Mop Sauce for Ribs

BBQ mop sauce is the key to outstanding barbecue smoking. A good sauce will keep your pork ribs moist and flavorful, even after hours on your charcoal smoker. Find out how to make the best mop sauce for ribs with our easy BBQ recipe.

mop sauce for ribs recipe
Photo: Better Grillin

Mop sauces, like a Texas or Carolina mopping sauce, are great because they are thick and heavy enough to adhere to the rib surface. This helps to generate more flavor than a beer or apple juice spray, as well as give your BBQ baby back ribs a beautiful finish.

Texas Mop Sauce

Texas barbecue is well known for beef, and for taking a more stripped-back approach to seasoning. This same minimalist approach has traditionally extended to BBQ sauce. Many Texan pitmasters have used sauces that are more gravy-like in appearance, and lacking in thickness and sweetness. On the plus side, their mop sauces contain a healthy amount of hot peppers, spices, and even recycled beef drippings.

Carolina Mop Sauce

As we’ve seen with so many of our barbecue rib recipes, pork goes best with something sweet and with a touch of acidity. This is where Carolina mopping sauce comes in.

Unlike Texas barbecue, North and South Carolina sauce recipes contain a solid base of vinegar, as well as a touch of sugar. This goes perfectly with pork ribs, as well as pulled pork and Boston Butt. Add a touch of heat and we’re good to go.

BBQ Mop or brush over top a rustic wood table / background with barbecue sauce on end

Quick Tips

For the best results, use this sauce on bare meat that hasn’t been seasoned with a dry rub. This will allow the sauce to work flavor into the meat more effectively, penetrating the meat without the barrier of seasoning.

If you’d like to add more sweetness to proceedings, try adding a quarter cup of apple juice. This should help add a touch more flavor and will go great if you’re also smoking with applewood chips.

Some BBQ pros suggest swapping in distilled white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar. Either ingredient works well, so this will simply come down to personal preference.

mop sauce for ribs recipe
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4.67 from 3 votes

Carolina Mop Sauce

This BBQ mop sauce will keep your pork ribs tender and flavorful, even after hours on your charcoal smoker. Made with apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, and red pepper flakes, this sauce is the key to locking in sweet and spicy flavors.
Course Sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine American, BBQ
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup apple juice (optional)

Instructions

  • Pour all the ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake well
  • Refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld.


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