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Vinegar-apple juice spritzing?

EgginTigerEgginTiger Posts: 101
edited 12:13AM in EggHead Forum
Was checking out some of the methods to cook ribs and I kept coming across rib cooks that have the ribs being spritzed with some sort of vinegar/apple juice combo. I’m curious what the vinegar and apple juice do for the ribs. Is it a moisture thingy? A tenderness thing? Why Vinegar? If it is a tenderness thing, doesn’t slo-cooking the ribs take care of the tenderness? Do you spritz your butts and briskets with the same concoction? Just curious and would appreciate some clarification, I’m doing ribs this weekend and thought I would ask about this vinegar/apple juice mixture. Thanks in advance for replies. :)


  • Austin SmokerAustin Smoker Posts: 1,467
    Personally use just apple juice with some rub mixed in.

    For me, who prefers a "glaze" on my ribs as opposed to saucing, I find that the method delivers just that...a very attractive color, and a slightly sweet note over the otherwise savory and spiciness of the ribs/rub.

    Probably adds a little moisture, but with good meat that's normally not a real issue.
  • EgginTigerEgginTiger Posts: 101
    any thoughts on what the vinegar does for the ribs
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,383
    I had a neighbor who made quite good ribs on a homemade drum smoker, and those ribs got about a quart of mop on them. It took me awhile to realize that with the Egg, unlike metal cookers, ribs did not often dry out if not mopped/spritzed. I usually only spritz once in the last hour.

    As to the flavor, lots of people find the taste of apple and pig go together. So sweet apple juice and tangy apple vinegar are just the thing to use. Repeated applications will form a tasty coating. Its worth doing, but slows the cooking down because of the repeated additions of cold outside air.
  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,512
    I like to spray a 50/50 mix of apple juice & apple cider vinegar on pork butts every hour or so. The aroma is great, and while it never penetrates the meat, I believe it keeps the bark from getting too crispy. Some might disagree, butt each to their own.. 8 - )
  • Spring ChickenSpring Chicken Posts: 10,117
    I used to use a 50/50 mix but decided to go a bit lighter on the vinegar to see what happened. I mixed it 90/10 and I like the results much better.

    I also spritz a lot in the last hour or so, maybe every 15 minutes, right up until I mop it with some sauce and take it off.

    Best ribs I ever made, or even eaten, doing it that way.

    As for what the vinegar does, I think it may impart a small amount of flavor but not much. Probably just kicks the apple juice up a notch.

    Spring "In A Bunch All By Myself" Chicken
    Spring Texas USA
  • EgginTigerEgginTiger Posts: 101
    so it's not a tenderness thing, it's more of a flavor that what you are saying?
  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,512
    Thanks, I'll have to give that s try...
  • LFGEnergyLFGEnergy Posts: 618
    I use Shiner beer and apple cider vinegar....I dont let the mixture sit out in the sun and get hot. Used to try to put rub in it, but just beer and vinegar it!!! the Shiner makes it!
  • Capt FrankCapt Frank Posts: 2,578
    I use straight apple juice, tried it with vinegar a few times and like just the juice better. I don't sauce either, just rub and juice spritz after the first two hours and every hour thereafter. I agree that it imparts a nice glaze and adds a little flavor.
    I like to serve a variety of sauces on the side.
    One note of caution, be sure you get pure apple juice. Many of the cheaper brands [I'm not gonna drink it, so why buy the good stuff] is not real apple juice. Other juices or just sugar water with apple flavoring, so read the label :)
  • Spring ChickenSpring Chicken Posts: 10,117
    I'm really not sure. It just seems to work better than no spritzing.

    Capt. Frank pointed out something above: just because it says "Apple Juice" on the label, it's not necessarily REAL apple juice. There is a difference. I would think that the real stuff adds flavor while the artificial stuff just keeps it wet and maybe adds sugar.

    Spring "Almost The Real Thing" Chicken
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    nuthin physically.
    flavor, sourness to go with the sweet, sure. but claims of tenderness and all that are bunk
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Richard FlRichard Fl Posts: 8,118
    I was given this years ago by a friend who has been in the business for 40+ years. I also like to take 1/3 each apple cider vinegar, apple juice and --your choice-- water, soy sauce, orange juice, pineapple juice, flavored soda or dark beer. I usually spritz the ribs after 3 hours and normally do not foil. Baste with sauce of choice the last hour. I have been told that the vinegar acts like a meat tenderizer, don't know for sure.

    Spritzer, Pork, Poultry, Jimmy Joe's BBQ

    This recipe was provided to me by my friend of 20+ years Jimmy Joe. He has been involved with "Q" joints and traveling competion teams and this is his "GO TO" spritzer. Richard Fl

    1 16 Ozs. White Vinegar
    1 Cup Water
    1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
    1/2 Tbs Cayenne pepper
    1 Tbs Salt
    1 Tbs Black Pepper,
    1 Onions, Sliced thin
    1 Whole Lemons, Juice of, toss rest of lemons into pot.

    1 Sauté onions and mix everything in pot. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. Strain and refrigerate. If you want spicier add more cayenne.
    2 Place in a spray bottle to use..

    Yield: 1 Quart

    Recipe Type

    Recipe Source
    Source: Jimmy Joe's BBQ, Jimmy Brooks, 2009/01/16
  • tjl5709tjl5709 Posts: 76
    The acid helps breakdown the meat. tenderizer.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    unfortunately. not when sprayed on it in the insignificant amount used, and certainly not beyond some otherwise minor distance past the surface. the meat, the muscle fibers between the bones and beyond the surface of the meat cannot be truly 'tenderized' by anything other than cooking, or a good long soak in a tenderizer that might somehow be made to penetrate (by time, or injection). and ribs tenderized by acids or enzymes that way would be uniformly mushy.

    vinegar tastes good, but any claims to its tenderizing ability coming from a spritz out of a bottle are overly hopeful.

    there are a lot of these myths that have a basis in truth, but aren't really true in practice.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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