Q: Dear Dr. BBQ,
This may sound like I’m splitting hairs, but it’s kind of important to me. In most BBQ and grilling recipes, they call for a liquid concoction that’s applied to the meat while cooking. This liquid concoction has been designated as “baste,” “mop,” or “slather.” When I was first learning to cook outdoors, “baste” was the common word. Then along came “mop.” Now “slather” is coming into popularity. Do all those words mean the same thing, or are there differences?
A: Hi Chuck,
Baste is the correct word, and the actual technique used for applying a “baste” or “mop.” Mop is usually a barbecue-only term, because we often use those little cotton mops to apply it heavily. To me, slather is something different. It’s commonly used by BBQers on the Internet as a term for the liquid, usually mustard, that is smeared on the meat before the rub is applied. This isn’t something I ever do.