What to spray on the ribs while smoking

Last Updated on: 1st October 2023, 09:24 pm

Spritzing is one of the most controversial topics in the BBQ space.

But you can’t deny the fact that it can help you make the ribs more tender and delicious.

There are endless choices for spritzing ribs, but beginners can get overwhelmed.

So it’s a common question about what to spray on ribs while smoking.

Smoking is a prolonged process which can take several hours to complete especially if we include the resting time.

So it really is a good idea to spritz your ribs to avoid them drying out.

But while doing this, you need to keep in mind to not spray too much, which can put your ribs into stasis.

Best liquid to use when smoking ribs

As a general rule, you can spritz ribs with any liquid of your choice, as long as it can pass through the nozzle of the spray bottle. Usually, pitmasters love to use butter, apple juice, water broth, and apple cider vinegar as a common choice for spritzing.

you can also check our guide on What to spray on meat when smoking

There are several options when determining what to spray on ribs while they are grilling.

Any liquid that possesses these three characteristics may be used.

  • It must first and foremost be of food quality.It is the most crucial component of the spritzing liquid because if it is unpalatable, it may degrade the flavor of the ribs that are being smoked.
  • The liquid shouldn’t be combustible either.
    Although there won’t be any direct flame contact when the ribs are being smoked, there might occasionally be temperature overshoots or unexpected flare-ups.
    Therefore, the liquid used for spraying should not ignite.
  • Finally, it must be thin enough to fit through the spray bottle’s nozzle.

Additionally, it is crucial since viscous liquids cannot be spritzed because they cannot travel through spray bottles.

spray bottle

Consider utilizing mopping to apply a thick liquid if you wish to.

In order to prevent ribs from drying out when smoking, a variety of substances can be sprayed over them.

However, you must select one based on how it will impact the flavor and look of the ribs being smoked.

These are the liquids that are most frequently used to spritz ribs.


The most typical liquid used for spraying ribs while smoking is water.

Because it preserves the moisture while preserving the natural flavor of the ribs and rubs, it is typically favored over other liquids.

water drop

Although spritzing water doesn’t influence the flavor of the ribs, you should still be cautious because if it’s too thin, it might wash away the rub that was used to coat the surface of the ribs being smoked.

If you only need to maintain the moisture level and don’t want to get engaged in the details of taste management, water is your best option.

Due to its straightforward composition, it has been utilized for spritzing for ages.

apple cider

Another liquid typically used to spray ribs while smoking is apple cider vinegar.

It is frequently employed when you want to improve the flavor of ribs while also keeping them wet when smoking.

Smoked ribs benefit from the flavor and appearance of apple cider vinegar.

It can interact with the spices in the rub when combined with alcohol and aid in producing a darker and thicker bark.

fruit juice

Apple juice is another common liquid used for spritzing ribs.

When spritzing, apple juice is a wonderful substitute for water since it may both improve the flavor of the ribs and prevent them from drying out.

apple juice on table

The taste of the ribs may become a little sweeter or subtler if you use apple juice as a spritzing liquid, so keep that in mind.

The explanation for this is simple: apple juice may enhance the flavor of the ribs and is comparable to other fruit juices.

Apple juice may have an impact on the ribs’ taste as well as look.

Apple juice’s sugar content can caramelize during smoking and give the ribs a brownish hue, which is the cause.

Due to its taste, it is still one of the most popular spritzing liquids.

Adding apple juice to your spritzing arsenal is a fantastic choice. This versatile liquid works wonders when spritzing your ribs, offering a delightful alternative to plain water.

The natural sweetness of apple juice not only enhances the flavor of your ribs but also plays a key role in maintaining their succulence throughout the smoking process.

Whether you opt for a pure apple juice spray or decide to experiment with apple cider vinegar for a tangy twist, you’re in for a treat.

So, consider adding apple juice to your spritzing routine, and watch your smoked ribs become even more delectable, leaving your taste buds craving for more.


Although butter is seldom used to spray ribs while they are smoking, it is still one of the best ways to prevent the ribs from drying out.

However, butter often comes in a solid shape, so you’ll need to thin it up so that it can fit through the spray bottle’s nozzle.

The butter must first be made less viscous before being used for spritzing.

To do this, you first have to melt the butter so that it becomes liquid.

To ensure that it can readily travel through the spray bottle, add some water to it next.

But adding butter to the ribs is a terrific idea. It is smoked because it may keep the ribs’ moisture while also softering their texture.

It might mess up the look of the ribs if abused, so you need to be careful not to apply it too much.


Last but not least, bone broth is a fantastic addition to your barbecue toolkit since it keeps the ribs juicy without raising their sugar level.

If you are spritzing ribs for the first time, it is a good alternative.

The process of spraying ribs while they are being smoked might initially seem daunting due to the difficulty in selecting the proper liquid.

Because various drinks might affect how the ribs look and apple juice has a greater sugar concentration,

But using broth for spritzing is a safe bet for new pitmasters because it is a neutral-flavored liquid and does not affect the flavor or appearance of ribs.

However, you must first determine its composition before employing it.

It usually contains salt and apple cider, although it might possibly include additional substances.

As you continue to refine your rib-smoking skills, don’t overlook the valuable addition of bone broth to your barbecue toolkit.

This unsung hero plays a pivotal role in maintaining the juiciness of your ribs without introducing any unwanted sugars into the mix. Particularly if you’re just starting out with spritzing ribs, bone broth can be a wise choice.

The process of spritzing ribs while they’re being smoked might initially appear daunting, especially when it comes to selecting the right liquid.

The reality is that different liquids can impact the appearance and flavor of your ribs; for instance, apple juice carries a higher sugar concentration. In contrast, using broth for spritzing is a safe bet for novice pitmasters.

