Barbecue Beef Ribs Basting Sauce

Barbecue beef ribs basting sauce

The Spruce Eats / Abby Mercer

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Yield: 2 1/2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
477 Calories
10g Fat
91g Carbs
20g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 477
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 9456mg 411%
Total Carbohydrate 91g 33%
Dietary Fiber 21g 75%
Total Sugars 46g
Protein 20g
Vitamin C 11mg 55%
Calcium 473mg 36%
Iron 25mg 138%
Potassium 2534mg 54%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This beef rib basting sauce has the right amount of vinegar to keep the ribs tender and moist. It also has a slightly sweet but mildly spicy flavor that will produce a tasty rack of beef ribs.

While pork ribs don't need much in the way of a mop sauce, beef ribs benefit from the additional flavor. This type of basting sauce is also called mop sauce. It is applied with a barbecue mop tool rather than a basting brush. You don't want to disturb the tasty rib rub that you coated the ribs with before you began smoking or slow-grilling them. A mop tool looks like a miniature kitchen mop. The cotton strands help deposit the liquid mop sauce onto the meat without brushing away the rib rub.

Alternatively, you can use a spray bottle to apply the mop sauce. Just make sure that the spices are finely ground so they don't clog it up and that the sugar is well dissolved. You can warm up the sauce a bit to help them dissolve.


  • 1/4 cup paprika

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons cumin

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon oregano

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for barbecue beef ribs basting sauce recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Abby Mercer

  2. Mix paprika, chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, black pepper, oregano, white sugar, salt, and cayenne in a nonreactive bowl.

    Spices in a nonreactive bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Abby Mercer

  3. Add cider vinegar, soy sauce, water, and Worcestershire sauce and mix well. You may heat it briefly on the stove or in a microwave, if needed, to dissolve sugar.

    Cider vinegar, soy sauce, water, and Worcestershire sauce added to the spices in the bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Abby Mercer

  4. If you are not using the sauce immediately, you can store it in the refrigerator or in an airtight container for up to one week. Allow it to come to room temperature or warm it a bit before using it on ribs.

    Barbecue beef ribs basting sauce in a jar

    The Spruce Eats / Abby Mercer

How to Use

Use as a mop sauce when slow-grilling or smoking beef ribs. Once the ribs have reached 165 F, begin basting. Turn and baste the ribs with the basting sauce every 10 minutes, until they are finished cooking, about 1 1/2 hours.


  • As this mop sauce has sugar, it's best to use only when smoking or grilling below 265 F. Sugar burns when it is above that temperature for too long. If you are using it when grilling at a higher temperature, only use it at the end when it won't be on the heat too long.
  • For food safety, it's best to pour out the amount of mop sauce you will use for each application into a small dish. That way, you won't be transferring bacteria from the cooking meat to your larger container of sauce. Using a spray bottle prevents this contamination.

How to Store

This sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.