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Calling all the pork guru's on cookshack. As I am still learning about the wonderful world of pulled pork, I am curious about mopping a pork butt. I have done 3 butts since I got my smokette and have yet to mop them at any point. They have gotten better each time, so I guess my questions are:
1) Why mop?
2) When to mop?
3) Why do I see a lot about vineger based mops?
4) What is a great mop recipe?

I eagerly await a reason to buy more butts and experiment and learn more about good Q!
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I think the mop adds a new flavor dimension to the pulled pork. And also adds some moisture which can be helpful when holding or reheating the pork. There are also some good vinegar sauces out there which go well on a pulled pork sammy. Smokin has one in PP 101 I think.

Which brings up another thing I thought of the other day. Since we like smoke here, what would be the effect of cooking a butt to finish, pulling it, mop it, and then stick the pulled pork back in the smoker for, say, a 1/2 hour or so to put more smoke throughout? Guess I will have to try that.
Your Smokette maintains a moist cooking environment so there's really no need for a mop. Traditional stick burners are designed to create airflow over the meat as it smokes. The effect of 12+ hours of air flow (smoke) tends to dry out big meats so some cooks will either mop or spritz the meat to maintain moisture.

Vinegar mops are common to pork as they balance the "sweetness" and rich flavor of pork fat. These are similar to Eastern Carolina finishing sauces which are prepared with cider vinegar, crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper and sometimes a bit of ketchup and brown sugar.

One alternative to mopping is foiling during the plateau (165-170). In this case the meat is mopped with a combination of Vinegar sauce combined with apple juice. The meat is wrapped tightly with foil and finished to a fianl cooking temp. The downside of mopping or foiling is losing the crunchy outer bark.

It sounds like you're on the right road as you say your PB's get better and better. Mop or foil a future butt and see how you like it.

Finally, you can stick with your current method and add a finishing sauce to the pulled pork to re-moisten it. SmokinOkie has a tried and true recipe found HERE
Hope that helps.
I try not to open the door once the smoke has started and my PBs turn out very moist. Once they come to temp, 195 – 200 I double wrap in foil with a little AJ or Smokin’s finishing sauce, wrap with a towel and put in a cooler at least 1 hour. I have held them up to 6 hours with good results.

As Maxque says the addition of vinegar really balances the flavor and Smokin’s finishing sauce is hard to beat.

I do like Qnorth’s idea and may just have to give it a try
My theory of mops....

Historically, many people mopped because they thought it would keep the food more moist. I'm not sure that scientifically I've ever seen that to be true.

Some do it out of habit. "because I've always done it that way"

Some do it (as stated above) because their smoker is a drier environment and the want to keep the outside moist (it's a visual thing)

Or, what I do, they mop for flavor. But I don't necessarily mop in my Smokers, but I do mop when I'm grillin' sometimes.

At most, what I tell my classes is that it will add a layer of flavor, but it won't make the meat more moist. I prove that by cooking a brisket, never put it in foil and never mop it and it comes out plenty juicy.

Use it for flavor, but don't use a mop thinking it's going to make it more moist

oh, last one, if you're using foil and adding a liquid, you kinda doing a mop because you've added liquid, so don't mop if you also foil, it's overkill.
These fine cooks above have taught me that in most instances KISS is the best approach to making a fine meal. It has worked well with PBs, along with some East Carolina finishing/dipping sauce.

I'm all for a guy trying different ways, that's the fun part of learning. In the end, good food doesn't take a lot of effort in a CS.

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