What to Spritz Chicken With While Smoking (5 Delicious Liquids To Use)

Serving dry, chewy smoked chicken is the last thing that anyone wants to do. Spritzing is an to achieve a tender, juicy smoked chicken when used correctly. 

Keep reading to learn how, and what to spritz your smoked chicken with.

Should You Be Spritzing Chicken When Smoking

Yes, you should spritz chicken when smoking it, although many believe that chicken doesn’t need a spritz as it cooks quickly, adding a little bit of moisture, acid and flavor tends to help

To Spritz or Not to Spritz

There was an experiment where the difference between spritzed and unspritzed meat was measured. They found the unspritzed meat was drier and crispier, had a smoky flavor, and finished cooking an hour compared to its spritzed counterpart. 

However, both cooking methods produced delectable and mouth-watering results, so which method you choose depends on your personal taste. 

What to Spritz Chicken With

Below are 5 of the most people things to use for spritzing chicken.

Apple Juice

Apple juice is great to use for a spritz, it pairs well with smoked meats as it has a sweet-tart flavor and isn’t as acidic as common marinade ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar. 

Citrus Juices, Pineapple Juice, and Vinegar

A good spritz for chicken is citrus, pineapple or white grape juice. However, they may be more acidic in nature and should be used sparingly as they can overpower the flavor of the chicken if you use to much.

White Grape Juice

The mild and sweet flavor of white grape juice makes it an amazing substitute for apple juice which yields similar results when used as a spritz. However, it may not tenderize the meat as much and can be harder to find. 

Water, Stock, and Cooking Liquid 

Water, stock, and cooking liquids are good to use in a spritz as they can add moisture and flavor to the meat. 


Beer works well as a spritz for chicken, it is a slightly different flavor that won’t be as sweet as apple juice. 

Hence, adding a tablespoon or two of brown sugar to the mixture when using beer as a substitute can work wonders for the flavor of the meat

Basic Spritz Recipe

Combine 1/3 parts apple juice, 1/3 parts apple cider vinegar and 1/3 parts water to achieve the perfect spritz. A simple mix works wonders on chicken – one that has an acidic component that helps to tenderize the meat and a sugar element that gives the chicken a lovely colour.

Spritzing may not be the most vital if you are after a crisp, spicy smoked chicken. However, the plethora of flavours and textures to experiment with makes spritzing your smoked chicken a no-brainer. 

Smoked Chicken Recipes

Looking for the perfect chicken recipes?

Smoked Chicken Breast

Smoked Chicken Wings

Smoked Chicken Quarters Pit Boss

Beer Can Chicken

Smoked Chicken Legs

Mopping and Spritzing in BBQ

Mopping and Spritzing apply moisture to the meat during the cooking process. Mopping adds moisture through a brush, while spritzing adds moisture by spraying the surface of the meat with a spray bottle. 

Both these techniques give you a darker, softer crust and a smokier flavor. This is because the crust draws in more smoke. 

Is Mopping and Spritzing Used for Grillers or Smokers? 

Although mopping and spritzing have been techniques used for grilling in historical times, both techniques have recently been correlated with cooking low and slow. 

The Controversy Behind These Methods

Mopping and spritzing have attracted some controversy as their effectiveness has come under scrutiny. This is because some have questioned whether the techniques may be jeopardizing the flavor of the meat instead of enhancing it. 

This controversy came about because a watery mop could arguably wash off any rub or spices that had been added to the meat. Furthermore, regularly opening the smoker’s lid to apply the sauce or spritz will undoubtedly lengthen the cooking time. 

What Are the Effects of Mopping and Spritzing?

Below are the 6 main factors that should be considered while utilizing these techniques. 

Time Taken to Cook

Cooking time may be increased while mopping or spritzing. This is because the added moisture will cool the meat’s surface, preventing the chicken from becoming chewy and drying out. 

Hence, expect a 10-20% increase in cooking time. 

Flavor of the Meat:

Using a thicker, stickier sauce to mop the meat will yield the best results by adding extra flavor to the chicken. Watery mopping sauces may wash off the rub, causing you to lose flavor. 

The Quality of Crust:

It is worth noting that over-spritzing or mopping can result in a less crispy crust as the moisture lost to evaporation is constantly replaced. Some recommend letting the chicken skin work its magic through its natural properties, without too much spritzing. 


Your chicken may look plump and juicy after smoking, as mopping and spritzing will help replace moisture lost during the cooking process. 

Formation of a Smoke Ring:

Mopping and spritzing can help to form the perfect, pink smoke ring near the surface of the meat. This is done as the moisture attracts smoke, which sinks into and reacts with the meat. 

Food Safety:

There is a slight risk of contamination while mopping your chicken, this is because the mop can pick up microbes if the uncooked meat is mopped, which can pose a risk if it is used again. 

Although most bugs are killed off when the meat is cooked above 155°F,  you should keep in mind where the mop has been before.

It is also beneficial to know what temperatures the mopping liquid is being exposed to prevent the formation of bacteria and avoid sickness. 

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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