Basting: A Wasted Effort?

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Is basting a wasted effort?

  • Basting is worth the effort!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • It depends... (Please post an explanation)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Basting is a waste of time!

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
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Smoke Blower
Original poster
I have never smoked before. I hope to smoke my first this weekend - a brisket me thinks! I have taken the e-course and read many threads on this site and anywhere else on the web that I can find. I just picked up a book I've had for several years called "The Complete Meat Cookbook" by Bruce Aidells & Denis Kelly, and looked to see what they had, if anything, pertaining to smoking meat. I came across this in the section for cooking with dry heat:

Many Recipes call for basting roasts with wine, stock, or other liquids or fat. This is thought to keep them moist and add flavor. We don't think basting does much for roasted meat - it just washes away seasonings from the surface and doesn't contribute to juiciness at all. For perfect results, the trick is not to overcook the roast.

So, what do YOU think? Basting or Wasting?
Basting=mopping or spraying to me. You should coat the meat with something like mustard and then add your rub, or seasoning, if you will. The mustard will help the rub adhere to the meat and when it's all said and done, you won't taste the mustard. Then smoke for a couple hours to set the rub into the meat to form a good bark, then start mopping or spaying every hour or so.
So to answer your question, IMO it's not a waste.
Liquid transfers heat better than air. If you baste/spray/mop during your smoke to keep the outside of your meat moist it will help in the heat transfer and therfore help the meat to cook more effieciently.

PS - it also gives you and excuse to look in the smoker occasionally:roll:
I'm pretty much on board with Gunslinger. The only thing I take exception with is the binder. Like was stated you won't taste it, but your rub will "set" after a couple hours without it as well.
I'm up with the rest of the group. GrandMa was basting long before I was born, and I'll be basting when my kids decide to settle down and have kids.. which may be many years in the future.

Keep Smokin
Hmmmm...Jeff (TulsaJeff) uses mops/glazes quite often; all I can judge by are the results--tender, juicy, perfect meat every time.

I would say that using some method to retain moisture is probably just as important as adding moisture, as well as not overcooking the meat. That's just a guess; I'm not the smoker-bbqer in our household.

Also, mopping with sauces/glazes often turns out a nice "crust" on the outside of the meat....

Coming from the Wife Of A Top-Notch Smoker: I'd say "No." (It's not a waste.)

I know on the (rare) occasions I cook a turkey in the oven, basting it is quite important. Covering it with cheesecloth and cooking it just until its done are pretty important, too--but I'm off-topic--Oven Cooking a Turkey For Thanksgiving is Close to Blasphemy in the Phillips' household.

Whatever way you choose to add moisture to your smoked foods is a good idea. I prefer to spray just because it's easier and not as messy. I like to use those pump bottles you get in most cooking sections in stores. I have one for Olive oil (for baked foods with a fried flavor), one for apple juice (for the smoker) and one for water (for spraying bread) depending on what I'm doing.

Hint: For those of us that are trying to keep greese/fats to a minimum but love fried foods ... bakes foods like french fries, chicken, fish, pork chops (you know the fatty ones) in the oven but spray them with a bit of olive oil before or during cooking. Not only do you get that oil your crave but it browns nicely with almost no oil!
WELL POO!!! I would have to be the odd ball. I used to baste, now I never do. I know that brisket & tri-tip does not need it, it's good w/out baste. I just hate loosing heat, but if I need to let some heat out I'll pour some beer on the meat(just cause that is usually what is in my hand).

If you foil I don't think you need to baste(and give the dog something else to drag off in the bushes). Ribs may need it, I don't know. I've made good ribs once(my opinion, never tossed any in the trash), so I can't really say.

Anyway, I voted "waste of time(& beer)". Needed to make that fancy graph show some color anyway. :)
I'm with the majority of folks on this one, especially for brisket. I think the mop sauce/basting helps to create a really nice bark and add another dimension of flavor. With ribs and butts I usually just spray them when I need to add more wood. Here's the mop sauce I use for brisket:


Mop Sauce:
1 cup beer
1 cup apple cider
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 cup coffee( strong)
1 cup beef or chicken stock
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons hot sauce, (recommended: Tabasco sauce)
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and whisk to mix. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt, if necessary.
Thanks Tonto, I'm printing it as I type. I'm gonna give it a try. Been doing brisket the same for over 6 months now, ready for a change.

I guess I'll make a deal with you. I'll do the mop if you get some tri-tip and try it with au jus mixed with juice from the tri-tip.

Hoping you haven't had tri-tip yet. I have 2 briskets in the fridge, will be the last ones for a while as tri-tip has made me friends again w/wife & kids. :)

Brisket is really good, but tri-tip will make your mouth water every time you think of it after you have tried it.

Thanks again.
You got yourself a deal Big Al, although you don't have to twist my arm about the tri-tip, the one you did last week looked real good!!

The thing is I'm having a hard time finding them in my neck of the woods, I called a butcher that I deal with somtimes and he said he carries them but there trimmed up, is that what I'm looking for? He said they average about 2lbs,at $7.59 a lb, does that sound right to you?

The next brisket you do if you use the mop sauce let me know what you think.
The ones I bought were untrimmed and weighted 2.6-3.2# each. They cost $3.??, I can't remember. $7.59 sounds high to me, but I'm also in beef country and generally can get cheaper prices, but not everywhere that is for sure.

I was thinking about shipping you some, but by the time freight is paid it will be up in that $7 range and untrimmed. BTW trimming them is very easy, I wait till after the smoke to do it.

Really trimmed or untrimmed probably won't matter.(answering question)

I'll let you know on the mop, I also assume that I don't foil? Or do the brisket the same just mop until foil?
in my experience---
[giving that i tin foil every thing after 4 hrs]
i do not think it helps---
i think it might hurt time wise...
i m o -you lose heat every time ...
Thought that was a bit on the pricey side myself. Pretty sure Cheech said he found them at Costco, so Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]ll try there next. Thanks for the thought .

Foiling really is a personal preference, some do, some donâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]t. I do it both ways depending on what else Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m smoking and if I want the juice for a finishing sauce.Plus Iâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]m not sure I wanna open up that hornetâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s nest.

Sent you a PM
SoFlaQuer (Fla Jeff) says don't use any kind of vinegar on beef. i use apple juice, bourbon, or beer; or a combo of two of them on my beef. i only use vinegar on pork.
Vinegar will dry out beef. If you want something to "spritz" on top of a brisket, I mix up beer and worcestshire sauce with a splash of soy.

As for the "mop" thing, I use spray bottles so I do not worry about wiping away the rub I am using.
Ray Lampe, in his book Dr. BBQ's Big-Time Barbecue Cookbook, says of his Big-Time Barbecue Mop:

"Use a metal bowl and keep it warm in the cooker while the meat cooks."

I'm guessing that if you are using a spray bottle, there is no way to keep it warm in the cooker. Does anyone that doesn't spray do this? Good or bad idea?
I was trying to remember were I got the mop recipe from so I went through my cookbooks to see if I could find it.
Found it in a book someone gave me for Christmas 05 from Steven Raichlen entitled Bbq USA, the recipe was called Millionare Brisket with Coffee and Beer Mop Sauce, so we. decided to try it.We liked the flavor it gave the brisket and have used it many times since, never seemed to dry out any of the brisketâ€[emoji]8482[/emoji]s. sooo…who new??
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