Its neutral flavor profile ensures it won’t interfere with the taste or appearance of your ribs. However, it’s important to inspect the composition of your chosen broth, as it typically contains salt and apple cider, and there could be additional ingredients in the mix.

So, when you’re wondering what to spray on your ribs while smoking, consider the versatility and neutrality of bone broth as a smart choice to keep your ribs succulent and flavorful.

frequently asked questions

we have discussed the best option available for spritzing ribs, now let’s discuss some faqs related to it.

When to spritz the ribs during smoking

Elevating your smoking game involves more than just choosing the right wood or maintaining the perfect temperature—it’s about mastering the art of spritzing.

The best spray for ribs isn’t just a matter of choice; it’s a pivotal decision in your barbecue journey. As the 90-minute mark approaches and the alluring bark forms, introducing your chosen spritzing liquid becomes a culinary ritual.

Picture this: a blend of expertise and flavor infusion, ensuring your ribs stay not only flavorful but incredibly tender throughout the smoking process.

Timing is crucial, and precision is your ally. Wondering what to spray ribs with? The choice is yours, whether it’s a custom blend, apple cider vinegar, or a secret concoction that defines your signature style.

This infusion isn’t just about preventing dryness; it’s a flavor symphony that captivates taste buds. And here’s a pro-tip for the initiated and the seasoned pitmaster alike: observe the bark. When it sets, it’s your cue to start spritzing.

Now, about that 30 to 45-minute interval—consider it your reminder to keep the moisture flowing without turning your ribs into a soggy mess. It’s a delicate dance, and moderation is your guide.

Too much of a good thing, even the best rib spritz, can lead to a messy situation. Also, watch out for those lid openings; they might steal the heat that’s working its magic on your ribs.

Whether you’re opting for a spray for smoked ribs or contemplating the best liquid to spray on ribs, remember that mastery lies in this precise and flavorful act of spritzing.

Novice or seasoned, every pitmaster knows this ritual ensures your ribs emerge as a crowd-pleaser every time. So, as the smoke curls and the aroma intensifies, let your spritzing prowess be the secret ingredient that sets your barbecue apart.

Why do we spritz ribs while they’re smoking?

Spritzing ribs during the smoking process serves multiple crucial purposes.
Firstly, it’s all about keeping those ribs moist on the inside and preventing them from drying out during the lengthy smoking journey.
Smoking ribs can be a time-consuming endeavor, and within the first few hours, the moisture content tends to evaporate, potentially leaving you with stiff and dry ribs.
This is where spritzing comes into play, offering a lifeline to your culinary masterpiece.

Additionally, the act of spritzing ribs also aids in ensuring that smoke adheres to the exterior of the meat. A moist and cool surface on the ribs allows them to absorb more of that smoky goodness, resulting in a delectable, smoky flavor that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Furthermore, spritzing contributes to the formation of that coveted bark on the ribs’ surface. The bark is not just about aesthetics; it plays a vital role in the overall quality of your ribs.
By spritzing, you help the ribs absorb more smoke and facilitate the oxidation of the spices in your rub, further enhancing the bark’s quality.

Last but certainly not least, spritzing is instrumental in creating a mesmerizing smoke ring on the ribs’ surface. Cold ribs are more receptive to smoke-derived gases, allowing them to interact with the myoglobin in the meat.
This interaction gives birth to the captivating smoke ring that not only looks impressive but also adds another layer of flavor to your smoked ribs.

So, whether you’re wondering what to spray on ribs to keep them moist, searching for the perfect rib spray, or simply aiming to elevate your BBQ game, spritzing is the secret weapon that ensures your ribs turn out tender, flavorful, and visually appealing – a true masterpiece of smoked perfection.

Tips for spritzing ribs:

  • First of all, you should keep in mind that, like any other factor, spritzing can also affect the flavor of your ribs if overused.
    You should consider spritzing the ribs every 30 minutes. Even so, you spray in a little amount to avoid washing out the rub.
  • Moreover, you should consider avoiding using too thin a liquid. Using thin liquid can result in the washing out of rub .
    If you want to use thin liquid, then consider mixing it with some additives to help it stick to the ribs .
  • You have to smoke the ribs for 90 minutes to 2 hours without adding spritz. After 2 hours, spritz the ribs with the liquid of your choice.
  • After that, keep spritzing the ribs every 30 minutes to avoid drying out.
  • Lastly, you need to stick with the basics and don’t need to chase perfection. You can use any liquid as long as you are satisfied with its flavor.
    It’s usually best to avoid unusual combinations and stick to simple liquids.


hopefully this guide has solved your misconception about What to spray on the ribs while smoking .

Spritzing ribs is essential for maintaining their tenderness.

You can use several liquids for spraying ribs depending on your personal preference.

Usually, water , apple juice, butter, and apple cider vinegar are the most commonly used products.

Spraying ribs during the smoking process not only adds moisture but also assists in creating that perfect smoky flavor profile. To achieve mouthwatering results, knowing what to spritz ribs with is crucial.

The best spritz for ribs combines a harmonious blend of apple juice and vinegar.

This concoction not only keeps the rib’s surface moist and cool but also imparts a subtly sweet and tangy essence that melds perfectly with the smoky notes.

By regularly applying this spritz for ribs, you ensure that the meat retains its juiciness while forming a delectable crust that encapsulates the essence of your barbecue masterpiece.

So, as you embark on your smoky culinary journey, remember that the right spray for ribs can elevate your grilling game to new heights, tantalizing taste buds and leaving your guests eagerly craving the next bite.

if you want to read more than consider checking our guide on what to spray on chicken while smoking

Jakob miller
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