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Smoked Vinegar Mop and Sauce with Onion and Garlic – Great with Grilled Chicken

Baste this vinegar-based Mop on chicken as you grill… adds flavor and moisture. A wonderful layer of lingering smoky pungency.

Basting Mop Sauces are not sweet. They are slathered over meat, usually a slow-cooking process where a sweet, thick barbecue sauce would burn. You might have read in many BBQ recipes “baste with sauce only at the end of cooking.” Not with a Mop – baste often – this adds flavor and moisture.

Baste this Mop on chicken as you grill... adds flavor and moisture
Baste this Mop on chicken as you grill… adds flavor and moisture
The finished North Carolina Style Barbecue Mop and Sauce
The finished North Carolina Style Barbecue Mop and Sauce

Baste this Mop on chicken as you grill... adds flavor and moisture


½ large onion, ½” slices, skin on

4 very large fresh garlic cloves, cut almost in half, skin on

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

¼ teaspoon marash pepper, or your favorite ground chili peppers

¾ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ketchup, organic (no high fructose corn syrup!)

¼ teaspoon chipolte in adobo, or more for spicier

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar, organic



Place 1  1/2 T. of your desired smoking chips on the bottom of a Camerons Stove Top Smoker*. In ten minutes, it will be smoking and ready.
Smoke the onion and garlic on the rack for 10 – 15 minutes until softened and a nice golden color. Cool. Remove peels, coarsely chop.


In a 2 quart non-reactive pan, add the oil, the chopped onion and garlic. Sauté over low heat for a minute then add the seasonings:
Pepper, marash pepper, salt, ketchup, chipotle and maple syrup. Cook for 1 minute to blend the flavors.


Add the vinegar, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered to reduce slightly by a fourth, about 10 minutes.
Cool slightly and puree in a blender – leave a little chunky with some texture – just 10 seconds.
Place in a clean glass container and refrigerate. Will last a few weeks.


How to use the Mop:
Baste a spatchcocked (flattened) chicken with the mop as it cooks. Use as a side sauce as well.
I cook skin side down until lightly charred, over high heat, then turn grill down to low and cook slowly until done – basting with the Mop.


Marinate chicken breasts in the Mop for up to 6 hours. Oil your grill, and cook until strong grill marks appear on the first side, turn over with tongs – turn heat down to low. Cook on the second side about 10 minutes, depending on the size, until just cooked inside – basting with the mop! Slice the chicken and top with some fresh chopped thyme, and sliced garlic chives, if available.


Serve some Smoked Vinegar Mop on the side for dipping.


* I highly recommend this smoker and use it often. Alternatively, sauté onion and garlic in the first step until slightly caramelized, add a pinch of smoked paprika.

This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer.

The stovetop Smoker I use: 


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