posted January 26, 2022
BBQ Mop Sauce
Anytime you have a big cut of meat that needs some added moisture while it cooks in the smoker, reach for this BBQ mop sauce. It’s a sweet and savory bourbon and brown sugar sauce that is perfect for pork of all kinds.
What is Mop Sauce?
Mop sauce is a very thin flavorful liquid used to mop all over meat while it is cooking on the BBQ. It is commonly used on larger cuts of meat that require a longer cook time (and therefore, may dry out sitting in the smoke for a long time).
Mop sauce is applied with a BBQ mop (or a literal kitchen mop for cuts like Whole Hog) and the sauce is liberally slathered all over meat while it cooks. The sauce helps to keep the meat moist to help it develop a gorgeous bark without drying out.
Do I Need to Use a Mop Sauce?
Mop sauce is not a requirement for all BBQ, though some big meats benefit from regularly mopping with sauce.
There are many reasons why you would use a mop sauce when cooking BBQ. It adds some good flavor to the meat, helps create a nice crunchy bark on the exterior of the meat, and keeps the meat from drying out. It’s practically a must-have for Smoking a Whole Pig Roast. If you’re looking for a mop sauce with a classic apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and red pepper flavor profile, check out the sauce in the pig roast recipe card.
Bourbon and Brown Sugar Mop Sauce
Most mop sauces are variations on the same theme, though the ratios of ingredients tend to vary by protein and application.
In Texas, you’ll usually see savory mop sauces out of beef stock and beer (best used on brisket), and in the Carolina’s, whole hog mop sauces tend to lean HEAVY on the vinegar, salt, and spice.
I prefer my mop sauces a little bit sweeter, for applications from pork shoulder to ribs. This bourbon and brown sugar mop sauce brings the rich bite of bourbon, countered by the acidity in the vinegar, balanced out with some brown sugar, and spiced up with red pepper flakes. It works beautifully across multiple proteins and helps add moisture while contributing to the development of a nice, dark bark on smoked meats.
Ingredients for Mop Sauce
Here’s what you’ll need for this mop sauce. Feel free to play around with these ingredients as you see fit. After all, making good BBQ is all about making it work for you!
- Bourbon. Any bourbon will do, so go ahead and grab whatever you have on hand.
- Apple cider vinegar.
- Brown sugar. Go with dark brown sugar for a little extra oomph of flavor.
- Crushed red pepper flakes. Adjust as needed to give more or less heat to your sauce.
- Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub. This rub can be made using the recipe on this site for Best Sweet Rub, or you can purchase it already made and ready to go from the Hey Grill Hey Store.
Oh, and don’t forget the BBQ mop! The right mop will hold the sauce well and help you coat that meat in sweet, sweet sauce.
How to Make Mop Sauce
This mop sauce is ridiculously easy to make. All you need is a pot, a stove, and a few minutes of your time. The time-consuming part will come later while you’re mopping this awesome sauce all over your smoking meat.
- Boil. Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil while whisking well to allow all the sugars to dissolve.
- Use. Dunk a BBQ mop in the sauce and baste your meat liberally as needed.
- Store. Here’s a quick tip for all you seasoned BBQers out there. You can make this in advance to save yourself some time the day you plan to smoke your meat. The sauce will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Make sure to check out the next section about how often to apply the sauce. You can make this in advance to save yourself some time. It will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
How Often to Apply Mop Sauce
More BBQ Sauce Recipes
Looking for a way to finish up your meat with lots of flavor that doesn’t require mopping every 30 minutes? Top your BBQ with these amazing BBQ sauce recipes from Hey Grill Hey. You can’t go wrong with any of them!
Mop Sauce Recipe
Here’s hoping you have something amazing planned for this mop sauce. I love to use it on my Pork Shoulders, but it truly will impart some great flavor to anything you have on the grill.
How did you use this sauce? Make sure and leave me a comment below!
Bourbon and Brown Sugar Mop Sauce
- 1 ½ cups bourbon
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 Tablespoon Hey Grill Hey Sweet Rub
- Make the mop sauce. Pour all of the ingredients for the mop sauce in a medium saucepan. Bring the mop sauce to a boil while whisking and remove from the heat.
- Enjoy. Allow to cool slightly before using immediately to mop on pork shoulders, ribs, brisket, whole hog, and more.
- Store. Place any leftover mop sauce in a lidded jar and store it in the refrigerator for up to one month.
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