Brenda Gantt


This works wonderfully on pheasant, quail, or game hens. If you have a choice, opt for a tangier rather than a sweeter cider, which adds more dimensions in flavor. Brush or drizzle this on food cooking on the grill or smoker. Because of the shorter cooking time needed for grilled poultry, you can likely get by with just half a batch of the splash.

The Cider Splash is a flavorful and versatile concoction that adds a burst of taste and moisture to grilled or smoked poultry. With its base of apple cider or juice, it infuses the meat with a delightful hint of sweetness while balancing it with the tang of Dijon mustard and the richness of sunflower or vegetable oil. The addition of a dry rub or kosher salt, while optional, provides an extra layer of seasoning that can elevate the overall flavor profile.

What sets the Cider Splash apart is its ability to be both a basting liquid and a marinade, allowing you to impart those delectable flavors directly into the meat during cooking. This can be especially beneficial when slow-cooking on a smoker, as the mop helps maintain moisture, preventing the poultry from becoming dry.

The Cider Splash opens the door to creative variations, such as substituting some of the apple cider with white grape juice for a sweeter undertone. It’s worth noting that while mops are traditionally associated with smoke cooking, applying the Cider Splash to grilled poultry can build layers of flavor as the meat cooks. However, for optimal crispiness, it’s advisable to stop basting a few minutes before the poultry is done grilling.

Overall, the Cider Splash demonstrates the art of enhancing the culinary experience by using a simple yet impactful mixture. Its combination of ingredients exemplifies how different elements, when carefully blended, can bring depth and dimension to poultry dishes, making them stand out on your table.





  • 2 cups apple cider or juice
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dry rub used to flavor the food (optional), or 1 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt



  1. Combine Ingredients: In a saucepan, combine the apple cider or juice, water, sunflower or vegetable oil, Dijon mustard, and dry rub (if using). The dry rub can add an extra layer of flavor, but if you prefer, you can use kosher salt or coarse sea salt for seasoning.
  2. Heat and Keep Warm: Heat the mixture in the saucepan over low heat before you plan to use it. This will help the flavors meld and make it easier to apply. Keep the mop warm over low heat between bastes so it stays at a suitable temperature for application.
  3. Apply to Poultry: When you’re grilling or smoking poultry, use the mop to baste it for added flavor and moisture. Depending on your cooking method, apply the mop one or two times when grilling or about once an hour when smoking. Basting with the mop helps infuse the meat with the flavors of the cider and other ingredients.



  • If you prefer a sweeter taste, you can substitute half of the apple cider or juice with white grape juice. This will give the mop a slightly different flavor profile.



  • While mops are more traditional for smoke cooking, using a mop on grilled poultry can add layers of flavor as the meat cooks. However, it’s recommended to avoid mopping the poultry in the last few minutes of grilling. This allows the surface of the poultry to crisp up before being taken off the fire.

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