Holy Smoke Basting Sauce

Roasted Pork
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Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 250 servings
Yield: 1 gallon
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
7 Calories
0g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 250
Amount per serving
Calories 7
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 42mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 6mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 47mg 1%
*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 is an old-fashioned, true Southern-style basting sauce or mop sauce. It is excellent on chicken and large cuts of pork (Boston butt, shoulders, hams, whole hog, and pork roasts).

A basting sauce is thin and watery. Vinegar is used to help tenderize the meat. Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice enhance the flavor of the meat while black pepper adds seasoning. The basting sauce you use should not clash with the seasonings in your rub, marinade, or barbecue sauce. This recipe keeps it simple since black pepper is a common ingredient of all of these.

You apply a basting sauce with a mop. If you're using an open pit with several large cuts, you might use a clean kitchen mop. But for most people, a barbecue basting mop tool that looks like a miniature mop will do. The cotton mop strands will retain enough of the basting sauce to brush gently on the meat, not disturbing your rub. It's preferable to a tool that looks more like a paintbrush, which won't easily carry the thin mop sauce. Another option is to use a spritz bottle. This is even less likely to disturb the rub.


  • 1 gallon (3 3/4 liters) apple cider vinegar

  • 1 quart (900 mililiters) Worcestershire sauce

  • 10 ounces (300 milliliters) lemon juice

  • 3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large pot.

  2. Bring to a hard boil for 10 minutes.

  3. Use for basting meat while smoking or grilling.

If you don't need this much basting sauce, you can cut the recipe down by half or even to one quarter.

Basting Frequency

How often you use this sauce will depend on your method of cooking. Aim to apply it three to four times during cooking, at regular intervals. If you are grilling a chicken for an hour, baste it every 15 to 20 minutes. If you are smoking pork low and slow for 20 hours, you would only baste it every four to five hours. This will help keep the meat moist while building layers of flavor.

Food Safety

For the best food safety, separate the amount of sauce you'll be using for each round of basting. Only dip your mop into that container, not the larger container. Discard any sauce that is not used in that basting round. Clean the mop between each use with soap and water if you will be cooking for more than an hour. The safest method is to use a spritz bottle to apply the basting sauce as it will prevent contact with the meat and the unused sauce. You won't need to discard any unused sauce between sessions. Once you are finished cooking, discard any sauce that has come into contact with a mop used on the meat.