it will be a huge hit!! What rub do you use on it? is the one on the recipe one you buy?
Julie Fleischhacker says
Hey Melissa! I'm sure you will be the fave football mom after this meal! Are you making pulled pork? I use my “10 ingredient bbq rub from your pantry” recipe from my website but you can use any store bought bbq rub and it will still be great. Thanks, Tara
With the small amounts of spices, it seems like the huge amounts of Vinegar, will only make it taste of Vinegar... If you cut the Vinegar into 1/4 of the amount, it would seem like the other spices would have a chance to do their thing, but else i can't really see it's gonna be much more than a taste of Vinegar? :S
Don't worry about expiration date though, with that amount of Vinegar, it'll most likely last indefinitely